Originally posted on MMA Manifesto  |  Last updated 6/17/12





The Rankings are just that - The MMA Manifesto's rankings of the best fighters in mixed martial arts today.  Check back every Monday and Friday for our rankings of a different weight class.  Next up: The Lightweights. 


Voting Panel: Jeff Fox - The MMA Manifesto, speeds - Sports Two MMA Forum, Dave Hunter - 2010 MMA Manifesto Pick 'Em Contest Champion, Dave Kelsey - 2011 MMA Manifesto Pick 'Em Contest Champion, Barry Oh - Fedor apologist and rock star, and MMA journalist (FIGHT!, UFC.com, Keyboard Kimura) E. Spencer Kyte.





1) (Last rankings: 1) Benson Henderson - UFC Lightweight Champion - 60 points (out of 60)




    Record: 16-2
    Last Five Fights: 4-1 
    Record vs Top 10: 5-1 (W-Edgar, W-Guida, W-Miller, L-Pettis, W-Cerrone, W-Cerrone)
    Next Fight: vs #2 Frankie Edgar - UFC 150 - Aug 11th 

He might have just been crowned the UFC's lightweight king in February, but looking at his resume you could almost argue that Benson Henderson has cleared out the division already - he's gone 5-1 versus our top 10 lightweights.  Time to prove it wasn't a fluke and beat Edgar again in their rematch this summer.


2) (2) Frankie Edgar - UFC - 54 points
          Record: 14-2-1
          Last Five Fights: 3-1-1
          Record vs Top 10: 2-2-1 (L-Henderson, W-Maynard, D-Maynard, L-Maynard, W-Miller)
          Next Fight: vs #1 Benson Henderson - UFC 150 - Aug 11th 

While losing is never fun, it must have been at least refreshing for Frankie Edgar to look across the cage his last fight and not see Gray Maynard or B.J. Penn staring back at him.  Henderson was the only man other than Maynard and Penn to face Edgar in the past two years, and it'll remain that way - Edgar is getting his requested rematch with Henderson this summer.


3) (tied) (3) Gray Maynard - UFC - 43 points 
                   Record: 10-1-1 (1 No Contest)
                   Last Five Fights: 3-1-1 
                   Record vs Top 10: 4-1-1 (L-Edgar, D-Edgar, W-Florian, W-Diaz, W-Miller, W-Edgar)
                   Next Fight: vs #7 Clay Guida - UFC on FX 4 - June 22nd

From the start of his career (in 2006) until the end of 2010, Gray Maynard was undefeated.  Then he didn't win a fight all of 2011.


4) (3) Gilbert Melendez - Strikeforce Lightweight Champion - 35 points
          Record: 21-2
          Last Five Fights: 5-0 
          Record vs Top 10: 1-0 (W-Guida)
          Next Fight: TBA

This is the conundrum Gilbert Melendez finds himself in fighting in Strikeforce - if he doesn't demolish an opponent like Josh Thomson, he is seen as the "loser" of a fight that he actually wins.
 

5) (8) Nate Diaz - UFC - 32 points 
          Record: 16-7
          Last Five Fights: 3-2 
          Record vs Top 10: 2-2 (W-Miller, W-Cerrone, L-Maynard, L-Guida)
          Next Fight: TBA

Nate Diaz is finally putting it all together - next stop, a shot at UFC gold.


6) (6) Anthony Pettis - UFC - 22 points



          Record: 15-2
          Last Five Fights: 4-1 
          Record vs Top 10: 1-1 (L-Guida, W-Henderson)   
          Next Fight: TBA

The closest thing to a ninja the sport has, Anthony Pettis will unfortunately be on the shelf for a while still after getting shoulder surgery.


7) (7) Clay Guida - UFC - 19 points 
          Record: 29-12
          Last Five Fights: 4-1 
          Record vs Top 10: 2-2 (L-Henderson, W-Pettis, W-Diaz, L-Melendez)
          Next Fight: vs #3 Gray Maynard - UFC on FX 4 - June 22nd

'The Carpenter' always seems to be on the verge of greatness yet always falls short.  Is he destined to be only The People's Champ for his whole career (other than holding the Strikeforce Lightweight belt for three months in 2006)?  He gets another crack at moving to the top of the division in his next fight versus Gray Maynard. 


8) (5) Jim Miller - UFC - 18 points 
          Record: 21-4
          Last Five Fights: 3-2
          Record vs Top 10: 0-4 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Maynard, L-Edgar)
          Next Fight: TBA

Jim Miller has now lost two out of his last three fights and is still winless versus our current top 10 lightweights.


9) (NR) Donald Cerrone - UFC - 9 points
            Record: 18-4 (1 No Contest) 
            Last Five Fights: 4-1
            Record vs Top 10: 0-3 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Henderson)
            Next Fight: TBA

Cowboy showed how good he is when he sticks to his gameplan when he systemically picked apart Jeremy Stephens in his last fight.  But can he finally beat a top-ranked opponent?


10) (9) Michael Chandler - Bellator Lightweight Champion - 7 points
              Record: 10-0
              Last Five Fights:  5-0
              Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
              Next Fight: TBA

The former University of Missouri wrestling All-American shockingly stormed his way through Bellator's Lightweight Tournament and didn't stop until he had snatched the belt from heavily favoured Eddie Alvarez.





Bubbling under: Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza


Rankings: Heavyweights, Light Heavyweights, Middleweights, Welterweights, Featherweights, Bantamweights, Pound For Pound



Check back on Friday for our Featherweight rankings


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