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UFC Lightweight rankings: Rafael dos Anjos enters the top-10

ufc lightweight rankings

Jul 20, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Leon Edwards (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Edwards won by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Lightweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship has long been one of its most consistently talent-rich divisions. Not only is it still that now, but it is also more star-studded than ever before, with some of the most popular talents in the sport competing at 155-pounds. With that in mind, here are the official top-10 UFC rankings for the lightweight division.

UFC Lightweight rankings

10. Rafael dos Anjos (30-13)

After an unsuccessful run at welterweight, former lightweight king Rafael dos Anjos is back at 155-pounds and looking to build a new winning streak in his former kingdom. After a November 2020 win over Paul Felder, the Brazilian has had trouble in securing his next Octagon appearance. That will finally come in Feb. for the 37-year-old when he takes on fast-rising striker Rafael Fiziev.

  • Next fight: vs. Rafael Fiziev (February 19)

9. Conor McGregor (22-6)

ufc lightweight rankings

Sep 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; MMA fighter Conor McGregor waves to fans as he walks on the field before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like ages ago when Conor McGregor was viewed as the cream of the crop at lightweight. A failed foray into boxing, long breaks, and losing three of his last four in MMA has pushed him into the back of the top-10 for the first time ever. His back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier have tarnished his fearsome reputation, and at 33-year-old his best days could be behind him. However, time will soon tell, as his name has shown up in the title fight conversation of late despite being in the midst of a career-low point.

  • Next fight: Out of action until 2022 (broken leg)

8. Gregor Gillespie (14-1)

Gregor Gillespie has long been one of the top prospects in the entire division. His cardio and wrestling are a handful for most and he has all the tools to be a legitimate contender in the next couple of years. His 2019 loss to Kevin Lee was a major setback, but he bounced back in a big way with his technical knockout win in May over top-15 talent Diego Ferreira. To start 2022 he has campaigned for a fight with former division king Tony Ferguson. It's a matchup that makes a lot of sense for him, but will "El Cucuy" accept?

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

7. Rafael Fiziev (11-1)

Rafael Fiziev has quickly become a favorite for fight fans that enjoy watching outstanding striking techniques. After losing his UFC debut, "Ataman" has won five straight and capped the streak off with an impressive wheel kick knockout of Brad Riddell in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 44. A matchup with a top-10 fighter will be the next big challenge for the fast-rising talent from Kyrgystan.

  • Next fight: vs. Rafael dos Anjos in February

6. Michael Chandler (22-7)

Former two-time Bellator lightweight king Michael Chandler has split his first two fights in the Octagon. However, his spot at four is merited after crushing Hooker in his debut and damn near winning the belt in a dominant first round against Charles Oliveira in May. He followed that up in November with the 2021 "fight of the year" loss versus Justin Gaethje. His stock is high but he needs a W in his next Octagon appearance.

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

5. Beniel Dariush (21-4)

mma fights in february

May 14, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Beneil Dariush during weigh ins for UFC 262 at George R Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Beniel Dariush's rise as an elite lightweight has been remarkable. After hitting what seemed to be a ceiling in 2017 to '18, he's won seven straight and notched his first win over a former champion in Tony Ferguson at UFC 262. Once thought to be a grappler with solid striking, "Benny" has become a well-rounded and dangerous talent at 155-pounds. He next will face Islam Makhachev in a bout that will decide the next in line for the winner of Oliveira versus Gaethje.

  • Next fight: vs. Islam Makhachev (February 26)

4. Islam Makhachev (21-1)

The only real knock on the 29-year-old Islam Makhachev for a while was the lack of marque victims on his hit list. And it was a decent contention. But back-to-back dominant wins over Thiago Moises and Dan Hooker have him resembling mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, and the doubters are becoming less noisy. He has one last hurdle to overcome in becoming the top contender in Feb. against Beniel Dariush.

  • Next fight: vs. Beniel Dariush (February 26)

3. Dustin Poirier (28-7)

Dustin Poirier, a former interim titleholder, recently put together a definitive series of wins over Conor McGregor [twice], Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje, and Dan Hooker. He’s one of the few superstar talents left in the sport built in the mold of a Georges St-Pierre. Where his talk comes in the Octagon, not so much outside of it. Unfortunately, in his second attempt to become the lightweight champion, he was again unable to reach the mountain top and lost to Charles Oliveira by submission at UFC 269. Where he goes next is anyone’s guess.

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

2. Justin Gaethje (23-3)

Despite a long hiatus after his UFC 254 loss to former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, Justin Gaethje's spot as a top-three lightweight is still very secure. Especially, after taking part in a lightweight classic against Michael Chandler at UFC 268. In beating "Iron" in the "fight of the year" in 2021 he proved once again he is the king of violence at 155-pounds. Next, he will set a championship date with division titlist Charles Oliveira.

  • Next fight: vs. Charles Oliveira at UFC 274

1. Champion: Charles Oliveira (32-8)

Charles Oliveira had big-time potential when he came to the organization in 2010. However, the Brazilian needed to have his ups and downs to force his evolution into one of the most dangerous talents in the lightweight division. He capped off a nine-fight win streak with a definitive victory over Michael Chandler in the biggest fight of his career at UFC 262. He then added to that and defended his title for the first time with an impressive all-around showing in submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. He is the undisputed best lightweight in the world and will get the king of violence Justin Gaethje next.

  • Next fight: vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 274