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With Machida on Top, Is the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight Division Still ‘Stacked’?

(Lyoto may have put an entire weight class to sleep on Saturday. Photo courtesy of

Over the last couple years, we’ve heard the same lines repeated about the UFC’s marquee weight-class: The light-heavyweight division is freakin’ stacked. Eight or nine of the top ten 205′ers in the world live there. It’s a shark tank, where any fighter could be champion on any given day. But after Lyoto Machida dethroned Rashad Evans in a lopsided sparring clinic at UFC 98, it suddenly didn’t feel that way any more.

If Machida can defeat Quinton Jackson later this year — and there’s no reason to think he won’t, since Jackson’s increasingly one-dimensional boxing style is virtually tailor-made for Machida — he’ll establish an Anderson Silva-like dominance over the light-heavyweight division; the contenders in his weight class will appear relatively weak since nobody can touch him. Or maybe the UFC’s light-heavyweights really have gotten weaker. Let’s run it down…

Chuck Liddell: Beaten into a forced retirement after consecutive losses to Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua.

Wanderlei Silva: Ejected from the light-heavyweight class after his KO loss against Quinton Jackson. Will fight next at 195 pounds, and possibly at middleweight after that.

Mauricio Rua: The jury’s still out. He was good enough to beat Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell (who were both well past their primes) but he’s yet to face a young elite 205′er in the UFC and take home a win.

Keith Jardine: Forget about it. His performance against Rampage in March cemented his status as a high-level gatekeeper who wins one, then loses one, then wins one, then loses one.

Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva: Though they’re both highly talented fighters, they’d need to go on serious win streaks to justify another shot at Machida. For the time being, they’ll hang out near the top of the light-heavyweight ladder, fighting over the Dragon’s scraps.

So who’s left? Well, Forrest Griffin is still popular among fans, and all he’d really need to do to show he’s worthy of another title shot is beat the crap out of Anderson Silva at UFC 101. (Please, hold your laughter.) If he fails, he’ll join Evans, T. Silva, and Rampage in the brotherhood of awesome fighters who suddenly don’t look so awesome.

This isn’t to say that the UFC lacks any light-heavyweight prospects. Jon Jones and Luis Cane have insane potential, while Matt Hamill and Krzysztof Soszynski‘s recent wins have given their careers momentum again. But don’t expect any of those dudes to compete for the belt until next summer at the very earliest. (Cane will probably be first in line, if he can keep beating name-fighters.)

Any way you look at it, the so-called "Machida Era" will be a time of rebuilding in the light-heavyweight division. In the meantime, the UFC would be wise to push their surging lightweight and heavyweight classes even further into the spotlight.


Cagepotato Comments

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Savageleto- October 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm
@ Tai-Pan

I am there with you.
TheRealGrim- June 12, 2009 at 4:04 am
seriously kids...

this piss drinking lotto makeydaa or whatever his name is is highly overrated
Cathedron- May 28, 2009 at 9:13 am
I got beat up by some black kids once. Broke my Kermit the Frog lunchbox. Sucked. I liked that lunchbox.
Goog- May 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

Sure, I'm retarded. But that doesn't make anything I said untrue. And the fact that Lyoto didn't get his shot for so long for lack of "charisma" or ability to draw at PPV's pretty much proves what I said. The criminal is more interesting to watch because he runs his ghetto mouth, not because his fights are great.

And yes, I misspoke. I know Jardine went to a decision, I meant he kinda blew it in the last few seconds with the knockdown. Now go ahead and tell me how it was a UD and it didn't matter, but the fact remains that Jardine took him 3 rounds and confused the shit out of him, beating him up the whole time.

And @ Dana White
Sounds like you found some racism in my comment? Which part is untrue... that he's a criminal and dodged any repercussions? Was it the "brown noggin"? Also, go fuck yourself.
ArmFarmer- May 28, 2009 at 5:28 am
Before I get flamed I know Sokadju or however you spell it sucks on the ground, but he is SUPPOSE to be an elite judo guy so he should have top notch takedowns and he couldn't put Machida on the ground and do anything.. that's what I meant.
ArmFarmer- May 28, 2009 at 5:07 am
Aussie not calling you a dumbass, I completely disagree with you but my dumbass comment was directed to Grier Sheps and White. I'm sure there's a couple other ones in here too that I missed.
ArmFarmer- May 28, 2009 at 5:06 am
Aussie.. why on earth would they want to do that? Just because Machida has an unusual style you think they should start recruiting every jackie chan jet li wanna be they can find?

A LOT of fucking dumbasses in these comments.

Grier you are a fucking dumbass I can’t believe you think Vera would easily beat Machida or that Coleman even belongs in the same building as him.

Sheps you’re a fucking idiot too. You said that before he actually knocked out his last two opponents the fights were boring snorefests.. did you even watch them? How can a 4 minute fight that ends in ko be a boring snorefest genius? How is two rounds of domination and ass beating followed by a brutal ko boring?

Dana White, join the fucktard group. “ANY good wrestler can win vs Machida LOOK at Tito HE almost tapped out Machida.” Brilliant observation, seeing as how Tito didn’t get a single takedown in 3 rounds with Machida you fuking dumbass. So any good wrestler can beat Machida easily, yet Machidas last 4 fights were against 2 elite grapplers and 2 elite wrestlers and I’m pretty sure not one of them scored a single takedown.

