Combat Rankings: Lightweight

Here at 7#bag we try to bring you fresh take on things.  Since every website in the world has a top 10 ranking for sorting the premier fighter in each division, I decided to try something a little different.  Here in the Combat Rankings, I will present my top 10 in a weight class, another writer will add his, then we will commence to argue about who’s list is better and why.  In the interest of brevity, this is all the intro you get.  It’s a pretty straight forward concept, so enjoy.

Who’s #1?


Collin Caprini:
1. Benson Henderson
2. Frank Edgar
3. Gray Maynard
4. Nick Diaz
5. Anthony Pettis
6. Gilbert Melendez
7. Donald Cerrone
8. Jim Miller
9. Joe Lauzon
10. Michael Chandler

James Jacobs:

1. Frankie Edgar
2. Benson Henderson
3. Nate Diaz
4. Gray Maynard
5. Donald Cerrone
6. Gilbert Melendez
7. Anthony Pettis
8. Michael Chandler
9. Jim Miller
10. Eddie Alvarez
I respect your choice to put Edgar at #1 over Ben Henderson, but as it stands he is officially 0-2 against Benson and Henderson reigns as as the lightweight Champion of the UFC.  Sure, in my mind they are 1-1, and I’m sure in your mind Frankie won both, but that doesn’t rewrite history.  They were razor thin fights but Frankie lost them both, and Ben Henderson is the best lightweight in the world.I don’t agree with Diaz over Maynard for a few reasons: 1) Because Gray beat him not long ago and 2) Gray has never lost to anyone other than Frank Edgar in his 11 UFC fights.  Diaz has a solid 3 fight win streak, but that isn’t enough to put you over Gray right now.

I have a real tough time putting Eddie on there right now, rejecting him in favor of J-Lau.  Lauzon has put together a stint in the UFC that has made him a solid contender, while Eddie was busy losing to Michael Chandler in Bellator.  When Aoki and Huerta are your biggest wins in the last several years, you just aren’t top 10 material over a guy like Lauzon.

There is not one person on the face of the Earth that could make me change my mind about the last Edgar vs Henderson fight. Edgar clearly won the fight and the judges simply got it wrong. I don’t need 3 demented old guys telling me who won the fight. I saw who won, and Ben Henderson didn’t. So in my opinion Frank Edgar is the #1 LW in the world.
Diaz over Maynard because Diaz triangled Gray on TUF and he outboxed him in their 2nd meeting. Not only that, but I’d say Nate has improved immensely, while Gray has improved, its not to the level of Nate. No one has ever taken it to Jim Miller the way Nate Diaz has, not even Gray. Based on their past meetings and current status, Nate Diaz is easily ranked over Gray Maynard.
I love Joe Lauzon so its tough for me to criticize him, but who has he beaten to gain top 10 status? Guillard? A one handed Varner? Everytime he faces a top of the line LW he loses. Florian, Pettis, Sotiropoulos. There’s no shame in losing to Michael Chandler, who we both have in our top 10. The fight between Alvarez and Chandler was an absolute war and a closely contested battle until the end. Alvarez is top 10, while Lauzon is right outside looking in.
Doesn’t it say something about Edgar that he can’t ever seem to beat his opponents convincingly in two of every three fights?  Bendo and Frankie are 1-1 right now, and Henderson has the belt.  He has a more impressive recent stint as well.  The UFC Lightweight Champion will almost always be ranked #1, and rightfully so.Diaz triangled Maynard Eons ago, and he didn’t out box him in the rematch.  That fight was almost all standup and Gray won with relative ease.  Nate looked good against Cerrone and Miller are good opponents, but I just don’t see those fights putting him over the level Gray reached by beating guys like Edgar and Florian, especially when their most recent match was Gray’s.

Lauzon might lose everytime he faces a top of the line lightweight, but when he faces top of the line lightweights Eddie Alvarez…..faces Shinya Aoki and Roger Huerta.  Eddie has been fighting against the likes of Josh Neer, Toby Imada and Huerta for the last several years, and only fighting twice in 2010 and 2011.  Not enough for me to rank him over an active and winning UFC lightweight fringe contender.

