LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (186 lbs. – 205 lbs.)
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-4 / UFC Light Heavyweight Champion)
- Lyoto Machida (16-1 / UFC)
- Rashad Evans (15-1-1 / UFC)
- Jon Jones (10-1-0 / UFC)
- “King” Mo Lawal (7-0 / Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion)
- Thiago Silva (14-2 / UFC)
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-3 / UFC)
- Randy Couture (18-10 / UFC)
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (30-8 / UFC)
- Forrest Griffin (17-6 / UFC)
There hasn’t been any real movement since Mauricio “Shogun” Rua‘s epic dismantling of Lyoto Machida last May. Recovery from a recent knee surgery will keep Rua out until March, which leaves the entire division in limbo (see my post from last week on the matter).
The next major Light Heavyweight fight this Summer will be Jon Jones facing off against Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko on the second UFC on Versus card. It’s a fight that unfortunately won’t move Jones any further up the rung, either in these inconsequential rankings or in the UFC.
Same with “King” Mo Lawal, who after disposing of Gegard Mousasi has virtually no competition in Strikeforce. Case in poitn: his first defense is scheduled to be against Rafael Cavalcante on August 21st. They were going to put Renato “Babalu” Sobral against him, but then Babalu refused because Mo trains at his gym. Where’s Maurilo “Ninja” Rua when you need him?
It seems like only yesterday Forrest Griffin was overachieving and winning championships, and now he hangs onto the top ten with his fingers perilously slipping off the ledge one by one. Before it was losses against top-flight competition, but then he had trouble with an aging and nearly crippled Tito Ortiz and a nagging shoulder injury that once again took him out of an important fight (against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira). Griffin needs a win in his next fight desperately to stay in consideration for contention.
Speaking of the man they call “Little Nog,” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira moves down a few spots due to a disappointing fight against Justin Brilz that he probably should have lost. However, he only falls so far on my list, since he was facing an opponent on such short notice that he couldn’t effectively scout and prepare for him.