According To Spiars: UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2009

The UFC's light heavyweight division is without a doubt the toughest group of fighters throughout the modern world. It is home to a who's who list of former champions and deadly contenders.

Recently the belt has transformed into a potato fresh out of a 400 degree oven, with only one title defense between four champions. It's as if they were nervous to challenge the next warrior in line for the belt, this is highly-doubted but still.

Sitting on top of the mountain is the highly-touted Lyoto Machida. It has already been claimed as "The Machida Era" by many fight fans, despite the lack of a title defense.

Only Father Time will tell if the belt stays in Machida's hands. One slip in his game and anybody in the top ten could capitalize on his mistake.

10- Luis Cane (10-1)

9- Rich Franklin (25-4)

8- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3)

7- Forrest Griffin (16-6)

6- Anderson Silva (25-4)

5- Thiago Silva (14-1)

4- Rashad Evans (18-1-1)

3- Mauricio Rua (18-3)

2- Quinton Jackson (30-7)

1- Lyoto Machida (15-0)

Noteworthy: Dan Henderson (25-7), Jon Jones (9-0), Tito Ortiz (15-6-1)

Anderson Silva's recent destruction of Forrest Griffin was enough to land him into the top ten. Whether or not he does anything with this status remains to be a mystery; Silva will slowly slide back down the mountain the longer he stays away from the division.

Despite claiming a spot in the light heavyweight division, Rich Franklin is fighting at a catch weight for the second time in a row, this time against Vitor Belfortat UFC 103. It's hard to determine if a win or a loss is significant in his rank unless it's in a dramatic fashion. A convincing knock out or submission may send him a spot up or down the mountain.

"The Machida Era" might officially begin on October 24th inside the Staples Center. Machida takes on former Pride FC stand-out, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in what appears to be a chess match in the art of fighting. A convincing win could send the loser back into the midst of starving contenders outside the top five.