UFC 157 Results: Top 10 Light Heavyweights in the UFC
On Saturday night, former Pride champion Dan Henderson battled former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in a bout that would likely determine the next challenger to Jon Jones' UFC light heavyweight championship.
In the main event from Anaheim, Calif., Machida out-pointed Henderson on his way to winning a very close split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). With that victory, Henderson is no longer the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division, and Machida has asserted himself back into the conversation.
Let's take a look at where Henderson, Machida and the rest of the UFC light heavyweight division stand after the battle of two former champions at UFC 157.
10. Gegard Mousasi
MMA Record: 33-3-2
UFC Record: 0-0
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Mike Kyle at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine
He hasn't even made his debut for the promotion yet, but Gegard Mousasi is already bordering on the top 10 of the UFC light heavyweight division.
Mousasi has been one of the top 205-pound fighters in the world for quite some time, but things just haven't worked out with bringing him in to compete in the Octagon. But now that Strikeforce has closed its doors, we will finally have the opportunity to see what Mousasi can do in arguably the toughest division in the entire sport.
T10. Ryan Bader
MMA Record: 15-3
UFC Record: 7-3
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC on FOX 6
Once considered to be perhaps the top up-and-coming prospect in the entire sport, Ryan Bader has quickly become almost somewhat of a veteran of the Octagon.
After losing back-to-back fights against Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz, Bader has put his career back on track, winning three of his previous four fights, including a very impressive first-round submission victory over Vladimir Matyushenko in January.
9. Phil Davis
MMA Record: 10-1 (1)
UFC Record: 6-1 (1)
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Wagner Prado at UFC 153
As perhaps the best pure wrestler in the UFC 205-pound division, Phil Davis has been a top contender for quite some time. Davis is the only fighter with a victory over fellow top prospect Alexander Gustafsson and likely would be ranked higher on this list if it weren't for a string of injuries that have only allowed him to fight four times in the past 28 months.
Davis is expected to battle Vinny Magalhaes at UFC 159 in April in a fight that, unfortunately, will likely do little to move him up the rankings should he win.
8. Rashad Evans
MMA Record: 17-3-1
UFC Record: 12-3-1
Most Recent Fight: Lost to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156
We can make all the excuses we want and talk about how he has a win over Phil Davis, but the facts are that Rashad Evans has now gone 14 months without winning a fight and will not be back in the cage for at least another few months.
Not only that, but Evans' back-to-back losses to Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira have done little to inspire anyone to believe that he is still a serious contender at 205 pounds. Sure, he went the distance with both opponents, but never seemed to implement any serious offense in either fight. The lack of hustle that he showed in the Nogueira fight was excruciating to watch.
Because of his status as a former champion himself, Evans will likely be given another decently high-profile opponent in his next fight and could move himself back near the top five with a win, but another performance like he's had in his past two bouts could also knock him right out of the top 10, possibly never to return.
7. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
MMA Record: 21-7
UFC Record: 5-5
Most Recent Fight: Lost to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FOX 5
Considering that 30 percent of his UFC fights have been for the light heavyweight title, it's amazing to think that "Shogun" Rua has won just half of his fights for the organization and has not won back-to-back fights since 2009.
Nevertheless, Rua is the kind of fighter who cannot be counted out of any fight against any opponent, thus his solid No. 7 ranking in the UFC 205-pound division.
6. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
MMA Record: 21-5
UFC Record: 4-2
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Rashad Evans at UFC 156
After taking over a year off between fights, "Little Nog" took back his top-10 spot by upsetting former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at UFC 156. Although Nogueira was unable to finish Evans, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt actually out-struck his opponent on the feet, which has to send a message to the rest of the 205-pounders on the UFC roster.
If Nogueira can stay healthy in 2013, chances are good that he will be given every opportunity to earn himself a title fight in the coming months.
5. Dan Henderson
MMA Record: 29-9
UFC Record: 6-3
Most Recent Fight: Lost to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157
42-year-old Dan Henderson is MMA's version of a great wine—he only gets better with age.
Heading into UFC 157, Henderson was coming off of a Fight of the Year candidate in 2011 when he battled Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a true legend-vs.-legend contest back in 2011. The win was expected to earn Henderson a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, but a knee injury knocked "Hendo" out of his scheduled bout with Jon Jones at UFC 151.
Now healthy, Henderson had a chance to re-earn himself the No. 1 contender's spot back. However, he fell short against Lyoto Machida and has now fallen back into a tough spot where he may need one or even two dominant wins before he gets a title fight.
4 Glover Teixeira
MMA Record: 20-2
UFC Record: 3-0
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Quinton Jackson at UFC on FOX 6
The 205-pounder who no one in the UFC wants to fight right now has to be Glover Teixeira.
Currently on an 18-fight winning streak, Teixeira has been an absolute beast since joining the UFC roster in 2012, running up a flawless 3-0 record with three fights that he completely dominated. His most recent victory over Rampage Jackson could very well be the one that puts the legendary former UFC champ into retirement.
Up next for Teixeira is expected to be fellow top-10 light heavyweight Ryan Bader at UFC 160.
3. Alexander Gustafsson
MMA Record: 15-1
UFC Record: 7-1
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Shogun Rua at UFC on FOX 5
At 26 years old, Sweden-native Alexander Gustafsson may just be the biggest threat to fellow youngster Jon "Bones" Jones.
Gustafsson has now won six straight bouts, including wins over consensus top-20 opponents James Te-Huna, Thiago Silva, Matt Hamill and former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. He is already a top-level talent, and he's only getting better.
Gustafsson's next test will be against Gegard Mousasi at the next UFC on Fuel TV event on April 6.
2. Lyoto Machida
MMA Record: 19-3
UFC Record: 11-3
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Dan Henderson at UFC 157
"The Dragon" is back to top title contention after his close UFC 157 victory over Dan Henderson.
Machida earned a split decision over Henderson by a judges' score of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28; moving him up from the consensus No. 3 light heavyweight in the world to No. 2 overall.
Unfortunately for Machida and his fans, the performance wasn't his best, so it's hard to know whether or not he actually locked up a title fight with this win alone. With Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson and even possibly Gegard Mousasi nipping at his heels, Machida will be waiting anxiously to see what UFC matchmaker Joe Silva decides to do in the coming months.
1. Jon Jones
MMA Record: 17-1
UFC Record: 11-1
Most Recent Fight: Defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC 152
Now 17-1 in his career, Jon "Bones" Jones has proven himself to be a worthy champion, even if some of his critics don't appreciate the way he handles himself outside the cage.
Yes, Jones was challenged perhaps more against Vitor Belfort than in any fight thus far in his career, but it still ended the same way as almost all of the others—with Jones finishing his opponent in dramatic fashion. He has now knocked out or submitted his opponent in seven of his past eight fights.
When you look at Jones' record and the way that he has embarrassed some of his opponents, it's hard to imagine that anyone really stands a chance to dethrone him at this point, but this is MMA and anything can happen.