Wednesday, June 27, 2007

UFC Lightweight Rankings

With the heighlighting of this division since TUF 5, and my inability to keep up on the other organizations, I will rank the Lightweight fighters from the UFC only. This division has become very exciting with the weight cut by some serious contenders and some other returning stars from the past. My rankings I believe will be fair and sane, but will not require or respect a belt holder to be ranked #1. This will be true in all of my picks. I will also only rank the top 5. I have always thought a top 10 to be overkill.

Unfortunately the bulk of the talent arrived on scene in this weight class after Sherk already had the belt and before a proper tournament style elimination could take place.

#1 Lightweight: Thiago Tavares

This pick is stricktly based on overall skill level he possesses, and current win rate (how many and how quickly) over any opponent he has faced. I believe he is in the top eschelon of BJJ in this division and he has probably better striking that BJ Penn, without the issues of poor conditioning. He has overwhelmed all his opponents to this date and shows unstoppable agression. I truly believe based on talent and conditioning that he is the best in this division.

#2 Lightweight: B.J. Penn

With his return to this weightclass he is at his perfect size to maintain excellent conditioning. He has reemerged, with his domination of Rulver, with new life and passion for the sport. Maybe this time around he will live up to his potential. It is honestly his past and poor conditioning from before that makes me rank him just below Tavares. Their skill level is similar on the ground so I do not see Penn being able to dominate and control his position like he can at will with some other opponents. Though his standup is excellent, I believe it is second best to Tavares in theis weight class. However, once Penn or tavares get through Sherk, which will happen sooner or later, I see this entire weight division needing to go through him to get the belt.

#3 Lightweight: "The Muscle Shark" Sherk

I am not a fan of his style, but every fighter below Penn or Tavares will be overwhelmed by his power and his good standup defense. He is careful and technical enough in the standup to avoid being knocked out and he is probably the strongest and best conditioned at this weight class. The only reason why I believe he is #3 behind Penn adnTavares is I believe Penn is better in the standup and also able to submit Sherk, something Florian with his lack of power and long stature could not do. Tavares also has the skill to do it with an equal stamina. The days of GnP in this division are over so long as the two fighters above him are in this weight class.

#4 Lightweight: Kenny Florian

Kenflo just did not have the power to beat Sherk. This will not be his problem with any other fighter in this weight division. He does not have the talent level, even with his Jiu-Jitsu to beat BJ or Tavares, but I believe he can beat the remaining contenders. His Jiu-Jitsu and more disciplined kickboxing should beat both a Joe Stevenson and a Hermes Franca

#5 Joe Stevenson/Hermes Franca

I could not rank these two seperately until I see them fight. I believe this would be an exciting matchup and one that should have taken place before the Sherk fight.

Some Militich product fans may ask where Spencer Fischer is. I believe he is where he deserves, no where to be seen on this list. The fact that the UFC always considers him a "contender" actually seriously pisses me off. He showed talent against Sam Stout, but what else does he have compared to the other fighters listed above? The fact is he is going to end up getting a title shot before Tavares or Penn, and I believe it is all political.

Next up, the Welterweights...


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