Although hardly anyone in the United States saw the fights, two of the top five lightweights in MMA were in action this weekend, as Shinya Aoki
lost at Dream 8
and Eddie Alvarez
won in the debut of the new Bellator promotion. That means it's time to revisit our list of the Top 10 lightweights in MMA.
The first question is whether it's fair to drop Aoki on the lightweight list when he lost to a bigger opponent in the Dream Welterweight Grand Prix. I think it is fair. I'm not impressed with Aoki's performance, and I can't pretend the fight didn't happen just because it didn't happen at lightweight.
The second question is whether Alvarez can move up by beating Greg Loughran at Bellator 1. I don't think he can. This is still the guy who lost to Aoki on New Year's Eve, and I'm going to keep him below Aoki, at least until Aoki loses again and/or Alvarez beats someone more impressive than Loughran.
As I see the top of the lightweight division in MMA, it now has two distinct groups: The top three in the UFC (BJ Penn
, Sean Sherk
and Kenny Florian
) followed by the top three outside the UFC (Aoki, Alvarez and Joachim Hansen
). After that it's a little harder to rank, but I've done my best below.
1. B.J. Penn
2. Sean Sherk
3. Kenny Florian
4. Shinya Aoki
5. Eddie Alvarez
6. Joachim Hansen
7. Gray Maynard
8. Josh Thomson
9. Gesias "JZ Calvan
10. Diego Sanchez