The lightweight division has traditionally been one of the most stacked divisions in the UFC, and things only got better with the promotion’s merger with the WEC. Here are the five best fighters currently in the UFC’s lightweight division.
1. Ben Henderson
I wrote a piece after Henderson’s first fight in the UFC, declaring the 28 year old would be the next lightweight champion. Henderson lived up to my expectations, putting up impressive performances against Jim Miller and Clay Guida on his way to the title. He bested Frankie Edgar to become the champion at UFC 144, but I don’t think we’ve seen the very best he has to offer. I expect him to dominate the lightweight division for quite some time, and it starts with his rematch against Edgar.
2. Frankie Edgar
Edgar certainly had a solid run as the lightweight champion, but it seems like his days in the division are numbered. Barring some significant improvements during training camp, I don’t think Edgar will fare much better in his rematch against Henderson. Fortunately for him, he does have option of competing as a featherweight, and he has the tools needed to give Jose Aldo a lot of problems inside the Octagon.
3. Nate Diaz
After a rough stint in the welterweight division, Diaz has been pretty impressive lately, completely outclassing Takanori Gomi in his return to 155. In his last fight, Diaz handed Donald Cerrone his first loss in the UFC, overwhelming the aggressive striker with his constant barrage of punches. He’s currently scheduled to face Jim Miller for the number one contender spot, and it’ll be interesting to see how much his wrestling has improved.
4. Anthony Pettis
Pettis’ UFC debut didn’t go as planned, but he has turned things around since then, securing wins against Jeremy Stephens and Joe Lauzon. Pettis is the last man to defeat Henderson, and it’s only a matter of time before the two reunite inside the Octagon.
5. Jim Miller
Miller was on course for a title shot, but Henderson derailed his plans at “UFC Live 5.” Miller fought his way back to contention with his victory against Melvin Guillard. But I wasn’t particularly impressed with his performance (he probably would have lost the bout if Guillard was a little more disciplined). He’ll be in for a tough fight against Nate Diaz at “UFC on Fox 3,” and we’ll get to find out if he’s for real.