Kurt Kinser – 7-0-0 - American – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 15-13, Last Fought: Apr ‘12
24 year old Kurt Kinser is the only fighter to retain their number 1 spot from the 2012 list. He is a wrestling stud who was state champion for Indiana and has fought in the NCAA’s. In 2008 he won the Michigan State Open to be named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week; and in his freshman year he ranked top 5 in the country for falls and was just 1 pin shy of the school record. He also has the impressive record of reaching the NCAA’s in each of his 4 collegiate years. On top of his impressive wrestling career, Kinser has also boxed since high school. Since becoming a professional MMA fighter, he’s racked of 6 wins with 5 stoppages, over some very impressive competition. In just his 4th fight he TKO’d UFC vet Shamar Bailey (11-2). Other wins include Daniel Head (5-1), David Overfield (6-1) and Jay Buck (13-10).
Gilbert Burns – 4-0-0 - Brazilian – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-5, Last Fought: Aug ‘12
Gilbert Burns may be a familiar name to jiu-jitsu fans, as he is a jiu-jitsu World Champion and is ranked one of the best BJJ fighters in the world at 155 pounds. In 2011, Burns won the World Championships (after getting silver in 2009) by defeating Kron Gracie in the final. In addition to this, Burns is also the 2010 World No-Gi Champion and a 2010 World Cup winner. He may also be known to some as he was the head grappling coach for Team Belfort on the first series of TUF Brazil. Nicknamed ‘Durinho’, he has unsurprisingly finished all 4 of his fights in the very first round, including 3 submission wins and a TKO win. He is one of Vitor Belfort’s main training partners, and his best win came in June over Vinicius Bohrer (7-2).
Lukasz Sajewski – 9-0-0 - Polish – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-3, Last Fought: May ‘12
Back in 2010, a 20 year old Sajewski was arguably the top European prospect out there. However, a series of crippling knee injuries have majorly slowed his progress. Luckily for him he is just 22 years old, and in May made his return from a hellish 2 year injury layoff by winning a dominant decision over Saulius Bucius (7-6). In the last fight before his injury problems began, Sajewski impressively handed current Bellator tournament finalist Marcin Held (8-0) his first loss in a close decision. Of his 9 wins, Sajewski has finished 6 of them (4 submissions & 2 TKO’s).
Rafael Nunes – 9-0-0 - Brazilian – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 18-9, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
24 year old Brazilian Rafael Nunes has an impressive 9 wins, the 3rd most on the lightweight list. After starting his career in 2010 with a unanimous decision victory, he has since finished each of his last 8 fights, all inside the first 2 rounds. He is a jiu-jitsu black belt, and has 4 submission victories as well as 4 TKO wins. He has fought the majority of his career for the Brazilian Max Fight promotion, and he’s their current lightweight Champion. He has been beating solid competition recently, including Ude Lima (16-13), Jose De Melo (12-9) and Fabio Defendenti (6-1).
Justin Gaethje – 7-0-0 - American – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-8, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
Number 5 ranked Gaethje put himself on the map in October when he knocked out UFC veteran Drew Fickett (42-18) in just 12 seconds. Before turning professional, Gaethje was an amateur star, finishing his amateur career with a 7-0 record which included 6 finishes. Since turning professional, he has won all 7 fights, including 6 finishes – 5 TKO's and 1 Submission. The 24 year old is a big lightweight and has previously fought at 170 pounds, and trains at a great camp at Grudge Training Centre, where he trains alongside fighters such as Shane Carwin, Brendan Schaub & Duane Ludwig. He recently signed with the WSOF promotion and is scheduled to face Strikeforce veteran JZ Calvancante (17-6) in March.
Zach Freeman – 7-0-0 - American – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 14-8, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
28 year old Freeman has won 5 of his 7 of his MMA fights in the first round. He also held a 5-0 record as an amateur, so is undefeated as a MMA athlete. Since winning his first fight by TKO, then won 4 by submission and has gone to the judges’ scorecards in his most recent 2 fights. The 28 year old fights for the Rumble Times promotion, and has fought 3 times in each of the last 2 years. Nicknamed ‘The Altar Boy’, he gained an excellent win over Aaron Derrow (12-3) in July, and followed it up with an equally impressive win over Robert Washington (15-6) in his most recent fight.
