Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz were two of the most dominant Light Heavyweight Champions in UFC history. Rampage Jackson was set to reign as champion when he knocked out Liddell in UFC 71. UFC 86 was Forrest Griffin's time to shine, when he went through all five rounds to beat Jackson.
In UFC 92, "Sugar" Rashad Evans stepped up to dethrone Griffin. Next, UFC commentator Joe Rogen said, "Welcome to the Machida Era," when Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans in UFC 98. Later, along came Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a highly anticipated rematch with Machida at UFC 113,which ended up in a first round TKO, making him the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and marking a pause in the "Machida" Era.
This Saturday night, at UFC 128, Shogun will be defending his title for the first time against rising star Jon "Bones" Jones. Lately, with the exception of Machida and Jackson, a title reign as Light Heavyweight Champion has a two fight limit at most and then it changes hands...again.
What ever happened to the dominance from a champion? Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre certainly found the answer. But what about the guys at 205? Liddell and Ortiz was able to defend it five times each. Only Machida and Jackson were the closest, but lost their titles in their second defense.
True, the 205-pound division is stacked with talent. But is it that same talent the sole reason why we do not have a dominant champion? After Chuck lost his title you start to see the pattern over and over again. Win a title, lose a title, win a title, lose a title. That type of history gets old really fast.
That means that Shogun has history behind him. Some would call it history, but some would call it a curse. Shogun not only has to beat Jones, but now he has to beat whoever is after Jones in order for him to call his reign an "Era".
This is not to knock Rua, because he has all the qualities to dominate. He has a very aggressive striking game and his clinch is lethal. Coming from Brazil he already has a sick ground game, but Jones is a totally different animal.
Just like Machida, Jones approaches fighters with an unorthodox style that can confuse anyone. Spinning Elbows, Body Scissor takedowns and a dynamic wrestling background. You have a serious threat to Rua's title.
Some want to see Jones as the next champion and some want to see Rua retain it. And there are some that just want to see a UFC Light Heavyweight Champion dominate the division.
What do you think? Will Rua succumb to the "two fight" curse? Or can Rua do what so many others couldn't and that is dominate? Is it Jones' time to shine?