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The Landscape of MMA's Most Stacked Division Is About To Change

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The UFC light heavyweight division is the most stacked weight division in all of MMA.  It's not even close, as the entire top ten is composed of UFC fighters save maybe one spot for Renato Sobral or Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.  However, some new names will be breaking into the division, and in one case already has.  Let's take a look at the old guard:

  • Chuck Liddell-Liddell will be fighting Shogun at UFC 97 in what I'm calling a do or die match.  Liddell is 1-3 in his last 4, and Shogun is coming off a very lackluster win over Mark Coleman.  Liddell's best days are behind him but he can stay relevant with a win here.  However, a loss knocks him out of the top ten.
  • Shogun Rua-I currently do not have Shogun in my top ten.  However,  he was one of the, if not the most feared LHW in the world a short time ago.  He can assert himself back in the mix with an impressive performance over Liddell at UFC 97.  A loss there, and you can stick a fork in him.
  • Wanderlei Silva-He's moving down to 185.  Nuff said.
  • Keith Jardine-Jardine is a very good fighter, but simply can't string any wins together.  He'll always be that borderline top ten guy that gives everyone problems.  I doubt he'll ever be champion.  He's 2-2 in his last 4 fights.
  • Dan Henderson-Henderson has been switching divisions between MW and LHW.  It appears that's he going back to MW with the taping of TUF, and fight with Michael Bisping.

Now, let's take a look at some guys that are knocking on the door:

  • Luis Arthur Cane-Cane has already knocked on the door, opened it and walked thru it in my opinion.  I have him listed as the #9 LHW in the world.  The only loss on his record is a DQ against James Irvin.  This guy is tough as nails and I'd love to see him matched up against Keith Jardine.
  • Matt Hamill-This guy only has one loss as far as I'm concerned, and that was against a great fighter in Rich Franklin(he beat Bisping IMHO).  Hamill kept it competitive in the fight against Franklin.  He's getting better and better, is relentless and packs big power.  
  • Brandon Vera-I know I know...he just beat Mike Patt...who?  He took Keith Jardine to a split decision, and he's starting to look more comfortable at LHW.  The guy has skills, and I'd like to see him face Shogun at some point.

As you can see, the UFC LHW division can and probably will look very different soon.  Of course it depends on matchmaking and things of that nature.  However, don't be surprised to see some of the guys I mentioned cracking the top ten within the next year.