Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings - Lightweight (2024)

Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings - Lightweight (1)

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Lightweight


1. IslamMakhachev (26-1) | UFC [1]

It was far from an easy night at the office for Makhachev at UFC302, but the reigning lightweight champion weathered a spiritedtest from Dustin Poirier, ultimately submitting his opponent with abrabo choke in the fifth round of their encounter at the PrudentialCenter in Newark, New Jersey on June 1. Makhachev’s winning streakcurrently sits at 14, the third-longest in UFC history. Whileanother lightweight title defense looms in the form of a rematchagainst top contender Arman Tsarukyan, the Dagestani standout hasrepeatedly expressed interest in a two-division championship bid at170 pounds.

2. ArmanTsarukyan (22-3) UFC [2]

Tsarukyan relied on a strong top game and submission defense toearn a split-decision triumph over ex-lightweight champ CharlesOliveira at UFC 300. The American Top Team product has won fourstraight and nine of his last 10 UFC appearances overall,potentially setting the stage for a title shot in his nextouting.

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3. CharlesOliveira (34-10, 1 NC) | UFC [3]

Oliveira had his moments against Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 300 —including a pair of tight submissions in Rounds 1 and 3 — but “doBronx” ultimately didn’t do enough to sway the scorecards in hisfavor, as he dropped a split decision in a No. 1 contender’s boutat the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Brazilian showed why heremains one of the division’s top talents, but the setback moveshis dream of a rematch with Islam Makhachev further away frombecoming a reality.

4. MaxHolloway (26-7) | UFC [4]

Concerns for Holloway’s health against Justin Gaethje proved to bemisguided, as “Blessed” authored an all-time classic knockoutvictory to claim the BMF belt at UFC 300 on April 13. Optionsabound for the Hawaiian, who remains a top contender at 145 poundsand is now also a person of interest at lightweight aftervanquishing Gaethje, who would have been in line for a title shotwith a victory. Holloway has won five of his last six Octagonappearances, with victories over the likes of Gaethje, Chan SungJung, Arnold Allen, Yair Rodriguez and Calvin Kattar adding to hisconsiderable resume.

5. JustinGaethje (25-5) | UFC [5]

Gaethje relinquished his BMF crown to Max Holloway at UFC 300,suffering a knockout loss at the 4:59 mark of Round 5 in what willgo down as one of the most memorable bouts in the history of theLas Vegas-based promotion. The Colorado native struggled afterhaving his nose broken at the end of Round 1, and outside of a latesurge in the fourth frame, was largely outgunned by his Hawaiianadversary. While Gaethje is one of the sport’s most belovedall-action fighters, one must wonder how much of a toll a career ofbattles has taken on him at this point in time.

6. DustinPoirier (30-9, 1 NC) | UFC [6]

If this was Poirier’s farewell, he went down with guns blazingbefore falling to Islam Makhachev via fifth-round submission in theUFC 302 headliner. While it ultimately was Poirier’s third failedattempt at capturing undisputed UFC lightweight gold, he gotstronger as the fight progressed and gave Makhachev a much moredifficult test than many expected. Poirier didn’t make a cleardecision regarding retirement in the immediate aftermath, and if hedoes decide to stick around, there figure to be plenty ofinteresting options for the Louisiana native.

7. BeneilDariush (22-6-1) | UFC [7]

Dariush probably didn’t know what hit him in the UFC on ESPN 52headliner, where he fell victim to an Arman Tsarukyan right handand follow-up punches just 64 seconds into the opening round oftheir clash at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas on Dec. 2. Dariushhas now suffered back-to-back first-round KO/TKO defeats at thehands of Tsarukyan and Charles Oliveira, pushing him down the ranksof contenders at 155 pounds.

8. MateuszGamrot (24-2, 1 NC) | UFC [8]

Gamrot survived some adversity in the opening stanza against Rafaeldos Anjos before rallying to impose his will through relentlesswrestling in a unanimous decision triumph at UFC 299. The formerKSW title holder has won seven of his last eight Octagonappearances and could be just a victory or two away from serioustitle contention in the loaded lightweight division.

9. MichaelChandler (23-8) | UFC [9]

Once again, Chandler had an opponent reeling but couldn’t finishthe job, as he was submitted by Dustin Poirier in a featuredlightweight affair at UFC 281. Although he has lost three of hislast four UFC outings, Chandler remains a favorite with promotionalbrass thanks to his penchant for all-action fights. That status wasreflected by his next assignment, which was a coaching stint on“The Ultimate Fighter 31” opposite Conor McGregor. After multipledelays, Chandler was finally expected to lock horns with theIrishman at UFC 303. However, a late injury to McGregor postponedthe contest yet again.

10. RafaelFiziev (12-3) | UFC [10]

In what was shaping up to be an intriguing clash of lightweightcontenders, Fiziev suffered an unfortunate knee injury early in thesecond round of his headlining clash against Mateusz Gamrot at UFCFight Night 228. Not only is Fiziev mired in the first two-boutskid of his professional career, but he’ll likely face a fairlylengthy recovery process before he can return to action within theLas Vegas-based promotion.

Other Contenders: Dan Hooker,BobbyGreen, RenatoCarneiro, JalinTurner, GrantDawson.

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Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings - Lightweight (2024)
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