B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Light Heavyweights in Mixed Martial Arts

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B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Light Heavyweights in Mixed Martial Arts
USA TODAY Sports

For years, light heavyweight has been the UFC's marquee division. While there is a certain cache in being the heavyweight champion of the world, with due respect to the likes of Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, this was the division that mattered most.

Frank Shamrock got the stone rolling nicely with a memorable dark-ages reign. But it was Tito Ortiz who brought the sport into the light, dominating in the cage and becoming the first star of the Zuffa era. His were enormous shoes to fill, but Chuck Liddell managed nicely, both athletically and promotionally.

"The Iceman" reinvented how wrestling could be used in the cage. His collegiate background was used primarily to keep the fight standing, enabling his crowd-pleasing knockouts. Liddell, half-Cro-Magnon, half-accountant, became the face of MMA—a role he still maintains in many ways to this day.

Jon Jones is next in this evolutionary chain. In the cage, he's exceeded both Ortiz and Liddell. Outside of it, he's failed to capture the fans' emotions in quite the same way his predecessors did. The UFC has never seen his physical and athletic equal.

The sport of the everyman is now ruled by the kind of uber-athlete we used to dream would one day step into the cage. Jones is the new breed. Hopefully, in time, fans will come to embrace that—and everything that comes with it.

This list is not a ranking based on past performance. MMA math does not apply here. Instead, these ratings are a snapshot of where these athletes stand right now compared to their light heavyweight peers. We've scored each fighter on a 100-point scale based on his ability in four key categories. You can read more about how the ratings are determined here

Disagree with our order or analysis? Furious about a notable omission? Let us know about it in the comments.

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