Breaking Down the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Champion: Forrest Griffin

The Top Contender: Rashad Evans

The Next Tier:

·         Wanderlei Silva

·         Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

·         Lyoto Machida

·         Thiago Silva

·         Rich Franklin

·         Dan Henderson

·         Keith Jardine

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

·         Chuck Liddell

·         Luis Arthur Cane

·         Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

On the Rise: 

·         Luis Arthur Cane

 

Other Notables:

·         Brandon Vera

·         Mat Hamill

·         Stephan Bonnar

·         Jon Jones

·         Tim Boetsch

·         Steve Cantwell

·         Brian Stann

·         James Irvin

·         Eric Schafer

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)

·         Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28

·         Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January

·         Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17

·         Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine

·         Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

 

Other Thoughts:

·         There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95

·         There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.  The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well. 

·         We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil. 

·         The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.

·         The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.  There are only a few fighters worth a  dime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)

·         I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.  Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.

·         It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009

 

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MMABlog’s Light Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Here are my 205’ers.  The UFC clearly has the deepest and best pool of 205 lb fighters.  I only see a couple of non-UFC fighters being top 25 material. 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Forrest Griffin

UFC

Evans (#6), 12/27

2

Quinton Jackson

UFC

W. Silva (#4) 12/27

3

Lyoto Machida

UFC

T. Silva (#10) 1/31

4

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Jackson (#2) 12/27

5

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Coleman (NR), 1/17

6

Rashad Evans

UFC

Griffin (#1), 12/27

7

Dan Henderson

UFC

Franklin (#12), 1/17

8

Keith Jardine

UFC

 

9

Chuck Liddell

UFC

 

10

Thiago Silva

UFC

Machida (#3), 1/31

11

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Affliction

Moisa (NR), 11/3

12

Rich Franklin

UFC

Henderson (#7), 1/17

13

Brandon Vera

UFC

 

14

Vladimir Matyushenko

Affliction

 

15

Luiz Cane

UFC

 

16

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

 

17

Ricardo Arona

 

 

18

Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Affliction

Southworth (NR), 11/21

19

Matt Hamill

UFC

Andy (NR), 12/27

20

Tito Ortiz

 

 

21

Rafael Feijao

EliteXC?

 

22

Steve Cantwell

UFC

Al-Hussan (NR), 12/10

23

Stephan Bonnar

UFC

Jones (NR), 1/31

24

James Irvin

UFC

 

25

Brian Stann

UFC

 

Also considered: Jon Jones, Tim Boetsch, Bobby Southworth, Mark Coleman (Didn’t include him because he hasn’t fought again.  He probably is top 25 material)

UFC News: Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones at UFC 94

It looks like Stephan Bonnar is set to return to action at UFC 94 according to MMABay I do not know how reliable the source is, so I will just say that the fight is possible.  Bonnar is coming off of an injury that has kept him out of the fight game for a year, but he is expected to be back and the mentioned opponent is talented newcomer Jon Jones who looked impressive in his debut against a top prospect in Andre Gusmao.  UFC 94 will take place Super Bowl weekend, January 31st and will feature a highly anticpated main event of B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre.

UFC News: Wanderlei Silva to Return in December

According to MMA Junkie, Wanderlei Silva has been told by UFC officials to prepare for a December return.  It appears he will be on the December 27 card which will feature a heavyweight title match between Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as well as a possible match between B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre.  This is what Wandy had to say:

“I’m talking with (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta), they’re talking about December because it is the best event of the year. (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira is going to fight (Frank) Mir for the belt for the heavyweights. This is the best event. It’s much more promotion. They told me to be ready to fight in December. They gave me 10 (possible) names. My division is the best division in the world. They have so many names. I think they’re going to give a good opponent to me. I wanted to fight [Jackson] again and I think it’s a very good match. For me, I have time to fight for the belt in the future, no problem, I’m going to wait for my opportunity. I’m going to give my best on every fight. After I win my fights, I’m going to have an opportunity to fight for the belt. For me, no problem, I’ll fight with everybody.”

So, the question is who will he fight in December.  Process of elimination may help.  We would figure he would get a top 10-15 opponent seeing as how he just beat a top guy in Jardine.

