A changing of the guard has taken place in the UFC’s lightweight division, and that is reflected in this week’s SB Nation rankings. New kingpin Anthony Pettis wasn’t even eligible the last time we did these since he had taken a fight at featherweight at the time, but now he’s back and he’s on top. And he joins two other fighters in the top 10 that weren’t eligible last time either due to suspensions.
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites – Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Brian Hemminger from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow. Check out the fancy chart below to see where we had everyone at.
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission or company suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. Presently, this does not affect any fighters at lightweight who are generally considered to be Top-10 caliber).
Pettis obviously claimed the top spot with his submission win over Ben Henderson at UFC 164, which dropped Henderson to number two. Former title challenger Gilbert Melendez held down the number three spot, while the expected next challenger, T.J. Grant, sits at number four. With Josh Thomson sitting in the five spot, the six panelists more or less agreed on the top five. Things are a little different for the bottom five though.
Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler claimed the six spot on our chart, receiving votes all the way from three to eight. Gray Maynard was the same, with votes ranging from number five all the way down to not even making the top 10 on one card. It was enough to claim the seven spot though. Rounding out the top 10 are Rafael dos Anjos and two men who are now eligible to be ranked again, Pat Healy and Nate Diaz. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Eddie Alvarez, and Donald Cerrone all received votes, but it wasn’t enough to get them into the top 10.
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
Gilbert Melendez (3) vs. Diego Sanchez (NR) – UFC 166, October 19th
Michael Chandler (6) vs. Eddie Alvarez (NR) – Bellator 106, November 2nd
Pat Healy (9) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (NR) – UFC 165, September 21st
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