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The UFC’s lightweight division has certainly had it’s ups and downs over the past year. With two positive tests for steroids and BJ Penn re-entering the fold, it’s time to re-evaluate the rankings in the UFC lightweight division.
Lightweights in the UFC are considered to be up to 155lbs, but most of the guys in this list walk around at well over 155lbs. Sean Sherk and BJ Pen have both competed successfully at higher weights and former Ultimate Fighters Joe Stevenson and Kenny Florian have come down to be at 155. Let’s not waste any time and get to the list.
6. Roger Huerta was virtually unknown to UFC fans just a year ago, but with 5 consecutive wins added in that time (to put his total to 15 in a row) and a sports illustrated cover have made Huerta a household name and fight fan favorite. I first started taking notice of Huerta with his decision victory over Leonard Garcia at UFC 69. Huerta seemed to have endless cardio in that fight and has had added two more impressive victories since then. One against Douglas Evans and one against a very tough Alberto Crane. Huerta doesn’t quite make my top 5, but he certainly deserves special mention and a #6 placement.
5. Din Thomas holds wins over Matt Serra and Jens Pulver. That alone is not enough to move Din into the top 5, however his performances since the finale of the Ultimate Fighter season 4 are. Din has defeated Rich Clementi, Clay Guida and Jeremy Stephens and with those three victories over tough condition I give Din a #5 rating. I think Din is a tough match for anyone at 155.
4 Kenny Florian has one of the worst nicknames in martial arts “KenFlo”, but that shouldn’t be held against him. He was won 5 of his last six, most of them seemingly with little effort. He did loose in the lightweight title bout with Sean Sherk, but not before opening up a stomach turning cut on Sherk and giving “The muscle Shark” a good battle.
3. Joe Stevenson has won 13 of his last 14 fights, including victories over Melvin Guillard, Yves Edwards and Kurt Pellegrino. Ususally that puts Joe right in the mix at 155 and I expect him to get a title shot very soon.
2 Sean Sherk has rolled over all the competition he has faced since he moved to 155. He’s easily out pointed Kenny Florian and Hermes Franca and is well deserving of the #2 spot. I think a couple of guys could give Sean a run, but with Seans strength and conditioning it will be tough to defeat “The muscle Shark”.
1. BJ Penn has exactly one fight at lightweight in the last four years, so why is he considered #1 on my list? Simply because BJ Penn is the best lightweight fighter on the planet. BJ Penn has fought the very best at 155 and 170 and held his own with all of them. He is 1-1 in his fights with long time welterweight champion Matt Hughes and very nearly defeated the future at that weight, Georges St Pierre. He holds a win over Jens Pulver and Din Thomas. Sean Sherk (who is at #2) has lost badly to both Hughes and St Pierre and in my mind that puts BJ at a completely different level. Until Takanori Gomi comes to the UFC BJ Penn holds the top spot on my list of 155 lb fighters.
Many will disagree with my list, after all it is missing Hermes Franca, Manny Gamburyan, Spencer Fisher and others. No top 5 list is complete, or entirely without flaws. This is mine, for what it’s worth. Of course when Spencer, Manny or Hermes defeat one of the others on my list I’ll be happy to move them into the top 5.
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