  • Lyoto Machida is booked for a fight with Thiago Silva
  • Rameau Theirry Sokoudjou is booked for a fight with Luis Cane
  • Brandon Vera is booked for a fight with Keith Jardine
  • Chuck Liddell is booked for a fight with Rashad Evans
  • Shogun should return in December, but Wanderlei won’t fight him
  • Dan Henderson is booked for a fight at UFC 88
  • Rich Franklin is booked to fight Matt Hamill at UFC 88

That leaves Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson, Stephan Bonnar and Goran Reljic

  • I wouldn’t object to Wanderlei getting the title shot, but it isn’t likely yet.  They train together also, but I am sure they would fight if the price is right, but I doubt they can push aside Machida for Silva.
  • Stephan Bonnar may be a good option as he should return by that date, but I don’t know if he is the calibur that Silva wants to fight.  He wants someone to get him into contention
  • Goran Reljic os good and also possible, but not likely because he isn’t ranked high enough
  • Quinton Jackson has to be the most likely but seeing as how he has all sorts of legal problems, I don’t know if it will happen.
  • The other option is a quick turn around for someone fighting in Semptember like Chuck Liddell, Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin or Matt Hamill, or even Andre Gusmao.  Any of those would be interesting and UFC 88 may dictate Silva’s opponent. 
  • The final option is some new to the UFC guy.  A new signing could be possible, but it is unlikely it would be someone that could jump right in and be cosndiered Silva level.  Someone like Vladimir Matyushenko is possible, but not likely.

 

Jackson vs. Griffin Press Conference

Some clips from Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin from the UFC 86 press conference. There are some good moments in this, including Jackson saying he thought Stephan Bonnar should have gotten the decision victory over Forrest Griffin at the Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale. Good watch…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jackson vs. Griffin Press Conference“, posted with vodpod

 

The UFC Light Heavyweight Possibilities

With rumors of Anderson Silva moving up to an already stacked light heavyweight divison this is what the divison could look like.  Anderson is not the only rumored guy to move to the divison. Not likely that this pans out like this, but it is possible.

1. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

2. Anderson Silva

3. Chuck Liddell

4. Lyoto Machida

5. Wanderlei Silva

6. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

7. Brandon Vera

8. Dan Henderson

9. Rich Franklin

10. Forrest Griffin

11. Thiago Silva

12. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

13. Keith Jardine

14. Rashad Evans

15. Matt Hamill

16. James Irvin

17. Goran Reljic

18. Wilson Gouveia

19. Stephan Bonnar

20. Andre Gusmao

21. Luis Arthur Cane

22. Jason Lambert

23. Houston Alexander

Talk about stacked full of contenders!

Who Will They Fight Next? (Part 1)

To me the most interesting match ups come at the light heavyweight divison.  There are really 10 to 12 serious contenders in this divison.  I will attempt to make match ups which I feel could happen.  These match ups are based on fighters popularity, desire of the fans to see the particular fight, the logic of the fight, the potential story line behind the fight, and the potential fight after.  Obviously the goal with the light heavyweight divison is to clear up the mess and make a clear top 5 with a clear number 1 contender.  The way I see it there are 12 guys in the hunt for the belt: Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Lyoto Machida, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Matt Hamill, and possibly newcomer Goran Reljic.  Here is how I would match these guys up (assuming Jackson beats Griffin)…

Thiago Silva vs. Rashad Evans

Keith Jardine vs. Forrest Griffin

Matt Hamill vs. Stephan Bonnar

Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell

Quinton Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida

Goran Reljic vs. James Irvin

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Shogun

  • The winners of these fights move up the rankings and the losers slide
  • The winner of the Wanderlei vs. Chuck II match would get the title shot and be the clear # 1 contender
  • I gave Machida the title shot although Jackson may want and very well get his re-match with Wanderlei Silva next. 
  • Most likely of these fights to happen: Forrest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine and Sokoudjou vs. Shogun
  • I expect at some point we will see Wanderlei vs. Chuck II, and you cannot keep Machida from a title shot for long.  He may need one more win though. 
  • I believe right now there are three guys that could see the title shot next and it will depend on the Jackson Griffin fight, they are Machida, Wanderlei, and Chuck Liddell.  Chuck won’t get Jackson next. 
  • Closely behind them though are contenders Thiago Silva and Shogun.