Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Khabib: Ranking lightweight fighters after UFC 257


The lightweight division was in full focus at UFC 257 as the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi played host to a pair of crucial bouts at 155-pounds.

When the evening was done, Dustin Poirier had sensationally stopped Conor McGregor in the main event, while new recruit Michael Chandler made a huge statement by blasting out Dan Hooker inside a round.

With such significant action having taken place, now seems the ideal opportunity to rank some of the UFC lightweight division’s biggest names according to the tier in which they now find themselves. 

Of course, this is all opinion, so if you disagree, that’s fine. Let’s take a look at where we rank the current lightweights right now.

The Best of the Best: Khabib Nurmagomedov

There is only one place to start this list and that is with the reigning UFC lightweight champion. Khabib might still be sticking to his retirement pledge, but Dana White remains keen to change his mind!

In any case, until he is officially stripped of the gold, Khabib has to remain top of this particular tree. Having compiled an unbeaten record of 29-0, Khabib is undoubtedly the greatest lightweight in the history of the sport. Should he eventually decide to return to competition, it is hard to imagine anyone coming close to him at this time.


Title Contender: Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje

According to Dana White, the two men set to face off for the UFC lightweight championship should Khabib officially vacate the belt will be Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, and, let’s face it, it is hard to argue with this line of thinking after what went down at UFC 257.

Poirier recorded a career-defining victory over the biggest star in the sport in McGregor on Saturday night. There can be no denying that he deserves an opportunity to fight for championship gold once again. 

Having waited well over a decade to make it to the UFC, former Bellator champion Chandler wasted no time in introducing himself on the big stage against Hooker. His right to a crack at the belt is also a very strong one.

However, should either man not be ready to face off for a vacant championship, then Justin Gaethje would seem the most likely to get a call from the UFC to step in. Never in a bad fight, Gaethje had been on a tear in the division before losing to Khabib last October.


Good Fighter: Charles Oliveira, Tony Ferguson, Dan Hooker

Given that he defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 last month, Charles Oliveira could easily have made it into the tier above. However, if they were to face off again, there is every chance that ‘El Cucuy’ might reverse that loss. Therefore, both have been ranked in the Good Fighter tier. 

They are joined on this level by New Zealand’s Dan Hooker. Despite his setback this weekend at the hands of Chandler, ‘The Hangman’ possesses the skills to give anyone in the division a tough night’s work. 

On The Way Out: Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos and Paul Felder

Declaring McGregor as being past his best might seem harsh, but following his stoppage defeat to Poirier, the Irishman has now lost two bouts in a row at lightweight. In fact, his only UFC win in the division came more than four years ago.

McGregor certainly has the potential to resurrect his career. Whether, though, that will happen in this packed, talent-rich division remains to be seen.


McGregor is accompanied on this tier by a pair of UFC veterans. Rafael dos Anjos and Paul Felder have both provided much entertainment over the years, but it seems a stretch that they will ever compete for top honours again.

Felder, in particular, has plenty to keep him occupied outside of the Octagon. ‘The Irish Dragon’ has rapidly developed into a fantastic announcer for the UFC.

Not Good Enough: Al Iaquinta and Donald Cerrone

Both Al Iaquinta and Donald Cerrone have had great runs in the UFC. The pair met in a lightweight bout back in May 2019, with Cerrone picking up the victory. Neither man, though, has shown anything in recent times to suggest that they will pose a challenge to the fighters elsewhere in this list.


While they have not been formally ranked here, the likes of Islam Makhachev, Diego Ferreira, Kevin Lee, Drew Dober, Beneil Dariush and Gregor Gillespie also ply their trade in the packed UFC lightweight division.

Below is how UFC ranked the lightweight division before UFC 257, with Khabib the champion.


A win or two over some of the more notable names in the weight class could well see any of these men make their way into the mix. The UFC lightweight division is hotter than it has ever been. 

Of course, these rankings are a matter of personal opinion. Think one of your favourite fighters has been harshly treated? Let us know your thoughts.

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