Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Light Heavyweight

Oct 15, 2009
Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Lyoto Machida
Light Heavyweight

1. Lyoto Machida (15-0)
Fresh off his May 23 blowout of Rashad Evans, it appeared as though Machida would soon have to start preparing for a challenge from former light heavyweight ruler Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. However, with Jackson opting for a second coaching stint on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Machida’s first title defense will come Oct. 24 against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104.

2. Quinton Jackson (30-7)
While viewers continue to watch the shortcomings of Team Rampage on “The Ultimate Fighter 10,” Jackson remains hard at work away from the sport of MMA. He can be found on the set of Hollywood’s “The A-Team,” playing B.A. Baracus, much to the chagrin of the MMA world, which eagerly awaited his showdown with Rashad Evans.

3. Rashad Evans (13-1-1)
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 rolls on, but MMA’s hardcore contingent is now well aware Evans will not get his chance to square off with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson later this year. However, Evans will meet up with a standout light heavyweight when he takes on Thiago Silva at UFC 108 on Jan. 2.

4. Mauricio Rua (18-3)
Fortune has smiled upon Rua. After UFC 98, it looked as if “Shogun” was a fight or more away from challenging for the UFC title. Now, however, the consensus 2005 “Fighter of the Year” will have a chance to regain light heavyweight supremacy against divisional champion Lyoto Machida at UFC 104 in October.

5. Forrest Griffin (16-6)
Griffin’s April 2006 split decision loss to Tito Ortiz was his moment of validation in the light heavyweight division. Now, Griffin will have the chance to defeat the man over whom many feel he deserved the decision three and a half years ago, when he rematches Ortiz at UFC 106 on Nov. 21.

6. Thiago Silva (14-1)
To continue ascending in the light heavyweight division, Silva will have to topple another Greg Jackson-trained standout. Having already felled Keith Jardine, Silva will now meet former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 108.

7. Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1)
Having escaped the clutches of Dream’s inane Super Hulk competition, Mousasi will take on the man he was originally supposed to face in the tournament semi-final -- Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. The pair will meet on the main card of Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Rogers” on Nov. 7, though Mousasi’s Strikeforce crown will not be at stake.

8. Luis Arthur Cane (10-1)
Cane has emerged as one of the best young fighters in a division filled with great young talent. However, to move into title contention at 205 pounds, he will need to spoil the UFC debut of fellow Brazilian Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 106 on Nov. 21.

9. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3)
The other Nogueira twin will make his promotional debut at UFC 106 on Nov. 21, and it will not be easy. Nogueira’s welcome to the UFC will come courtesy of his Brazilian countryman, Luis Arthur Cane.

10. Rich Franklin (25-5)
On the cusp of becoming a light heavyweight contender, Franklin was victimized by a first-round knockout from Vitor Belfort in the UFC 103 headliner. Though Belfort will now move to 185 pounds to campaign, the loss leaves Franklin without a clear direction in the UFC’s 205-pound division.

Other contenders: Keith Jardine, Vladimir Matyushenko, Renato Sobral, Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell.
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