Today, the UFC Lightweight division is undeniably the most stacked in the UFC. It's a division full of absolute killers and has been that way for a long time. However, the newer crop of talent over the past few years have proven to be elite level and there's no division more stacked than the 155-pound one.
What makes the Lightweight division great is that you have a mix of power punchers and fast punchers too. It all depends on what you prefer, but there's likely no division with the same kind of output.
Even dating back to a few years ago, the Lightweight division was prestigious and has one of the most incredible lineage of champions ever. Whether it's Khabib Nurmagomedov establishing dominance, Conor McGregor becoming a double champion, legends like Anthony Pettis and Frankie Edgar back in their prime, the 155-pound belt has always been represented by the very best in the sport. With that said, let's look at the greatest Lightweight championship fights in UFC history.
#5 Anthony Pettis (c) vs Rafael Dos Anjos - UFC 185
Anthony Pettis defeated Benson Henderson for the second time in his career to secure the UFC Lightweight Championship. The first time, they went the distance, but the second time, being in Pettis' hometown of Milwaukee, he would submit Henderson in the first round.
His first title defence was against Gilbert Melendez, and he would submit him with ease by round 2 of their fight, making his first successful title defence. Fans and critics believed that Pettis was the future, and poised for a long run on the top as Lightweight King.
Rafael Dos Anjos, however, thought otherwise. He would face Pettis at UFC 185 and would dominate him for a good part of the fight, making for an incredible bout. He managed to secure a comfortable unanimous decision victory, dethroning Pettis to become the new Lightweight champion.
#4 Conor McGregor (c) vs Eddie Alvarez - UFC 205
UFC 205 may have been the most stacked card in history up to that point (217 undoubtedly topped it). 3 title fights and UFC's first-ever show in Madison Square Garden (and New York City, period).
The main event saw Featherweight champion Conor McGregor go to the Lightweight division to challenge Lightweight king Eddie Alvarez. The hype was real and McGregor would successfully become the first-ever double champion in UFC history.
What McGregor displayed was an absolute masterclass of a performance, flawlessly decimating Alvarez throughout. By round 2, he would finish Alvarez and secure the Lightweight title, something that he would never defend.
#3 Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs Conor McGregor
We all know the story behind this one. We've seen animosity between fighters for fights before, but this was truly another level. McGregor was his usual self, getting personal on all levels.
It was here that McGregor learnt that getting inside someone's head is a two-edged sword. Either they come charging at you and falter the way Jose Aldo did, or they make sure to absolutely decimate you on every level, the way Khabib did.
The fight was a dominant display for Khabib, who exposed McGregor's wrestling and took him down. McGregor actually did win one round (the first round Khabib ever lost in UFC), but even then, not much damage was done.
McGregor would fall victim to Khabib's dominance, and the Russian champion would submit McGregor in round 4, getting one over his arch-rival.
The post-fight incident is a whole other ordeal that requires another article in itself.
#2 Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard 2 - UFC 125
The first time Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fought, it was on Fight Night 13, and they were both undefeated up-and-comers. Maynard would triumph on the night, outwrestling Edgar to a decision victory.
The second time they fought, things were different. Edgar was the defending Lightweight Champion. The fight would be very different as well, as both fighters had their moments, nearly finishing the bout. It was an all-time classic, and it went the distance. It would be a draw. A rematch would take place ten months later.
#1 Frankie Edgar (c) vs Gray Maynard 3 - UFC 136
The conclusion of the trilogy saw an obvious rematch between Edgar and Maynard. This turned out to be an even bigger war than the first, which came as a surprise to many. However, this time, things wouldn't be left in the judges' hands.
Edgar finally got one over Maynard, knocking him out in the 4th round to retain the Lightweight Championship. The trilogy remains one of the all-time great ones in MMA history. It's sad that we never got a fourth fight, as Edgar and Maynard had a win and a draw apiece against one another.
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