Sean Peters – 5-0-0 - American – 18 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-4, Last Fought: Dec ‘12
Peters is one of the youngest fighters on this year's 205 man list, and the 18 year old made his amateur debut at just 14 years old where he beat a 26 year old opponent. ‘Cubby’ is a jiu-jitsu brown belt – an incredible fete for an 18 year old, and he has a host of competition wins, including getting 1st place at the grapplers’ quest in the advanced division. He finished his amateur career when he turned 18 – finishing with a solid 12-4 record. Since turning professional, the jiu-jitsu fighter has won his first 5 fights, which include 4 first round stoppages. He has fought his most recent 2 fights in Brazil, and gained the best win of his career in December when he beat Dimitry Zebrovskiy (8-3).
Tony Martin – 5-0-0 - American – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-10, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
23 year old American Tony Martin put his name on the lightweight map this January when he beat UFC veteran and The Ultimate Fighter runner-up Phillipe Nover (7-4). Before this win in September, he gained another good win when he submitted veteran Jonathan Knutson (10-5). Before the Nover fight Martin has submitted each of his first 4 opponents using a different submission move to end each fight. He has been active since making his debut last year fighting each fight during a 13 month period.
Chris Wade – 5-0-0 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 4-3, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
25 year old Chris Wade has an excellent wrestling background, and his accomplishments included being a NCAA Division 3 all-American, a New York State champion, and a NJCAA finalist. He is extremely well rounded, and also holds an unbeaten amateur kickboxing record and is also unbeaten on the submission wrestling & jiu-jitsu circuit, including winning in 2 separate divisions in 2012 without dropping a single point. He has made a perfect 5-0 start to his professional career, fighting exclusively for the Ring of Combat promotion. He is not a finisher having gone to the scorecards in 4 of his 5 fights, and his best win was this January over Mike Medrano (10-9).
Bagama Nikabagamaev – 11-0-0 - Russian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 15-2, Last Fought: Apr ‘12
27 year old Nikabagamaev is the lightweight champion of the Russian FEFoMP promotion, and has the 2nd most wins on the lightweight list with 11. He is a small lightweight at 5’7”, but has not let that stop him as he has finished 9 of his 11 fights – all by 1st round submission. The jiu-jitsu specialist loves going for choke, and 8 of his 9 submission wins have been by either rear naked choke or guillotine choke. Overall, he has not been fighting very experienced opponents, although he does hold a 2011 win over then-unbeaten Evgeniy Zlivko (5-0).
Costa Ioannu – 6-0-0 – South African – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 19-8, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
Ioannu fights out of South Africa and is of Greek descent. He has finished 4 of his 6 fights, with each finish coming by Submission. This is perhaps surprising considering his main background is in striking - he has learnt karate, kung-fu and boxing since a young age. The 27 year old has fought and beaten some of the top lightweights in South Africa, including William Bentley (4-1), Wentzel Nel (5-2) & Speechly (5-3). He is the EFCA lightweight champion, and in his most recent fight in November he submitted Leon Mynhardt (9-5) in the first round.
Islam Makhachev – 7-0-0 - Ukrainian – 21 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-4, Last Fought: Sep ‘12
Makhachev is the only fighter from Ukraine on this list, and he’s also one of the youngest fighters on this list at 21 years old. He is a sambo specialist, and is a combat sambo Champion in Russia. Makhachev is one of the main training partners of UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov. The 21 year old has fought for a variety of Russian organisations, including M1 and Pro FC. He made his MMA debut as a 19 year old, and he gained his best win late in 2011 when he submitted the previously unbeaten Migel Gregoryan (5-0).
Alexandre Pimentel – 12-0-0 - Brazilian – 34 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 24-17, Last Fought: Sep ‘12
Experienced Brazilian Pimentel started his MMA career over 5 years ago, and has gone a perfect 12-0 since. In 2008 & 2009 he won 9 straight fights, and after a 2 year hiatus he returned in 2011 and has since won 3 more fights in the first round. He has finished 8 of his 12 wins, with 6 coming by way of submission. Pimentel is a jiu-jitsu black belt, and he is the 2009 CBJJE World Champion, the 2006 Champion in the Black Belt Division, and the 2005 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu National Team Champion. In his most recent 2 fights ‘Pulga’ has taken out Udi Lima (15-11) and Felipe Alves (11-9) in the first round. Pimentel was recently signed by the WSOF promotion and will fight Rick Glenn (12-2) in March.
Martin Delaney – 6-0-0 - English – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-2, Last Fought: Feb ‘12
As an amateur 32 year old grappler Martin Delaney was 6-0, and he has made the same start to his professional career. The Englishman brings an interesting judo style to the cage, and is a judo black belt. The grappler has finished 4 of his 6 fights, with 2 wins by Submission and 2 by TKO. In his most recent fight this February, he won the On Top Lightweight title and ended the 7 fight winning streak of the experienced Mamour Fall (10-6), by winning a tough split decision.
