All UFC Lightweight Champions: Ranked Worst to Best

All UFC Lightweight Champions: Ranked Worst to Best

the lightweight division is widely regarded as the most talent rich in all of mixed martial arts just take a look at the rankings champions former champions future champions stars and contenders 155 is crowded with some of the best fighters in the sport the UFC's lightweight title has passed through a rather impressive gauntlet of men each with their own unique place in the history books since we're all looking forward to her being our magomayev and Dustin Poirier battling at UFC 242 to unify the division we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the 10 men that held the UFC's undisputed 155 pound crown we're only ranking their reigns as champion not their whole careers and we're excluding interim championships I'm Tom from MMA on point and this is every UFC lightweight champion ranked worst to best number 10 Sean Sherk a lot of people tend to forget that Sean Sherk was once the UFC lightweight champion three years after the UFC dropped the title and division temporarily following BJ Penn and Carr Uno's unsatisfying draw the muscle shark defeated Kenny Florian in a fight of the night performance at UFC 64 to finally fill that vacancy he technically held the belt for over a year and managed to defeat Hermes FUNKER in a successful defense successful at least until it was revealed that his fight night urine tests showed anabolic steroids in his system ironically franca also popped hot to the UFC decided to strip shirk and unceremoniously end his title run he would return a little less than a year later to meet BJ Penn who assumed the role of champion after debacle but a crushing third round TKO in that fight would be the last time shirk would be anywhere near the title number nine Eddie Alvarez if this list was about overall career accomplishments Eddie Alvarez would be much much higher undoubtedly one of the greatest 155 pounders of all time the underground King won the title in almost every promotion he is for in and was one of the rare fighters to become a high-paid star before ever competing in the UFC but his time as the belt holder there was regrettably unremarkable that's mainly because it didn't last long at all one hundred and twenty-eight days is the shortest time anyone has spent as the promotions undisputed lightweight champion after a stunning TKO of half EO dos anos during international fight week in 2016 to catch the crown alvarez found himself the other half of the Conor McGregor show ahead of the UFC's debut in Madison Square Garden with such a juggernaut of celebrity on one hand and no other chances to solidify his championship on the other it's forgivable for some to gloss over the fact that Alvarez once held the top lightweight spot in the UFC with UFC 200 just two nights after the dos anos win and the biggest star in the sport movie upper division it was almost inevitable for alvarez to be overshadowed number 8 Conor McGregor I'm sure Conor McGregor's placement on this list will be the subject of plenty of angry comments either in favor or in protest but regardless of the fact McGregor never defended the title his impact as champion was incredible and can't be ignored at the same time the fact that he didn't defend the belt or even get a win since snatching the title from Eddie Alvarez can't be ignored either but that championship win is outlined by Daniel Cormier on his new ESPN series could be the most memorable shutout performance and no one can claim it as a fluke as some have for the Aldo win he would go on to continue to bring new fans and attention to MMA as his celebrity went far beyond far beyond the confines of the fight game he even went far enough to entice undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather jr. to come out for retirement for one of the biggest events ever seen in combat sports he actually was able to bring the UFC belt into the boxing ring and considering where the UFC came from that one hell of a change but of course his absence from the Octagon complicated the title picture and his out of cage antics did little to make the best of the extra spotlight and when he returned after being stripped for inactivity he did eventually lose the right to any lineal claim of the top spot number 7 Jen's Pulver often forgotten by fans just because of the sheer amount of time elapsed since his reign during the dark ages of MMA and the fact that he's yet to be included in the UFC Hall of Fame Jen's Pulver had a grossly grossly underrated stint as lightweight champion for starters he was the very first person at 155 pounds to ever wear the belt his win over car owner not only introduced the title the little evil managed to defend his title twice once by defeating Dennis Hallman and the second by getting his hand raised over an up-and-coming BJ Penn who was fresh off his 11 second knockout of uno in their first fight another thing that makes Pulver's reign interesting is that he never lost the championship in the UFC in contract disputes soon after the pen fight prompted the UFC to strip him of the title and pover fought in other organizations from there and he earned two straight wins before hitting rough times in his career while he challenged for two belts afterwards including in the WEC father's career peeps with the UFC title number six have been no magamaev we would rank Habib higher on this list but at the time of this recording he still only has one title defense to his name if he does what he's done to every other opponent against Dustin Poirier and continues to do the same against any of the top contenders like Tony Ferguson or just engag it would be hard to deny the Eagles something closer to the number one spot but the circumstances in which no Magomedov got the undisputed belt wrapped around his waist is a multi-layered tale of freak injuries wakeup failures whilst being in the shadow of the far-reaching McGregor brand when he finally got to face his rival and lineal division champion Namanga Madoff dominated him with relative ease however once again the shadow of celebrity geopolitics and post fight mayhem loomed over what was a masterful performance however that tide could be changing as the Eagle has the potential to solidify himself even further among the great lightweight look no further than the literal world tour after his win at UFC 229 which has the potential to be another linchpin of growth for him in the sport that is of course as long as he doesn't crowd surf on any unsuspecting corner men again number 5 Anthony Pettis as a UFC champion Pettis was equal parts thrilling and frustrating he had the privilege of winning the belt in his hometown of Milwaukee by defeating old WEC opponent Ben Henderson by first-round are his high-flying style and good looks only rivaled by MMA on points Anthony Walker helps make Pettis a name outside of the sports typical bubble also Walker don't think you're getting away with that Pettis famously became the first mixed martial artist to grace a Wheaties box and six months before Reebok became the exclusive outfitter for UFC events the blue-chip brand tat Pettis as a sponsored athlete his only successful defense was a thrilling submission win over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez but as is the story would Pettis injuries and delays with the bulk of his reign a cancelled out with Josh Thompson followed by time on the Shelf to film The Ultimate Fighter opposite Melendez really kept Pettis from maximizing the perks of kingship number four Xavier dos anos considering how he started his UFC career it's amazing that happier dos anos became a championship caliber fighter starting off on a to fight losing streak including a memorable knockout at the hands of Jeremy Stevens dos anos rebounded to become one of the more imposing forces in the lightweight division a time when Anthony Pettis was being held as a potential all-time great fighter and the key to more mainstream popularity for the sport to sanyaas rudely spoiled the party with one of the more dominant title changing victories in history superior strength a relentless pace pressure and very well-rounded skill set secured his victory and set up what would prove to become the blueprint to defeat Showtime dos Anjos followed that up with a first round stoppage against a surging fan favorite in Donald Cerrone but a foot injury with the most unfortunate timing quote is what could have been the crowning achievement in his title reign as he had to pull out of welcoming McGregor to the lightweight division in the original incarnation of UFC 196 instead his second title defense would be against Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 where he would be finished in under four minutes number three Benson Henderson it'll be interesting to see how Benson Henderson will be remembered during his time as a UFC lightweight champion he was able to dethrone Frankie Edgar in a close decision at UFC 144 there was worthy of a fight of the Night bonus and he managed to retain the belt in three defenses against Nate Diaz Gilbert Melendez and Anna media rematch with Frankie Edgar was getting his hand raised though Henderson's wins had an air of doubt attached to them much like a lot of his overall career razor-thin decision victories played the public's perception of his accomplishments with the exception of the Diaz fight a strong argument can be made for both Edgar and Melendez winning in their fight however each of them were highly entertaining and displayed the full arsenal necessary for a modern mixed martial arts athlete whether you completely agree with the judges is one thing but defending the belt three separate times is an amazing feat in such a stat division number two Frankie Edgar when he was scheduled to fight BJ Penn for the lightweight title it was easy to overlook him Edgar's win over a tough but unheralded UFC newcomer in Matt Veach seemed like an odd choice for a title eliminator and when he did actually get the win over Penn at UFC 112 many strongly disagreed with the judges scorecards it was not until Egger completely outclassed Penn that the UFC 118 to retain the belt that he was accepted as the true lightweight champion he went on to have two more defenses both against gray Maynard in many of those fights Edgar showed true heart and determination finding his way out of the most dire of circumstances by squeezing out a draw in their fight of the year bout at UFC 125 and shockingly earning a knockout of the night after a nearly identical scare at UFC 136 another thing that makes the answer such a great 155-pound champion is that he was so under sized in that weight class instead relying on speed and relentless cardio to defeat his bigger foes and number one BJ Penn it's hard not to consider BJ Penn the greatest lightweight champion in the history of the UFC as Penn moved up and down the scale throughout his career including an almost impossible to believe open weight fight against eventual light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida it's clear that his stint as the best 155 pounder in the world is where he was at his best his destruction of Joe Stevenson for the vacant belt berth one of the great iconic moments as The Prodigy licked blood off his gloves in celebration he went on to officially unify the belt with a devastating TKO victory over displaced champ Sean Sherk and perennial contender Kenny Florian and tough one winner Diego Sanchez didn't fare much better as they never made it to the final bell either he did take a brief pause in an unsuccessful bid to regain welterweight gold as well but that loss didn't make him any less of a dominant champion in his true division pen as champion also solidified the idea that lighter weight classes could sell as champion he consistently reached some serious pay-per-view by rates as lightweight champion he was able to draw in an estimated nine hundred and twenty thousand buyers at UFC 94 and 850,000 for UFC 101 his reign as champion and career as a whole hit a downturn that unfortunately still going on today but he was the greatest king the UFC's lightweight division has ever known thanks so much the high-flying style and good looks of Anthony Walker for writing this video you can follow him at UM Walker MMA and thanks so much to the major maple leaf MJ Moore for editing it you can follow him at Tom MJ Moore on Twitter thanks for watching that video please do like and subscribe we upload three jaw-droppingly juicy MMA videos a week to get your teeth into and let us know your thoughts in the comments make sure to follow us at OnPoint MMA and Tom a ransom on Twitter and you make sure you have a great day


