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USAT/SBN January 2011 MMA Consensus Rankings: Lightweight

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Frankie Edgar 100 UFC 1
2 Gray Maynard 94 UFC 3
3 Gilbert Melendez 91 Strikeforce 2
4 Eddie Alvarez 81 Bellator 5
5 Shinya Aoki 81 K-1 4
6 Kenny Florian 80 UFC 6
7 George Sotiropoulos 65 UFC 9
8 Tatsuya Kawajiri 61 K-1 10
9 Jim Miller 60 UFC 11
10 Sean Sherk 51 UFC 7
11 B.J. Penn 49 UFC 8
12 Melvin Guillard 43 UFC 25
13 Anthony Pettis 42 UFC 13
14 Clay Guida 37 UFC 19
15 Evan Dunham 32 UFC 12
16 Takanori Gomi 30 UFC 14
17 Ben Henderson 24 UFC 17
18 Josh Thomson 22 Strikeforce 16
19 Kurt Pellegrino 20 UFC 18
20 Mizuto Hirota 18 K-1 15
21 Mac Danizg 17 UFC 21
22 Gesias Cavalcante 15 Strikeforce 20
23 Joe Stevenson 13 UFC 22
24 Matt Wiman 13 UFC 30
25 Satoru Kitaoka 12 Pancrase 23

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

#1 Frankie Edgar and #2 Gray Maynard silenced the doubters with their fight for the ages at UFC 125. The rare draw that didn't leave fans dissatisfied, their rematch will occur at UFC 130.

#13 Anthony Pettis had been promised an immediate title shot after winning the WEC title, but elected to go ahead and fight rather than wait. He'll get #14 Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale in June.

No word on what Bellator has planned for #4 Eddie Alvarez. I hope the talented Alvarez isn't stuck in a mid-tier promotion for too much longer.

#5 Shinya Aoki got himself KTFO'd by kickboxer Yuichiro Nagashima in a novelty half kickboxing rules, half mma rules bout at Dream Dynamite!! 2010. Aoki has talked out loud about retiring but he's also rumored to be in talks with Strikeforce. With Dream looking to go belly up, anything is possible for Japan's top lightweight.

On that same card #8 Tatsuya Kawajiri ground out #18 Josh Thomson. Kawajiri's performance was strong enough to have Strikeforce headman Scott Coker talking about a Kawajiri-Melendez title fight. #2 Gilbert Melendez barely got past Kawajiri in 2006, a re-match is long overdue.

Unlike Bellator and Strikeforce, the UFC has potential challengers aplenty with #7 George Sotiropolous, #9 Jim Miller and #6 Kenny Florian all in the neighborhood of a title shot.

#12 Melvin Guillard leaps up 13 spots after finishing #15 Evan Dunham at UFC Fight for the Troops 2. Guillard has announced himself as a for real title contender.

Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings. We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.

We are now moving to what JCS of Fight Matrix has described as assumed rankings in an attempt to rank fighters who move between weight classes. This has been the biggest problem with the consensus rankings and we believe this new methodology will rectify that.

Let's take Anderson Silva for instance. 87% (13 of 15) of our panelists have him at Light Heavyweight and 100% (15 of 15) at Middleweight. On the 13 ballots that ranked Silva at 205, we took the average (21.2). We then reduced that number by half the percentage of Light Heavyweight ballots that he was not included on. Say he's not on 30% of them, then we do a 15% penalty on the average that we found in the previous step. That number is then used instead of the usual "normalization number" to provide points from those not ranking the fighter in the weight class in question. This avoids fighters being excessively penalized by confusion about which weight class they belong


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