Geraldo Ferro – 5-0-0 - Brazilian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-8, Last Fought: Jul ‘12
Brazilian fighter Gustavo Ferro has fought most of his career for the Shooto Brazil organisation, and in July he won the Shooto Brazil lightweight title with an impressive 1st round TKO of Felipe Oliveiri (11-3). The Brazilian fought just once last year after having 4 fights in 2011, and he has gone to a decision in 3 of his 5 fights. Other career wins include Cesar Dias (7-7), Alan Araujo (6-11) and Danilo Noronha (3-7).
Vitali Krat – 6-0-0 - Russian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 15-10, Last Fought: Dec ‘12
Vitali Krat is a Russian fighter that actually fights in Japan. He made his MMA debut in 2011, and has fought every fight for the Rings organisation, including 4 fights in 2012. He is a knockout machine and has knocked out each of his first 6 opponents. In just his 3rd fight he put the other Japanese lightweights on notice when needed less than 3 minutes to stop Hisato Izawa (7-2) with a punch to the body. He also holds a win over the experienced Chris Bridgewater (5-11) in his most recent fight.
Benny Madrid – 6-0-0 - American – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 14-6, Last Fought: Sep ‘12
American fighter Benny Madrid is the current WFF lightweight champion, and is one of the head trainers at the Fight Ready gym in Arizona. Madrid won his WFF title in 2010, and has won 3 straight fights in 2012 since returning from a 18-month injury layoff. A brown belt in jiu-jitsu, Madrid is extremely well rounded and has finished 5 of his 6 fights (3 TKO’s & 2 submissions). He holds a couple of impressive stoppage victories over Zack Surdyka (5-0) and Sammy Ciurdar (6-1).
Thomas Gifford – 5-0-0 - American – 20 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-6, Last Fought: Jun ‘12
At 20 years old, Gifford is the second youngest fighter on this lightweight list. The young American is a tall lightweight at 6’1”, and as an amateur he ended with an impressive 9-2 record, finishing all his fights and ending his amateur career on an 8 fight winning streak. He made his professional debut in 2011 as an 18 year old, and has beaten all 5 of his opponents so far with ease, submitting each of them in the first round. He has fought solid competition too considering his age and inexperience – among his wins include James King (15-11), Jeremiah Wood (6-1) & Jimmy Van Horn (4-2).
Allan Patrick – 7-0-0 - Brazilian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-5, Last Fought: Oct ‘12
Brazilian fighter on the lightweight list, Patrick is an extremely well rounded fighter, and comes from a jiu-jitsu and capoeira background. The jiu-jitsu black belt fought 6 times between 2008 and 2010, and recently returned in October last year after a 2 year hiatus with an emphatic head kick knockout. He has finished 4 of his 7 wins, and his wins include Andre Batata (4-2) and Alan Ferreira (3-6).
Carlos Diego Ferreira – 5-0-0 - American – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-2, Last Fought: Dec ‘12
Ferreira comes from a Brazilian background, but he represents America. The Texan fighter is a jiu-jitsu specialist, and regularly competes in both gi and no-gi tournaments. After starting out his MMA career in 2011 with a hard fought split decision win, he has since won 4 straight fights via submission. Ferreira fights for the UWF promotion, and in just his 3rd fight he submitted Hector Munoz (8-3) in the very first round.
Jake Lindsey – 5-0-0 - American – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-7, Last Fought: Jul ‘12
26 year old Jake Lindsey was an amateur star before turning pro, finishing his amateur career with a perfect 7-0 record, with all wins coming via stoppage. He made his professional debut in 2010, and has since won all 5 fights, finishing 3 of them inside the distance. He recently signed for the Titan FC promotion, where he beat Jordan Johnson (6-2) in his debut for them in June. The American trains out of Combative Sports Centre - an up and coming gym in America, and is nicknamed ‘The Librarian’ because he works in a library.
Franck Guillot – 7-0-1 - French – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-5, Last Fought: Jun ‘12
Frenchman Franck Guillot rises 2 places from the 2012 list, where he placed 24. The only Frenchman on the lightweight list, Guillot is unbeaten in his first 8 fights and has finished all but one of his 7 wins. He fights for the French promotion 100% Fight, and has recently finished some solid fighters – in April he knocked out Christophe Chapuis (7-6) in 30 seconds; and most recently in June he ended the 6 fight win streak of Chabane Chaibeddra (6-2) with a 3rd round submission.
