Khabib ‘The Eagle’ NurmagomedovFerguson never had a boring fight; most of his matchups turned into high-octane bloodbaths, and the American was able to go on a 12-fight win streak where he dethroned some of the Lightweight Division’s biggest names, including Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Kevin Lee. The 5 Best UFC Lightweights of All Time Just as in boxing, kickboxing, and other combat sports, athletes in MMA are grouped into weight classes to make prospective matchups between athletes as fair as possible. Weight divisions mean that fighters will generally be matched up with other fighters that are close to them in size, so they won’t be at a major disadvantage due to the sheer physicality of their opponent.Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Dustin Poirier has become one of the most popular UFC Lightweights of all time. Fans love him for his aggressive fighting style and relatable persona; outside of the cage, Poirier comes across as a simple family man who loves to fight and works hard to provide for his loved ones. But the Brazilian’s perseverance eventually paid off; Oliveira went on a mammoth win streak that saw him besting some of the division’s most successful fighters, including Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Beneil Dariush. Background: The UFC’s Lightweight DivisionAs the world’s most popular MMA promotion, it’s no surprise that fighters in the UFC tend to be the most skilled and accomplished, compared to other organizations. Even still, athletes in some divisions tend to be of a higher calibre than others.While his style may be somewhat unorthodox and even look awkward at times, it works; Poirer has shown that he can hang with the best of the best in the Lightweight Division. He’s taken out Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor (twice), Max Holloway, Dan Hooker, and Eddie Alvarez. Despite never having won the Lightweight strap, Poirer easily has one of the strongest resumes the weight class has ever seen. While he was an active fighter, Nurmagomedov inspired fear in his opponents like nobody else. He was known for his style of grappling; totally dominant on the mats, the Dagestani was relentless, and was able to take down each and every one of his foes with ease. Tony ‘El Cucuy’ FergusonOnce he did, it was pretty much game over. Nurmagomedov could pin down and tie up the limbs of his opponents, making it just about impossible for them to stand up. From there, he would execute brutal ground and pound or lock in a submission. The man who put Dagestan on the MMA map, Khabib Nurmagomedov was a professional MMA fighter for 12 years, became UFC Lightweight Champion, and, most impressively of all, managed to retire undefeated after taking on some of the organization’s best athletes. Former UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira has proven time and time again that he’s one of the organization’s most elite athletes. Oliveira’s rise to MMA stardom came as a surprise to many, too; for years, he fought as a UFC Lightweight without seeing much success, losing almost as many fights as he won. Known as the man who truly put the Lightweight Division on the map, BJ Penn was an absolute force to be reckoned with for much of his career. Sadly, he’s gone on something of a slide in recent years, but at his prime, his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and striking were pretty much unmatched. Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira Understanding the UFC’s different weight divisions can feel a bit confusing at first. However, the more you know about them and their athletes, the better of a grasp you’ll have on the structure of the UFC more generally, as well as the most exciting matchups that can be made at a given time. Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier BJ ‘The Prodigy’ PennThe UFC’s Lightweight Division has for a long time been considered its deepest, most competitive weight class. Frankly, it’s not hard to see why; so many of the organization’s best-ever fighters have fought at lightweight for some, if not all, their careers, which has turned the division into a veritable murderer’s row. What’s more, lightweights generally can’t rely on the one-punch KO power that fighters in the heavier divisions, like light heavyweights and heavyweights, often possess. As smaller athletes, the most successful lightweights in the UFC have generally had to blend both strong striking and grappling to get ahead; no one-dimensional fighters here. Tony Ferguson is widely regarded as the best UFC Lightweight to never win the official title. Across the span of his career, El Cucuy became a fan favorite, thanks to his aggressive and unorthodox grappling and striking.