Best of the MMA Light Heavyweight Division

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Best of the MMA Light Heavyweight Division
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Light-Heavyweight division in Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most action-packed you can find. Over the past decade there have been quite a few names that have made fans appreciate the sport of MMA

These fighters still fight today (except one), but they have slipped from being at the top of their game.

Here are three fighters who have made the light heavyweight division one of the best around.

 

Chuck Liddell

What sort of an article would this be if Chuck Liddell didn’t make it in?

Liddell has been a poster boy for the UFC since the early days. In all his years of fighting, he has attained a record of 24-6, with three of those losses coming within the last two years.

Throughout his career Liddell defeated top fighters such as Vitor Belfort, Babalu, Couture (twice), Tito Ortiz, and Wanderlei Silva.

Liddell was the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion for just over two years after taking the title from Couture at UFC 52 in 2005. Liddell defended the title four times before losing it to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 71 in 2007.

The next fight for Liddell is this weekend against Shogun Rua. Both men will be looking to get their light heavyweight careers in the UFC back on track.

 

Wanderlei Silva

The Axe Murderer was, at one point in his career, one of the greatest light heavyweight fighters around.

Silva held the PRIDE FC Middleweight Championship (Middleweight was 205lbs in PRIDE) for six years, though only defending the belt only five times within that period though.

Wanderlei also has a Middleweight GP win to his name, coming during his reign as champion in 2003. Silva beat Kazushi Sakuraba in the opening round, Hidehiko Yoshida in the semi-finals, and scored one of his two KOs over Quinton Jackson in the finale to take home the PRIDE GP crown.

Aside from defeating Rampage twice in PRIDE, Silva also handed Dan Henderson his first loss in the ring in 2000. Henderson later went on to put an end to Silva’s PRIDE title reign.

Wanderlei Silva has achieved a lot in his time fighting and has provided fans around the world with entertainment over the last decade.

Silva’s next fight will be at UFC 99 where he will be starting on his move down to middleweight with a catch-weight bout against Rich “Ace” Franklin.

Silva will be looking for a fresh start after suffering a huge KO loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 92.

 

Bas Rutten

Bas is the only fighter in this whole list who has retired from fighting.

Bas fought most of his career at light heavyweight in Japanese MMA organization Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. 

During his time at Pancrase, Rutten achieved a fighting record of 25-4-1. Three of those losses were at the hands of the Shamrock brothersRutten lost once to Frank and twice to Ken.

Less than a year after losing to Frank Shamrock, the two met in a tournament bout where Bas won via decision.

It wasn’t done thereFrank Shamrock and Bas Rutten would meet again later in their careers at Pancrase-Truth 5. Rutten would win the bout due to a cut on Shamrock.

Rutten officially ended his fighting career in 2006 with a record of 28-4-1, which meant a streak of 22 fights without loss.

Recently, Bas Rutten was the coach of Kimbo Slice, which obviously didn’t go down too well for him. Bas now co-hosts Inside MMA on HDNet.

These are the fighters that have made MMA a great thing for the light heavyweights. Got some of your own? Then leave me a comment.

 

Article also appears on MMA-Live

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