"Inside MMA" poll results:
Such is the case with all five of its weight classes, the UFC has a stronghold on the world's top lightweight fighters, though its grip isn't as firm as it with, say, the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions.
So when "Inside MMA" and MMAjunkie.com teamed up for our latest poll question -- Who is the best non-UFC lightweight fighter? -- we had a solid cast of seven internationally known fighters from which readers could choose.
During the most recent edition of "Inside MMA," which airs each Friday on HDNet, the results were revealed. And two 155-pounders rose above the rest. One is a familiar favorite; the other has experienced a breakout year in 2008.
When all the votes were tallied, it was a near-deadheat for the top spot. Former PRIDE champion and current World Victory Road star Takanori Gomi led the way with 34.0% percent of the vote, but former EliteXC contender (and potential UFC target) Eddie Alvarez was right on his heels with 33.5% of the vote.
In fact, just 26 votes separated the two fighters.
Coming in third place was 2008 DREAM lightweight grand prix runner-up and Shooto champion Shinya Aoki (11.0%), Strikeforce world lightweight champ Josh Thomson (9.5%), DREAM lightweight grand prix winner Joachim Hansen (6.0%), former Strikeforce title-holder Glibert Melendez (5.0%) and previous Shooto champion Tatsuya Kawajiri (1.0%).
Don't forget to vote in this week's poll, available on the MMAjunkie.com homepage: "Which of the following areas is going to play the biggest factor in the UFC 91 main event of Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar?"
The results will be revealed on next week's edition of "Inside MMA."