UFC 152 Results: Top 10 Light Heavyweights in the UFC

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

UFC 152 Results: Top 10 Light Heavyweights in the UFC

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    UFC 152 featured three high-profile bouts in the light-heavyweight division, which included the Octagon returns of Matt Hamill and Vinny Magalhaes, as well as an exciting championship battle between Jon Jones and surprise-challenger Vitor Belfort.

    Both Magalhaes and Hamill were successful in their comebacks, and Belfort nearly snapped Jon Jones' arm after locking in an armbar that tested the mental and physical toughness of the champion.

    Ultimately, Belfort would come up short after falling to an Americana in the opening minute of round four, but he proved himself to be worthy of the opportunity that many questioned.

    Here is a look at the Top 10 light heavyweights in the UFC after UFC 152.

10. Forrest Griffin

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    Last Fight: Unanimous Decision win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 148
    Next Fight: vs Chael Sonnen at UFC 155 

    Forrest Griffin may not be the best fighter in the world, but he has collected wins over some of the all-time greats in MMA, including Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, Rich Franklin and a pair of decisions against Tito Ortiz.

    Griffin will look to play spoiler to Chael Sonnen and his return to the light heavyweight division at UFC 155, when the two meet in a hotly anticipated main-card affair.

9. Chael Sonnen

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    Last Fight: TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148
    Next Fight:
    vs Forrest Griffin at UFC 155

    Chael P. Sonnen may not have gotten the title fight that he wanted with Jon Jones, but the UFC 151 debacle had fans talking about "The American Gangster" in a way that didn't make fun of his UFC 148 loss to Anderson Silva, and that's the kind of press he can use these days.

    Sonnen returns to the light heavyweight division at UFC 155 in a bout with Forrest Griffin. If he can pull off the upset, it will avenge a submission loss from his pre-UFC days, and thrust him deep into the heart of contention at 205 pounds.

8. Phil Davis

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    Last Fight: No Contest against Wagner Prado at UFC on Fox 4
    Next Fight: vs Wagner Prado at UFC on FX 5

    After a disappointing loss to Rashad Evans in January, Phil Davis was given a tune-up bout with unranked fighter Wagner Prado on the preliminary card of UFC on Fox 4. Unfortunately for Davis, the bout ended early after an eye poke left Prado unable to continue.

    Instead of picking up a win and getting back into contention, Davis will now rematch Prado next month, and has essentially lost any momentum gained from his last victory, an upset over PRIDE superstar Antonio Nogueira in March of 2011.

7. Alexander Gustafsson

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    Last Fight: Unanimous decision vs Thiago Silva at UFC on Fuel 3
    Next Fight:
    vs Shogun Rua at UFC on Fox 5

    With a division that had seemingly run out of title contenders for Jon Jones, many fans took a decision win over Thiago Silva as the opportunity to deem Alexander Gustafsson as the best man for the job. Although that talk is premature, the Swede will get the chance to take on a former champion in December, as he meets Shogun Rua in what could be a title eliminator.

    Can Gustafsson outstrike a man who has 18 knockouts and a world championship to his credit? 

6. Shogun Rua

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    Last Fight: TKO win over Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4
    Next Fight: vs Shogun Rua at UFC on Fox 5

    Shogun falls on our list this month. His underwhelming performance against Brandon Vera certainly didn't help his cause, but this is ultimately the product of Vitor Belfort's performance last night.

    The PRIDE star has been unable to win consecutive bouts since 2009, as losses to Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones and Dan Henderson have stunted his momentum at every turn.

    Rua will have the opportunity to shut down fast-rising prospect Alexander Gustafsson when they meet in December.

5. Vitor Belfort

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    Last Fight: Submission loss to Jon Jones at UFC 152
    Next Fight: TBD 

    Did you jump out of your chair last night when Vitor Belfort snatched up a nasty armbar on Jon Jones? 

    Belfort was recently looking for a rematch with middleweight champion Anderson Silva when he heard that there was a vacancy in the UFC 152 title fight with Jon Jones. Calling up Lorenzo Fertitta, the "Phenom" requested a chance to fill the spot.

    The champion was an 8:1 betting favorite when the lines closed last night. For that reason, Belfort has earned his spot in the top half of the division by nearly submitting the champion with a hold that was fully executed.

4. Rashad Evans

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    Last Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones at UFC 145
    Next Fight: TBD 

    Rashad Evans is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but currently fights in a division with a pair of title contenders who have his number. With losses to both Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida, the road to a third career title shot could be a long one.

    Five months after being dominated by Jones, "Suga" has yet to book a return fight. There was some speculation that he would drop to middleweight and challenge Anderson Silva; however, Evans isn't interested in going to 185 unless he gets an immediate shot at the belt.

3. Lyoto Machida

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    Last Fight: KO win over Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4
    Next Fight:
    TBD

    If you forgot why The Machida Era was such an impending force, the UFC on Fox 4 main card should have reminded you. With flawless movement and counter-attacks that left formerly-ranked fighter Ryan Bader unconscious on the mat, Machida earned a rematch with champion Jon Jones.

    Dana White didn't take kindly to Machida refusing a UFC 152 bout with Jones, so it appears that "The Dragon" needs to get one more win before cashing in his golden opportunity. A fight with Dan Henderson has been rumored before the year's end. 

2. Dan Henderson

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    Last Fight: Unanimous Decision win over Shogun Rua at UFC 139
    Next Fight: TBD 

    Dangerous Dan was scheduled to face Jon Jones at UFC 151. It was the fight that fans were anxious about as "Hendo" was widely considered to be the biggest threat to Jones and his light heavyweight championship.

    When Hendo dropped out of the bout due to a knee injury, there wasn't enough time to find a Jones-approved opponent, and the event was canceled.

    Instead of cashing in on his title opportunity, it now looks as if Henderson could meet Lyoto Machida upon his return.

1. Jon Jones

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    Last Fight: Submission win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 152
    Next Fight: TBD 

    Is there anything that Jon Jones can't do? After last night, I am convinced that the youngest champion in UFC history might just be unbeatable.

    Showing unflinching toughness, Jones refused to submit when trapped in a deep armbar from Vitor Belfort, and ultimately escaped the dangerous position.

    Through the four-round affair, the champion's chin was tested by the heavy power punches of the Phenom, yet he never appeared hurt at any point in time.

    Now that Jones has four title defenses to his credit, he is only one win away from tying the divisional record. Who will challenge him next?