photo courtesy Zuffa/Hedges
Light Heavyweight (186lbs. – 205lbs.)
1 Mauricio Rua
“Shogun” removed any doubt about who truly won their October ‘09 fight by knocking Machida out at UFC 113 in May.
2 Lyoto Machida
The former undefeated champion finally met his match, but can anyone other than Shogun beat him?
3 Rashad Evans
Though he earned a title shot by defeating Jackson, he’ll have to wait: Shogun will be out until March ‘11 with a knee injury.
4 Quinton Jackson
Though he showed his fight-stopping potential against Evans, one wonders how much his time away from MMA affected him in that fight.
5 Muhammed Lawal
Came in as a +180 dog against Mousasi, left with the Strikeforce title. “King Mo” will defend his title against Rafael Cavalcante on August 21st.
6 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Did he simply underestimate Brilz, or was a weakness exposed? A rumored bout against Jackson should allow him to let his hands fly at will.
7 Forrest Griffin
The former champ finds himself in the bottom half due to inactivity resulting from a shoulder injury.
8 Rich Franklin
28-5-0 (1 NC) UFC
Though he was always in Liddell’s shadow during his prime, Franklin effectively ended “The Iceman’s” career.
9 Gegard Mousasi
Having lost his Strikeforce title to Lawal, he’ll head back to DREAM and likely run through their light heavyweight tournament.
10 Jon Jones
Even in his “loss” to Hamill, Jones has looked like a world beater every time out. Will he be the one to bring stability to the top of the division?
11 Randy Couture
After a successful two-fight trip down, Couture will go back up to heavyweight to fight former boxing champ James Toney at UFC 118 on August 28th.
12 Thiago Silva
His loss to Evans was another example of the importance of cardio in a fight.
On the brink: Ryan Bader (UFC, 11-0-0), Renato Sobral (Strikeforce, 36-8-0), Matt Hamill (UFC, 9-2-0)