Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Light Heavyweight

Aug 10, 2007

1. Mauricio Rua (Pictures) (16-2-0)
Considered the next generation Chute Boxe fighter, Rua broke out in 2005 to put together a Fighter of the Year effort in capturing the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix crown. A blend of high-paced striking and frenetic mat work, "Shogun" holds wins over three fighters on this list, including current UFC heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson (Pictures). Rua makes his UFC debut versus Forrest Griffin (Pictures) in Anaheim, Calif. on Sept. 22.

2. Quinton Jackson (Pictures) (27-6-0)
"Rampage" appears to have worked past the troubles that haunted him after a tough series of fights in PRIDE, the last of which saw him go down to defeat to "Shogun" Rua. The exciting and flamboyant light heavyweight put himself on the map by blasting out Chuck Liddell (Pictures) in less than two minutes to capture the UFC belt, and can become the first man to hold UFC and PRIDE belts at the same time should he defeat Dan Henderson (Pictures) Sept. 8 in London.

3. Dan Henderson (Pictures) (22-5-0)
Undersized for the division, Dan Henderson (Pictures) is not a known name amongst many casual MMA fans. A scrappy former Olympic wrestler who's worked hard to integrate a dangerous striking game, punctuated by one of the best right hands in the sport, Henderson has continually defied the odds against heavier opposition. He'll get his shot again on Sept. 8 in London when he puts his PRIDE belt up for grabs against UFC champion Quinton Jackson (Pictures).

4. Chuck Liddell (Pictures) (20-4-0)
Liddell saw his stretch as the baddest light heavyweight in the UFC come to an end when Quinton Jackson (Pictures) won early in the first round of their May bout. A heavy, accurate puncher, Liddell returns to the octagon on Sept. 22 against Keith Jardine (Pictures). According to the UFC, two wins for Liddell and he'd find himself right in line for a shot back at the belt he captured by knocking out Randy Couture (Pictures). If that happens, he could easily climb to the top of the list if he regains the UFC belt.

5. Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) (31-7-1, 1 NC)
The Brazilian mauler enjoyed one of the best stretches of any fighter in the history of MMA from 2000 through 2004, including two brutal stoppages over current UFC champion Quinton Jackson (Pictures). Known for an aggressive fighting style and a penchant for KOs, Silva reigned as the 205-pound PRIDE champion until February of this year, when Dan Henderson (Pictures) dominated the fight in Las Vegas to win by knockout. Silva will likely make his UFC debut sometime before the end of the year.

6. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Pictures) (4-1-0)
Africa's top mixed martial artist exploded upon the world stage in 2007 with early knockouts of Top 10 light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) and Ricardo Arona (Pictures). The accomplished judoka has relied on his hands, but he's also paid the price for slugging it out, suffering a stoppage loss to Chuck Liddell (Pictures) training partner Glover Teixeira (Pictures) last October. Sokoudjou verbally agreed to a deal with ProElite, but has since backed out and appears likely headed to K-1 HERO'S, with his proposed debut coming Sept .17.

7. Ricardo Arona (Pictures) (13-5-0)
A dominant grappler, Arona amassed an impressive record with just two defeats (Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) in 2000 and Quinton Jackson (Pictures) in 2004) before becoming the first light heavyweight in five years to defeat Wanderlei Silva (Pictures). However, three losses (Silva, Shogun and Sokoudjou) have come in his last four fights, with the only win a stoppage over Alistair Overeem (Pictures). Arona is a tough match-up for anyone in the division.

8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) (12-3-0)
"Minotoro" has just three fights in three years, and is 1-2 during that span, but a record that features wins against the likes of Guy Mezger (Pictures), Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pictures), Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures), Alistair Overeem (Pictures) and Dan Henderson (Pictures) means Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures)'s twin brother is pretty good. His loss in the PRIDE 205-pound Grand Prix to Mauricio Rua (Pictures) was perhaps the fight of the year. In February, Sokoudjou stunned Nogueira to win by KO. Little Nog has since concentrated on boxing, where he took third in his divisions at the just-completed Pan American Games in Rio.

9. Rashad Evans (Pictures) (10-0-1)
Evans had an opportunity to solidify his status as a top contender in the UFC when he faced Tito Ortiz (Pictures) in July. The resulting draw (Evans would have lost if not for a point deduction on Ortiz for grabbing the cage fencing) showed that Evans has what it takes to compete at the sport's highest levels, but he lacks the experience and overall game to take that next step. A rumored rematch between Evans and Ortiz seems in line for the Oct. UFC in Cincinnati.

10. Jason Lambert (Pictures) (23-6-0)
Four wins in five UFC fights, including a win over Renato Sobral (Pictures) in his last outing, puts Lambert in the Top 10. Lambert's move down to 205 from heavyweight has paid off extremely well for the Californian, who uses a pressure attack to work people over in the clinch and on the ground. Lambert fights American Top Team's Wilson Gouveia (Pictures) on Sept. 22 at UFC 76.
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