Hello MMA fans and fighters! Welcome to another edition of "MMA ALL THE WAY!!"
Today's topic of discussion is the highly talented Light Heavyweight Division of the UFC. Let's jump to it.
Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell are arguably two of the most dominant Light Heavyweight Champions the UFC has ever seen. My question is, will we see another champion that will dominate the division like those two did?
Ever since Liddell lost his title to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson back in May of '07 at UFC 71, the division has seen the title change hands five of the last seven championship matches. Granted, Ortiz has more successful title defenses (six), but Liddell defended his title when the sport was finally getting the recognition it rightfully deserved by the public.
Here are my top five possible candidates that could dominate the division consistently.
1. Lyoto Machida
The newest former champion tasted defeat for the first time when he lost his title in his second defense against current champion Shogun Rua.
The former champion is still young and his eight fight win streak in the octagon is hard achieve. His addition of Karate along with his MMA game spells trouble for opponents. Plus the guy is extremely elusive taking less hits more than any fighter in the game. Well, until Shogun ended that run.
It is always interesting to see how a fighter comes back from a loss. Especially when it is his first loss. Will he change his game or not? Either way, "The Dragon" better do something if he wants the title of champion, again.
2. Mauricio Rua
The UFC's current Light Heavyweight Champion has been up and down since his debut in September of '07 at UFC 76. Obviously, since he is the current champion, "Shogun" is on the upside.
The former PRIDE Grand Prix Champion had to deal with health issues when he entered the UFC. But now he is showing signs of the beast that dominated the PRIDE division in '05.
His aggressive style along with supreme Muy Thai and BJJ skills can make him a long term champion in the 205 division. I'd like to see this guy defend his title past three matches. We will see.
3. Jon Jones
This dude is a freak! He's young, athletic, great ground game and a sick stand up. Plus he has the longest reach in UFC history with a freakishly 84.5 inches! That is almost four inches longer than current heavyweight champion and also a freak in his division, Brock Lesnar.
His MMA game added with his natural abilities are more than enough to make this kid a huge force to be reckon with in the Light Heavyweight Division.
One thing I do admire about the almost 22-year-old fighter is that he shows a level of professionalism that is way beyond his years.
4. Rashad Evans
One of the many UFC Light Heavyweight Champions in the past three years, Rashad has come a long way from winning season two of The Ultimate Fighter. Evans has taken his game to another level, beating a, "Who's who," in the division.
Evans knows what it is like to be the champion. And he also knows how it feels to lose it in dramatic fashion. Losing the title to former champion Lyoto Machida was the best thing to ever happen to him.
He changed his game and is now more motivated than ever. Now the former Spartan from Michigan State is starting another winning streak that will hopefully end up with gold around his waste.
You can never question a fighter's heart. Especially the heart of former Light Heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin. His passion for the sport is as big as his strive to become champion, once again.
One of the very, very few men in MMA history to make current Champion Shogun Rua tap out and that says a lot.
Forrest is one of those guys that you have to force out of the gym to stop training so it can close down for the day.
Working on your skills with that type of mind frame will make you a champion no matter what. His humbleness and humor has quickly made him a favorite among fans, but it is his desire to improve every aspect of his game every second of every day that makes him stand out from the rest.
Well, those are my thoughts, now it is time to hear yours. Who do you think will be the next long time champion in the 205 division of the UFC? Or is the division too stacked and talented to have a dominant champion? Until then this is Balistik signing out.
"MMA ALL THE WAY!!"