What Does the Future Hold for the UFC's Light Heavyweight Division?

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 21:  Jon Jones (L) kicks Rashad Evans during their light heavyweight title bout for UFC 145 at Philips Arena on April 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The UFC's light heavyweight division is not all that easy to figure out these days. Jon Jones is at the top of the division, but beyond that, it's anyone's guess who stands where.

On Saturday, we will find out the next challenger to the light heavyweight title, which will be either Lyoto Machida, Ryan Bader, Brandon Vera or Mauricio Rua (per MMAFighting.com).

After them, though, who could there be?

Dana White has said that Alexander Gustafsson is ready for "a big fight" (via MMAJunkie.com), and with one more win, he could have a legitimate claim at a title shot.

Gustafsson is 14-1 and has 12 finishes. He has submitted three opponents and (T)KO'd nine of them. Most recently, he won a unanimous decision over Thiago Silva.

After him, another fighter who is close to a shot is a relative newcomer to the UFC, Glover Teixeira.

Teixeira debuted at UFC 146, where he rocked, then submitted, Kyle Kingsbury in just under two minutes into the first round.

Overall, Teixeira is 18-2 in his career with 16 finishes. He has (T)KO'd 11 opponents and submitted five.

In addition to Kingsbury, he has defeated several big-name fighters such as Ricco Rodriguez, Marvin Eastman and Sokoudjou.

He is now going to face Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 153, and with an impressive win against Rampage, he could also have a claim to a shot at the title.

The light heavyweight division still has at least three more fresh faces for Jones to take on before he can move to heavyweight having cleared out the light heavyweight division.

Dan Henderson, who Jones is scheduled to fight at UFC 151 on September 1, Gustafsson and Teixeira are all dangerous fighters, and all three will almost certainly be fighting for the title at some point in the next 12 months.

Tim McTiernan is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. For the latest news on everything MMA, follow him on Twitter @TimMcTiernan.