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411's MMA Rankings 12.24.13: Lightweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 12.24.2013





It's Christmas Eve and while Santa Claus is prepping for a busy night, 411 MMA is here to unveil our final lightweight rankings of 2013!

Thanks for reading and what you may notice right off the bat is an influx of fresh names towards the meaty part of our top 15. Conversely, one name you will not see is that of Gray Maynard. I'd venture to guess he's been in close to 90% of our 155-pound rankings over the years because he's been one of the most stable fighters in the division. Now, that's a thing of the past as he was recently knocked out by Nate Diaz. Most of the talk concerning Gray is whether he should or should not retire considering it appears his chin is wrecked. It seems like the wars with Frankie Edgar were just yesterday, right?

Meanwhile, some of the best fighters in this weight class are in the middle of training camps, readying to fight early in the new year. First up is the UFC on Fox main event next month featuring Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson. Following that, in February, will be Gilbert Melendez meeting Khabib Nurmagomedov (based on reports as of early this week). With UFC champion Anthony Pettis on the shelf for at least a few more months due to injury, these two fights will go a long way in settling who may meet "Showtime" once he's physically able to compete.

Speaking of waiting to get medical clearance, that's something TJ Grant is still being patient with. Concussions are no joke and while it's unfortunate he has lost out on his opportunity for a title fight, in the grand scheme of life, you cannot fault doctors for being meticulous in their treatment.

UFC 168 is this weekend and two ranked fighters will be in action, in separate fights. On the PPV, Jim Miller meets Fabricio Camoes while on the Fox Sports 1 portion of the show, Gleison Tibau fights Michael Johnson. Miller and Tibau are on the cusp of dropping out with losses and although neither Camoes or Johnson are close to being named one of the top 15, scoring an upset to close 2013 would be one hell of a self-delivered present.

For those wondering, next week, in our New Year's Eve edition, the 411 MMA Rankings shuts the door on this year with our middleweight rankings. Chris Weidman or Anderson Silva, oh my!




RANKINGS FROM ONE YEAR AGO
12.11.12


1. Benson Henderson

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Nate Diaz

4. Gray Maynard

5. Anthony Pettis

6. Michael Chandler

7. Donald Cerrone

8. Eddie Alvarez

9. Pat Healy

10. Jim Miller

11. Joe Lauzon

12. Rick Hawn

13. Josh Thomson

14. Khabib Nurmagomedov

15. Jamie Varner




411's MMA Ranking Rules

Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.






411's Official MMA Rankings


Lightweight Division (155 lbs)




1) "Showtime" Anthony Pettis (16-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: January 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Benson Henderson - Win via submission (armbar) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. Donald Cerrone - Win via TKO (liver kick) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Joe Lauzon - Win via KO (head kick) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

- vs. Jeremy Stephens - Win via decision (split) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Clay Guida - Loss via decision (unanimous) - TUF 13 Finale - June 4, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (knee)

Comment: The champion tore his PCL and recently underwent knee surgery. He expects to be out for as long as six months, but could be back before summer if all goes well.




2) Benson "Smooth" Henderson (19-3)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: November 16, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Anthony Pettis - Loss via submission (armbar) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. Gilbert Melendez - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Nate Diaz - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Frankie Edgar - Win via decision (split) - UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2 - August 11, 2012

- vs. Frankie Edgar - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Josh Thomson - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson - January 25, 2014





3) Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez (22-3)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: April 12, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Diego Sanchez - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. JDS 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs. Benson Henderson - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Josh Thomson - Win via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. Jorge Masvidal - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal - December 17, 2011

- vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri - Win via TKO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley - April 9, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov - UFC 170: Evans vs. Cormier - February 22, 2014




4) T.J. Grant (21-5)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: February 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Gray Maynard - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Matt Wiman - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Evan Dunham - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Beflort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Carlo Prater - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Jung vs. Poirier - May 15, 2012

- vs. Shane Roller - Win via technical submission (armbar) - UFC on Versus: Cruz vs. Johnson - October 1, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





5) Josh "The Punk" Thomson (20-5, 1 No Contest)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 21, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Diaz - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Gilbert Melendez - Loss via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. K.J. Noons - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey - March 3, 2012

- vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Dynamite!! 2010 - December 31, 2010

- vs. JZ Cavalcante - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2 - October 9, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Benson Henderson - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson - January 25, 2014





6) Eddie Alvarez (25-3)


Birthday: November 11, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Michael Chandler - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 106 - November 2, 2013

- vs. Patricky Freire - Win via KO (head kick) - Bellator 75 - October 12, 2012

- vs. Shinya Aoki - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 66 - April 20, 2012