  1. Conor Mcgregor was both the worst lightweight and featherweight champ. Never defended a single title. Disgrace to the divisions actually.

  2. Thanks for this video! i feel like its perfect timimg for this, so the noobs can be reminded not disrespect one of the Greatest to step foot on the octagon…..

  3. Conor is definitely a worse champion than Eddie. at least he tried to defend and didn’t hold up the division for a year plus.

  4. Strongly disagree with bj penn being first. He's is one of my favourite fighters, I'm not hating. But he was to inactive for me in the early days he wasn't interested really. Could you imagine if he have it his all!

  5. I agree with this list 100%. Penn will forever be considered the greatest LW ever in my opinion. Peoples Champ!

  6. This has to be the biggest joke of a list ever you have Frankie and benson ranked above Khabib wtf is going on here bj penn is about to be 16-16 I guess 27-0 means nothing even though he smashed everyone

  7. 27-0 dominated every one else dominated Conor easily Khabib is the greatest lightweight of all time

  8. What about SAKURABA? He was lightweight champion and was underweight when he earned it … First guy to tap a BJJ blackbelt when he won that.

  9. Only reason Penn beat Diego Sanchez is because sanchez hadn’t quite perfected his anal probe move yet. Now that he’s been drilling that move he’s unstoppable.

  10. Khabib fans coming with their 27-0 bullshit. Yet to realise he’s only defended the belt once and won it from Al Iaquinta.

    CoNoR DiDnT dEfEnD tHe BeLt

  11. khabib 🦅 🔥

    2:55 khabibs best friend writing bad things about Connor 😂 (the bear he fought when he was 9)

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