UFC Lightweight rankings: Gregor Gillespie moves into the top-10

ufc lightweight rankings
Jun 1, 2018; Utica, NY, USA; Gregor Gillespie (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Vinc Pichel (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Adirondack Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-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 MixedMartialArts.com top-10 UFC rankings for the lightweight division.

UFC Lightweight rankings

10. 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. A matchup with another ranked foe should be in his future.

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

9. Tony Ferguson (25-6)

The only saving grace keeping Tony Ferguson in our top-10 is that his three straight losses are to some of the best 155-pounders on the roster, and the fighters on the rankings bubble still don’t have the resume he does. That said, the 37-year-old needs a win in his next fight or he is on the first flight out of our rankings.

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

8. Conor McGregor (22-6)

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, with his recent losses to the best lightweight ever and twice to the current top contender, McGregor has only fallen out of elite status, not from the upper-echelon.

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

7. Dan Hooker (21-10)

ufc lightweight rankings
Jan 22, 2021; Abu Dhabi, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES; Dan Hooker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 22, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Dan “The Hangman” Hooker seemed one big win away from jumping to the front of the contender line entering 2020. Then he lost two straight to Poirier and Michael Chandler and fell out of contention hard. At UFC 266, the New Zealander ended his skid with a strong showing against Nasrat Haqparast. He will now take that confidence-building performance into UFC 267 to face off with the hottest fight in the division in Islam Makhachev.

  • Next fight: vs. Islam Makhachev at UFC 267

6. Islam Makhachev (20-1)

The only real knock on the 29-year-old Islam Makhachev is the lack of marque victims on his hit list. And it’s a decent contention, but not enough to have him be lower than sixth on our rankings. Eight straight wins and a 9-1 record in a premier division are deserving of an elite ranking. Especially, because the Dagestani native, and pupil of Khabib Nurmagomedov, rarely loses rounds anymore.

  • Next fight: vs. Dan Hooker at UFC 267

5. Beniel Dariush (21-4)

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.

  • Next fight: Waiting for next booking

4. Michael Chandler (22-6)

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. Now, he will get to prove himself once again in the fall against a new rival and division boogie man in Justin Gaethje.

  • Next fight: vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 268

3. Justin Gaethje (22-3)

Despite being out of action since his UFC 254 loss to former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, Justin Gaethje’s spot as a top-three lightweight is still very secure. He has five knockout wins in the Octagon, against strong competition, and his only losses are to three former champions. In November, Gaethje will have a contender eliminator fight against Chandler, with the winner likely being the next in line for Poirier or Oliveira.

  • Next fight: vs. Michael Chandler at UFC 268

2. Dustin Poirier (28-6)

Although he doesn’t currently have the division’s championship, former interim-titleholder Dustin Poirier is the one competitor that his almost viewed as uncrowned champion. His destructive victories over elite talent in Justin Gaethje, Max Hollaway, Hooker, and Conor McGregor twice has turned him into a superstar. Especially after choosing to go for the big bucks against McGregor instead of a title fight in his last Octagon outing. In Dec. he will get to stake his claim as the best 155-pound fighter on earth in a title clash with new champion Charles Oliveira.

  • Next fight: vs. Charles Oliveira at UFC 269

1. Champion: Charles Oliveira (31-8)

ufc lightweight rankings
May 15, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Charles Oliveira reacts following his championship TKO victory against Michael Chandler during UFC 262 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Oliveira is not only the hottest fighter at 155-pounds, but he is one of the hottest fighters on the entire UFC roster. His current nine-fight win streak has been outstanding. In getting finishes in all of those victories sans one, and beating Michael Chandler for the vacant 155-pound title bout in May at UFC 262, he is the undisputed top lightweight on our list.

  • Next fight: vs. Dustin Poirer at UFC 269
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