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UFC lightweight rankings: Justin Gaethje maintains top-5 spot after UFC 286 win

ufc lightweight rankings
RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Islam Makhachev24-1W-W-W
#2Charles Oliveira33-9L-W-W
#3Dustin Poirier29-7W-L-W
#4Justin Gaethje24-4W-L-W
#5Beniel Dariush22-4-1W-W-W
#6Michael Chandler23-8L-W-L
#7Rafael Fiziev12-2L-W-W
#8 Mateusz Gamrot22-2W-L-W
#9Jalin Turner13-6L-W-W
#10Renato Moicano17-5W-L-W

The UFC lightweight rankings are a showcase of some of the very best talents in MMA. The division has long been the deepest and most talent-rich in the promotion and often several of its top competitors can also be found in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.

With that in mind, here are the official Sportsnaut rankings for the top 10 155-pound fighters in the best cage fighting promotion in all the land.

10. Renato Moicano (17-5)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Renato “Moicano” Carneiro is one of the more intriguing fighters in the 155-pound division. He may never get a championship opportunity, but he is a dangerous and high-level litmus test for the top 10 of the weight class. If you can beat the Brazilian, you are a very good fighter because that is the only kind that seems to score wins on him. On Nov. 12 at UFC 281, Brad Riddell failed that test in spectacular fashion.

In April he faces a formerly ranked talent in Arman Tsarukyan in a matchup that may lack mainstream appeal but is a very dangerous matchup for the Brazilian.

  • Next fight: vs. Arman Tsarukyan on April 29

Related: UFC tonight: Fight card, betting odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC event

9. Jalin Turner (13-5)

ufc lightweight rankings
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Jalin Turner is one of the hottest fighters in the lightweight division and has been an absolute force over the last two years. Five straight wins, five straight finishes, three by submission. At just 27, and with an uncanny size and reach for the weight class, Turner is a serious threat in the weight class and is deserving of a named foe in his next fight.

Turner took a big risk at UFC 285 by taking on fellow ranked talent Mateusz Gamrot on short notice, and the gamble did not pay off. While the bout was highly competitive, his five-fight win streak was ended by the Polish star. Nevertheless, he maintains his spot since it was a split-decision defeat to high-level talent.

  • Next fight: TBD

8. Mateusz Gamrot (21-2)

Former KSW two-division champion Mateusz Gamrot has proven he is a top-10 level fighter in winning his first four Octagon appearances and his most recent in the main event of UFC Vegas 57 against Tsarukyan. In his biggest fight yet he came up short against Beniel Dariush at UFC 280. It was a big setback for Gamrot when he had a chance to leap several steps up the UFC lightweight rankings with a win.

In March he took a gamble by jumping in on short notice against a red-hot ranked right in Jalin Turner. He proved his elite skill by earning a hard-fought win. However, with it being a split decision and near-loss, he does not move up in the UFC lightweight rankings.

  • Next fight: TBD

7. Rafael Fiziev (12-2)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

At UFC Vegas 58, Rafael Fiziev stamped his place as one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. He did something Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kamaru Usman could not do in finishing Rafael dos Anjos, and he did so in the fifth frame. Proving his striking gifts are dangerous even into the championship rounds.

At UFC 286 he faced his biggest test yet in former interim champion Justin Gaethje. While “Atman” came up short, the bout was extremely close and many in MMA media did give him the nod after three hard-fought rounds. While it was a setback, his strong performance in defeat keeps him at his previous spot in our UFC lightweight rankings.

  • Next fight: TBD

Related: UFC predictions for the promotion’s card on Saturday night

6. Michael Chandler (23-8)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Chandler has been worth every penny the UFC used to bring him in from Bellator. Each bout he has been in has delivered in every way with action and highlight-reel moments. His showdown with Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 was the latest edition in his run of fight-of-the-year scraps. While he certainly pushed the former interim champ to the limit, “Iron” came up short in another big fight.

Despite the defeat, Chandler was rewarded with the fight he has been pushing to get for years: a scrap against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. The matchup is set to take place later this year after the pair faceoff as coaches on season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

5. Beniel Dariush (22-4-1)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a longer-than-expected break as he recovered from a serious injury and failed bookings, Beneil Dariush scored another impressive win at UFC 280. He extended his win streak to eight and did so with a decisive victory over a very game and ranked talent in Mateusz Gamrot.

The win will now get him the biggest fight of his career when he faces former division king Charles Oliveira at UFC 288 in May. A ninth straight victory, and a triumph over one of the best fighters on the planet, should guarantee Dariush faces the champion next.

  • Next fight: vs. Charles Oliveira at UFC 288 on May 6

4. Justin Gaethje (24-4)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Gaethje got a second chance at UFC lineal gold at UFC 274. Despite being the underdog on fight night, he was still a popular betting favorite. However, his night ended similar to his championship opportunity against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2020: He tapped to a submission. He is still an elite fighter at lightweight, but he will need to win a few fights before he gets a third chance at the division title.

That road back to the title began at UFC 286 in a highly anticipated clash with Rafael Fiziev. While Gaethje did get the win, it was hotly contested and could have gone either way. It’s why he stays pat at four in the latest UFC lightweight rankings.

3. Dustin Poirier (29-7)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Poirier is one of the very best lightweight fighters that has ever lived. However, with two title fight losses under his belt — both submission defeats — it seemed like his days of cutting weight to make 155 pounds could be over and he might move up to 170 pounds. However, he ended a nearly year-long hiatus at UFC 281 and returned to the lightweight division with a vengeance in scoring a third-round submission win over Michael Chandler.

With one more big victory, “Diamond” could be in line for another lightweight title shot in 2023.

  • Next fight: TBD

2. Charles Oliveira (32-9)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into UFC 280, there was a debate around Charles Oliveira’s place in UFC lightweight history and if he was the new GOAT. However, he showed how hard it is to maintain the top spot when he suffered a submission loss to the new king of the weight class Islam Makhachev. The loss was so decisive that an immediate rematch was never in the cards for “Do Bronx.”

In his May return fight, he will battle the fifth-ranked right in our UFC lightweight rankings, Beniel Dariush. A win for the former champion would certainly put him in the running for a rematch with Makhachev later in the year.

1. Islam Makhachev (23-1)

ufc lightweight rankings
Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Many doubted how good Islam Makhachev truly was, and there were some doubters of if he deserved a lightweight title opportunity against Charles Oliveira. However, he proved he truly is the heir apparent to lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 280 when he submitted Oliveira. The man with the most submissions in UFC history.

If there were any doubters of his talent, they were quieted again at UFC 284 when he showed he is far more than a dominant wrestler as he held his own on the feet against pound-for-pound superstar Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. He was able to outpoint and outwork the best in the world, and successfully defend his title and spot at the top of the UFC lightweight rankings.