5 Fighters Poised to Make a Run in the UFC's Light Heavyweight Division

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

5 Fighters Poised to Make a Run in the UFC's Light Heavyweight Division

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    The light heavyweight division is currently ruled by the iron fist that is Jon Jones. Since taking the title from Mauricio Rua, Jones has looked almost immortal in the cage.

    The light heavyweight division is stacked with talent, though most of the fighters are older in age. It is still one of the most popular divisions in the UFC, boasting names like Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva.

    Here are five fighters poised to make a run in the light heavyweight division, excluding Alexander Gustafsson, who is the top contender for Jon Jones' title.

Lyoto Machida

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    A former champion and top contender to Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida is still one of the best in the world at 205. His unorthodox karate style and odd movement make him a puzzle for most people.

    Jones has already figured out that puzzle, leaving "The Dragon" in an unconscious heap from a guillotine choke. That does not mean Machida shouldn't get another crack.

    Right now, the Brazilian is slated to fight Phil Davis at UFC 163. A win over the American wrestler will likely snag him a rematch, assuming Jones can defeat Gustafsson. 

Glover Teixeira

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    High-level jiu-jitsu, power striking and rapid momentum—three things Glover Teixeira has on his side against any man he faces in the 205-pound division of the UFC.

    Teixeira went from highly-coveted commodity to UFC beast in a very short time, showing off his complete mixed martial arts game and overall talent. Whether it was trashing Kyle Kingsbury in his debut or outclassing James Te Huna in his most recent outing, Teixeira has been making an unbelievable run in the UFC and will continue to do so.

    He will main event his first UFC card opposite Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox Sports 1 in Brazil. A win could easily earn him a shot at Jones, especially since he is undefeated with the organization.  

Thiago Silva

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    Assuming Thiago Silva doesn't fail any more drug tests, he is bound to march back up the 205-pound ladder. His thumping of Rafael Cavalcante is proof of that.

    Silva is a beast on the ground and has proven that he has some gusto on the feet. Not only that, but Silva is tough to put away due to his solid chin and aggressive style that keeps opponents on their heels.

    Here's hoping Silva stays on the straight and narrow from here on out.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

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    Not long ago, people forgot Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was a high-level fighter. However, after thrashing Tito Ortiz and embarrassing Rashad Evans, he is now back in the good graces of the people.

    Nogueira is a great boxer who has shown improvements in his takedown defense. That, in addition to his high-level jiu-jitsu, make him dangerous in any combat situation.

    If he continues fighting the way he has been, his run toward the top is going to be quite fruitful.

Jimi Manuwa

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    This may be the wild-card call of the bunch, but there is no doubt Jimi Manuwa has skills. Not only does he have skills, but he has sickening stopping power that is as intimidating as it is effective.

    Manuwa has just two fights in the UFC, but they have both been impressive. He beat Kyle Kingsbury so bad that the doctor had to stop the fight and battered Cyrille Diabate for a round before the Frenchman was injured.

    We haven't seen much of his ground game defensively, but if he can keep guys standing, he could be a top guy. Only time will tell.