So as I said in my first article I am making my pick for who I think will have a big year in 2010. The Light-Heavyweight picture is a little clearer then other divisions but making a pick is still hard. Here is how he see the year going and my pick.
We all know about the re-match between Machida vs Rua which will happen possibly in Montreal. For me I don't see Machida making the same mistakes again, and I can't see Rua being so successful with a game plan. So I would expect Machida to remain the champ.
As I have commented on other articles, I see Rashad Evans winning at UFC 108 as long as he goes back to his wrestling. If that happens it would set up a nice No.1 contender fight with Rampage when he returns from filming.
Forrest Griffin is in contention after beating Tito Ortiz, as is Antonio Nogueira after his impressive UFC debut. I think both need a few more wins however. Rich Franklin could become relevant if he actually fights at 205, Thiago Silva and Luis Cane should also be considered as well.
2009 was the year of hot prospect Jon Jones, who in my mind will challenge for the title in the next 2 years. He will have another chance to stake his claim in a tough test against Brandon Vera at the upcoming Fight Night 21. I would also add Ryan Bader to the prospect list, who I think is making good progress in each fight.
So that would bring us to my pick, who is none other then 'The Natural' Randy Couture. Despite people continually questioning him he comes up trumps and I think it is clear that Dana and the UFC is angling to give him one more title shot. Its because of this I think 2010 could be a big year for Randy.
A win over Brandon Vera, all be it contentious has given him a win over a recognised top 15 LHW, maybe top 10. His upcoming fight with Mark Coleman should make him 2-0 on his return to LHW. That combined with the fact that he is Randy Couture would give him a reasonable case for a title shot. This is where it would get interesting.
Rashad Evans has said that whatever the outcome of the fight with Silva, he wants to fight Rampage next. Depending on when Rampage returns we could be looking at a possible July fight for them. This would take either fighter out of the picture until around November time.
If Rua and Machida fight in May as suggested that would leave the champ with a title defence around September time, enter Randy Couture. A title fight with Randy in it, is an easy sell for the UFC and would be a tough test for either Rua or Machida. Looking at the fight calendars of each of the contenders at LHW, it would just seem to fall into place.
As I mentioned earlier I think Machida will beat Rua in the re-match. Styles make fights and I think Randy has the tools to give Machida a lot of problems. So who knows come the end of 2010 we could be looking at the 3 time LHW champion, Randy 'The Natural' Couture.