- vs. Michael Chandler - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

- vs. Pat Curran - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 39 - April 2, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





7) Khabib Nurmagomedov (21-0)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 20, 1988

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Pat Healy - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson - September 21, 2013

- vs. Abel Trujillo - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Thiago Tavares - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on FX: Bisping vs. Belfort - January 19, 2013

- vs. Gleison Tibau - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Kamal Shalorus - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Gilbert Melendez - UFC 170: Evans vs. Cormier - February 22, 2014





8) Rafael dos Anjos (20-6)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: October 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Donald Cerrone - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. Evan Dunham - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold - May 18, 2013

- vs. Mark Bocek - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Anthony Njokuani - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Kamal Shalorus - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on Fuel: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier - May 15, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rustam Khabilov - UFC 170: Evans vs. Cormier - February 22, 2014





9) Michael Chandler (12-1)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: April 24, 1986

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eddie Alvarez - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 106 - November 2, 2013

- vs. David Rickels - Win via KO (punches) - Bellator 97 - July 31, 2013

- vs. Rick Hawn - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

- vs. Akihiro Gono - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 67 - May 4, 2012

- vs. Eddie Alvarez - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





10) Nate Diaz (17-9)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: April 16, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Gray Maynard - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC TUF 18 Finale - November 30, 2013

- vs. Josh Thomson - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Benson Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Jim Miller - Win via via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Donald Cerrone - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Diaz avenged his 2010 loss to Maynard in dominant fashion, knocking him out in less than three minutes last month. While we can debate the health and future of Gray Maynard's career, this type of performance from Diaz is something we have not seen since he fought RORY MARKHAM almost four years ago.





11) Jim Miller (22-4, 1 NC)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: August 30, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Pat Healy - No Contest - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Joe Lauzon - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 - December 29, 2012

- vs. Nate Diaz - Loss via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Melvin Guillard - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

- vs. Ben Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Hardy vs. Lytle - August 14, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

-vs. Fabricio Camoes - UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 - December 28, 2013





12) "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone (21-6, 1 NC)


Height: 6'

Birthday: March 29, 2983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Evan Dunham - Win via submission (triangle choke) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Rafael dos Anjos - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. K.J. Noons - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 - May 25, 2013

- vs. Anthony Pettis - Loss via TKO (liver kick) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Melvin Guillard - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2 - August 11, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Adriano Martins - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson - January 25, 2014

Comment: Cerrone choked out Evan Dunham last month and was supposed to then drop down to featherweight, but he has postponed that move indefinitely. He is signed to fight Brazil's Adriano Martins next month, who is riding a six-fight win streak.





13) Gleison Tibau (28-9)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: July 10, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jamie Varner - Win via decision (split) - UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2 - August 31, 2013

- vs. John Cholish - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold - May 18, 2013

- vs. Evan Dunham - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Francisco Trinaldo - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Michael Johnson - UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva - December 28, 2013





14) Bobby "King" Green (22-5)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 9, 1986

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Pat Healy - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 - December 14, 2013

- vs. James Krause - Win via TKO (body kick) - UFC: Fight for the Troops 3 - November 6, 2013

- vs. Jacob Volkmann - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Matt Ricehouse - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - August 18, 2012

- vs. James Terry - Win via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Abel Trujillo - UFC 169: Cruz vs. Barao - February 1, 2014

Comment: Green appears for the first time in our rankings, fresh off the heels of his upset win over Pat Healy this month, pushing his win streak to seven in the process.




15) Justin Gaethje (10-0)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: November 14, 1988

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 6 fights:

- vs. Dan Lauzon - Win via TKO (strikes) - WSOF 6 - October 26, 2013

- vs. Brian Cobb - Win via TKO (leg kicks) - WSOF 3 - June 14, 2013

- vs. JZ Cavalcante - Win via TKO (doctor stoppage) - WSOF 2 - March 23, 2013

- vs. Adrian Valdez - Win via TKO (punches) - Rage in the Cage 164 - November 16, 2012

- vs. Drew Fickett - Win via KO (punch) - Rage in the Cage 163 - October 20, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Lewis Gonzalez - WSOF 8 - January 18, 2014

Comment: Gaethje, one of WSOF's big prospects, has not let up since making a name for himself by finishing JZ Cavalcante earlier this year. Best yet, he is headlining his first major show in about three weeks when he fights (9-0) Lewis Gonzalez for the vacant lightweight championship in Florida.





Final Notes: Rustam Khabilov, Will Brooks, Gray Maynard and Myles Jury received additional support.





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