The State of the UFC Lightweight Division

The UFC lightweight division is officially a mess. The champion Frankie Edgar was scheduled to face top contender Gray Maynard at UFC 130 on May 28th, but injuries to both guys have forced that fight to be postponed. Depending on the state of Edgar’s back that fight could happen in August or September.

The Contenders
1. Gray Maynard
2. Anthony Pettis
3. Jim Miller
4. Melvin Guillard
5. Dennis Siver

The Next Tier
1. Clay Guida
2. George Sotiropolous
3. Ben Henderson

The Up and Coming
1. Edson Barboza
2. Charles Oliveira
3. Paul Sass

Middle of the Pack
1. Nik Lentz
2. Takanori Gomi
3. Sean Sherk
4. Gleison Tibau
5. Shane Roller
6. Danny Castillo
7. Ross Pearson
8. Joe Lauzon
9. Jeremy Stephens
10. Mac Danzig
11. Sam Stout
12. Ross Pearson
13. Matt Wiman
14. Donald Cerrone

The problem with the lightweight division is that there are five guys calling for a title shot right now and no title fight is scheduled. There seems to be no doubt about the pecking order. Gray Mayanrd gets the next shot. After Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis would get the title shot if he were to beat Clay Guida in June. After that it would appear that Jim Miller would have the best argument for a title shot. Now, Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez wants to unify titles, but that idea will probably be put on hold until 2012. The UFC needs to clear things up at the top. All the contenders have scheduled fights, but they all could also win those fights. The UFC needs contenders to fight contenders.

Also, if you noticed there is a very large middle of the pack in the lightweight division. Most of those guys will not beat the contenders, but they can seriously compete in the division.

There are a few bright prospects in the division. Most notably is Edson Barboza who has looked good lately. He could be a threat. Also, Charles Oliveira has a lot of promise. Don’t sleep on Evan Dunham yet either.

The lightweight division may be one of the most stacked divisions in the sport. There are 30 plus recognizable names. There are no easy fights in that division any more. The division is exciting and the future is bright, however the mess at the top needs to be settled. The acquisition of Strikeforce leaves options. UFC guys could move to Strikeforce. However, eventually, I believe Strikeforce will be absorbed and the UFC will take their talent. Could you imagine adding Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, K.J. Noons, and Gesias Cavalcante to an already stacked division?

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