Jimmy Davidson – 5-0-0 - American – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-9, Last Fought: Jul ‘12
The man who goes by the nickname ‘Jimbo Slice’ has made an impressive start to his MMA career, and is unbeaten as both a professional and amateur. He made his amateur debut as a 20 year old in 2009, and racked up a 4-0 record. He turned professional in 2010, and has gone 5-0 with 5 finishes. He destroyed each of his first 4 opponents in the very first round, and in June last year he won the Cage Titans lightweight title with a 5th round submission of Aniss Alhajjajy (5-3). He trains at Team Sityodong, and also holds wins over Barrington Douse (8-11) and Joe DeChaves (4-3).
Rajinder Singh Meena – 6-0-0 - Indian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-2, Last Fought: Dec ‘12
Rajinder Meena is the only Indian fighter out of all 205 fighters on the 2013 list, and he is one of the best wushu (a style similar to kung fu) fighters in India – he is a 6 time national gold medallist. He has finished all 6 of his fights, and considering his striking background it is perhaps surprising that he has 4 submission wins compared to 2 KO wins. After knocking out his first 2 opponents, he has since won each of his last 4 fights to a guillotine choke. He fights for the Indian SFL promotion, and in December he became their first lightweight champion by beating Sandeep Yadav (5-1).
Tyler Hellenbrand – 6-0-0 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-4, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
Hellenbrand is another who put together a solid amateur record before turning professional – he ended his amateur career with a 5-1 record which included 4 finishes. Since turning professional in 2011, he has put together a perfect 5-0 record. He is a big lightweight having previously fought at 170 pounds, and trains out of the up and coming Chosen Few gym. Half of his 6 fights have gone to a decision, and his best wins are over the experienced Bobby Ferrier (6-9) and the previously unbeaten Jimmy Kim (3-0).
Cameron Ramberg – 7-0-0 - American – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-6, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
American fighter Ramberg is a former West Fargo wrestler, and has transferred this talent well into the cage so far, winning all 6 fights. He has finished 4 of these in the first round, all due to punches, and he gained his best win this January when he won a unanimous decision over Doug Jenkins (6-3) to win the Dakota FC lightweight title. He is a small lightweight at 5’7” and a move down to featherweight is an option for the future.
Rander Junio – 5-0-0 - Brazilian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-6, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
Brazilian fighter Rander Junio trains out of Constrictor Team – one of the top camps in Brazil which also houses many UFC fighters such as Paulo Thiago, Rani Yahya & Francisco Trinaldo. Nicknamed ‘Randin’, he fought 3 times in 2011 and won each fight by submission. Last year he fought 2 times, winning 2 decisions. Most recently he fought for the Shooto Brazil promotion, and among his career wins includes Douglas Dias (4-1) and Valcenir Nicanor (4-1).
Frankie Perez – 5-0-0 - American – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 4-2, Last Fought: Jan ‘12
23 year old American Perez had an extensive amateur career before turning professional, finishing with a 7-2 record which included being the champion of 2 promotions. As a professional he has fought every fight for the Ring of Combat promotion, where he has won all 5 fights and finished 4 of them inside the distance, 3 of which came by submission. He has fought relatively inexperienced opponents, but in his most recent fight this January he beat Alfred Walker (3-2).
Jonathan Svensson – 4-0-0 - Swedish – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-1, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
Swedish fighter Svensson is primarily a stand up fighter, and before turning to MMA he had numerous amateur boxing and Muay Thai fights. The 23 year old fights for the Swedish The Zone promotion, and has also fought in Denmark and Germany. As you would expect he has finished 3 of his 4 fights by TKO, with the other a split decision win. He got his best win in May last year when he stopped the previously unbeaten Kristoffer Kallgren (4-0) in less than 2 minutes.
Chakir Haj Haddou – 7-0-0 - German – 18 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-0, Last Fought: Nov ‘12
At 18 years old, Haddou is one of the youngest fighters on the entire 205 man list. Since making his debut in 2010 as a 16 year old, he has rattled off 7 straight wins. Of these, 6 have been finishes (3 TKO’s & 3 submissions), with 5 of these coming in the very first round. The German youngster has however faced poor competition so far, and he is yet to fight anyone who has had more than 1 fight. Chakir has a brother – Soufian Haj Haddou - that is also an MMA fighter, who has a 5-2 record.