Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Light Heavyweight

Nov 23, 2010
File Photo:

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Light Heavyweight

1. Mauricio Rua (19-4)
“Shogun” underwent another knee surgery, stemming from an injury suffered in his May 8 title capture against Lyoto Machida. Recovery and rehab have postponed his bout with former champion Rashad Evans. Their encounter now looks as if it might be greenlit for March, as Rua and Evans could headline the proposed UFC 128 bill in the United Arab Emirates.

2. Rashad Evans (15-1-1)
The wait continues for the toe-tapping Evans, who will remain on the sidelines until Mauricio “Shogun” Rua fully rehabilitates his knee and allows the two stars to contest the UFC light heavyweight crown. It now appears they will collide in March, possibly at the rumored UFC 128 event in the United Arab Emirates.

3 Quinton Jackson (31-8)
It was hardly a sterling performance, but Jackson showed more motivation and aggression in his Nov. 20 bout with Lyoto Machida than he did in his May defeat to Rashad Evans. The MMA populace seems split down the middle on who deserved the nod, but two judges had the match for Jackson, giving him a crucial split decision win.

4. Lyoto Machida (16-2)
For 16 bouts, Machida did not taste defeat and seemed unbeatable. Now, he has lost back-to-back bouts after dropping a highly contentious split decision to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 123. Though Machida and his management seemed to like the idea of a rematch, it is not a bout they will be afforded by UFC President Dana White in the immediate future.

5. Forrest Griffin (17-6)
With his second book penned and injuries healed, Griffin is due for his return to the Octagon. He will take on former middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 126 on Feb. 5 in what could be a highly entertaining affair at 205 pounds.

6. Ryan Bader (12-0)
It was not a thrilling victory, but at UFC 119 on Sept. 25, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner earned a unanimous decision over well-established veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the twin of his reality series coach. The win sets up Bader for a Feb. 5 showdown with fellow fast-riser Jon Jones at UFC 126.

7. Jon Jones (11-1)
The 23-year-old Jones seems destined for greatness. The next step in the evolution for “Bones” will be a major prospect-versus-prospect showdown come Super Bowl weekend. Jones expects to meet fellow blue chipper Ryan Bader at UFC 126 on Feb. 5.

8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-4)
Nogueira made a sterling UFC debut back in November 2009 but has been lackluster in two subsequent bouts against Jason Brilz and Ryan Bader. Next up for “Minotoro” will be former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in March, possibly at UFC 128 in the United Arab Emirates.

9. Rafael Cavalcante (10-2)
Cavalcante will defend his Strikeforce light heavyweight title for the first time in early 2011. He will get a look at his next contender on Dec. 4, when Dan Henderson and Renato "Babalu" Sobral square off in a de facto title eliminator. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has indicated the winner would be the first title challenger for “Feijao.”

10. Muhammed Lawal (7-1)
“King Mo” had his crown taken by Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante on Aug. 21 in Houston. A slow start and an overreliance on his stand-up skills saw Lawal play right into Cavalcante’s game. It got him stopped just 74 seconds into the third round, as he suffered the first loss of his MMA career.

Other contenders: Rich Franklin, Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, Gegard Mousasi, Thiago Silva.
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