Seriously do you guys even watch the sport or did you just happen to see a couple fights while you were getting shot down by hooters girls??
Frank Mur- May 28, 2009 at 4:55 am
"Knockouts are exciting, but even more so when they come out of the blue like a fucking ninja."
Funniest line of the year on CP!
AussieJosh- May 28, 2009 at 4:17 am
This Thai kick boxing/boxing jujits combo needs to stop! to give Machida somthing diffrent to challange! it needs to be more along the lines of Taekwondo, Karte or Kung Fu Mixed with Jujits! In other words they need to bring new guys in to the UFC, people who have been champs in there respective fields! TAEKWONDO/KARTE/KUNG FU for the past few years and also have some jujits on top of that!
Dru23- May 28, 2009 at 12:34 am
@goog.....are you retarded? the rampage-jardine fight did go to decision idiot, and rampage won by UD. and to be honest rashad will get another title shot if he gets two big wins in a row like rampage did. but the fact rampage came in and dominated a reigning chuck at the time, then beat up hendo, and then barely lost a split decision that could have gone either way to forrest...then comes back and KOs wandy and beats jardine up pretty bad, say thats a decent little list so he is by far the most deserved at a shot...
Dana White- May 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm
lets see Machida defend the belt atleast 3 times b4 ppl get all over his peepee sack.
Dana White- May 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm
Goog im sorry to hear that you got beat up by black kids in school. leave rampage out of it.
Bandy13- May 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm
he needs to defend the belt for me to be on board for the "era".

if he beats rampage(and i am hoping he doesnt) i will buy into it.

but seriously, defend the belt first. then we can call it his era.

T BONE- May 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm
wow ppl are all over machidas nuts real quick...
Goog- May 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm
Rampage is an ass. He got zero backlash for being a fucking criminal. He lost to Forrest. How about the fact that he BARELY beat Jardine? Another few seconds and it would have gone to decision. [Jardine's not bad, but he's no top 5'er.] He caught Wandy with a punch... just like everyone else. I hate seeing Rampage get pushed because of his "personality". Fuck him. He's an arrogant dick, he's no role model, and he's nowhere near as impressive as everyone seems to want to believe. He makes excuses when he loses. He's a caricature and a memorable[?] member of the cast of of the show that is the UFC. Is he a violent, deadly fighter worthy of being feared and considered a foregone conclusion to win? Not by a long shot. His ultimate role is like that of Forrest, Chuck, and Randy.... they're decent fighters who put asses in seats for whatever reason and can bolster a card. Beyond that, what is he? Super dominant? Nope. Consistent? Nope. Cool? Nope.

How the hell is he back in title contention already? I hope Machida knocks the chocolate of his oversized brown noggin. But I'm sure he'll hang around and get another quick title shot. There are currently other fighters with better win streaks, better records, etc... but they have to recycle this overhyped prick again. It's getting old. As much as I dislike Rashad, he now has ONE loss and gets thrown back to the middle of the pack. Why doesn't he get a rematch the same way Rampage does? It's a fucking popularity contest, that's why.

I like the new style Machida's bringing as far as being more of a chess match than a close-your-eyes-and-throw-haymakers-till-someone-falls. Knockouts are exciting, but even more so when they come out of the blue like a fucking ninja. And I hope there's no shitstorm for Machida the next time he wins a decision or subs someone because the fans all want an artistic knockout.
T BONE- May 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm
Let the phenom chase him down! see if he can dodge machine gun fists lol
Poo Flinger- May 27, 2009 at 8:06 pm
Absolutely no way could Couture keep up with Lyoto's speed. Lesner was faster than Couture. If Couture could not keep up with Lesner, no way in hell is he going to keep up with Lyoto. And he sure as hell will not find a training partner to emulate Lyoto's style.
Uncle Sams Misguided Child USMC- May 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm
I dont think that Rampage should be fighting Machida. Rampage should have to avenge his loss to Forest (if he can) and that should decide the #1 contendor. In the mean time on the same card Machida should fight Brandon Vera on the same card to build his popularity.

I know Vera doesnt deserve a title shot before you all start screaming. I said to boost his popularity. Or Shogun hes riding a 2 fight win streak.
Jonny5- May 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm
@BareGrappler.... My dream fighters for my dream UFCLHW tourney Machida, Jackson, Griffin, Evans, Rua, Cane, Wanderlei, and Jardine. Mix randomly in first for all I care or it matters. What a tournament they could hold. Would probably be the most badass single division tournament in the history of MMA.
Dana White- May 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm
WHO in the fuck writes FOR CP fucking retards. Rampage has way better boxing then rashand and can take more shots its not going to be that easy for Machida tailor MADE my ASS. ANY good wrestler can win VS Machida LOOK at Tito HE almost tapped out Machida. GET THE FUCK OFF THE MACHIDA NUT SACK YOU FUCKING BITCHES!!!!!!!
Jonny5- May 27, 2009 at 7:27 pm
OK. First of all. The UFC right now has 9/10 of the WORLD'S top ten LHW's. The only one they are missing IMO is Lil'Nog. Hiring Lil'Nog would be the best idea they already have his big brother. They should stop f'ing around with fights like Griffin Silva that can do nothing for the LHW division. Both Liddell and Jon Jones shouldn't fight top fighters for their next bouts at this point in their carreers, (for different reasons obv.) fighters like Hammill and K-Sos sound about right for the Iceman and Bones right now. Stop messing around with this catch weight stuff with Franklin, theres another fighter thats got potential at 205. I mean what else do we want to see from the UFC's LHW division?............the return of Babalu and the Janitor?....lulz
BM2- May 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm
How can a strong champion = weak division?

But yes, the LW division has always been more stacked, if you look at it across the entirety of MMA. Plenty of stars to go around in UFC, DREAM, Sengoku, etc.
kula- May 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm
are you joe rogan?
kula- May 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm
yeah. not a true champion until you defend it
The Meat Missile- May 27, 2009 at 7:00 pm
captian america vs the dragon would be ssswwweeetttt!!!