To answer your question, no it doesn’t say anything. What it says is that Edgar has fought the very best of the division. How many times has Penn been finished at 155? Zero. How many times has Gray Maynard been finished? Once, and that was to Edgar. How many times has Ben Henderson been finished? Once, and that was years ago. The guys Edgar has fought recently don’t get finished and are the very best in the weight class. Who’s beating those guys convincingly? I know of one guy who’s beaten BJ Penn and Gray Maynard convincingly and that’s Frank Edgar. Ben Henderson is 5-0 in the UFC. Guess how many finishes he has? None. If the judges get the decision right in the Edgar vs Henderson fight I think we can all agree that Edgar’s recent stint is more impressive. He’s the rightful #1 Lightweight and two incompetent judges do not change that fact. One question people need to ask themselves. If one of the two judges who got the decision wrong, in fact scored it correctly in Edgar’s favor, would we even be having this debate?
Hmm, now I know I watched the Diaz vs Maynard fight and recall Diaz outboxing him but you don’t agree, so I took the Fightric to break the tie. According to fightmetric Diaz outstruck Maynard in all 3 rounds and held a 70-41 edge in significant strikes. That to me is clearly outboxing your opponent. Nate is beating guys down currently. He owned Cerrone in the standup and gave Miller the beatdown of his life. Meanwhile, Maynard was getting KO’d by a guy you think only wins convincingly 2 of every 3 fights. His fight against Guida was horrid. Diaz is also the #1 contender. All of this leads to him being ranked higher than Gray Maynard.
In the last 2 plus years Lauzon is 4-3 with wins over Guillard and Varner. Solid wins but not top 10 guys. He also has wins over Ruediger and Warburton. Two UFC washouts. His 3 losses are to Stout who’s a mid level LW, Pettis who violently KO’d him in just over a minute, and Sotiropoulos who schooled him on the mat.  Of the 4 wins Lauzon has, none of those guys are better than Aoki. And Alvarez dismantled Aoki in 1 round. Alvarez has also only lost 1 fight in the last 3 and half years, and it was the war he had with Chandler, who we both rank top 10. Eddie Alvarez should be ranked higher than Joe Lauzon.
That is a fine point, Lightweight is a very tough division filled to the brim with killers and there simply aren’t going to be a ton of finishes at that level.  It still isn’t a Penn level of dominance where we see him strangling Joe Stevenson and Kenny Florian, splitting Diego Sanchez skull open as if with a machete, and nearly killing Sean Sherk with flying knees.
Numbers, numbers, blah blah blah.  Fighting isn’t allabout numbers.  There is a reason that this isn’t scored like TKD and Olympic Boxing; it isn’t a game of tag.  The Diaz brothers particularly are famous for a style favoring quantity over power, and landing a hundred “significant” touches shouldn’t be scored over less frequent but more measured and effective striking.  That fight was almost all standup, and almost everyone agreed with the decision.  The fight against Guida was horrid because Clay is a horrid, talentless fighter.  I could run from Gray and make a bad fight too, it isn’t his fault.
I can get on board with what you’re saying about Joe Lauzon’s opponents…if you could convince me somehow that Eddie has been facing a reasonable level of competition.  He hasn’t.  He went to Bellator to make money, has been very inactive over the past few years and lost his last fight to an at the time unranked fighter.  Joe has been a regular competitor in the most talent stacked division of the most talent stacked promotion.  I’ll take his decent UFC run over Alvarez’s “stellar” run in Bellator, especially at 155.
That concludes this edition of the combative style rankings.  Let us know what you think in the comments section; let us know how smart/stupid we really are.


Tiny URL for this post:




  1. Excellent Concept
    Great Execution!

    Few questions.

    Edgar is not a lightweight anymore

    I’d take J-Lou over Eddie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.