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Navigating the UFC light-heavyweight division

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Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson are two of the eight fighters that make up an extremely competitive UFC light-heavyweight division.
Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson are two of the eight fighters that make up an extremely competitive UFC light-heavyweight division.

It's been since May since the UFC light-heavyweight division has had a big time fight. That'll change Saturday when former champions Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida meet in the main event of "UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida" from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The division's "big four" — Jackson, Machida, Rashad Evans and champion Mauricio Rua — haven't fought since May when Rua beat Machida at UFC 113 and Evans beat Jackson at UFC 114. The round robin of sorts continues Saturday with Jackson and Machida and continues early next year when Evans challenges Rua for the title.

Now, we have those two bouts settled and the big question this week has been this: Should the Jackson/Machida winner be next in line for the Rua/Evans winner? Regardless of the result of this weekend's fight, I say no.

Unless it makes too much business sense not to do it (as in maybe an Evans/Jackson rematch), I'd rather see the division's next tier — Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Jon Jones and Ryan Bader — get the next shot. Coincidentally, Griffin meets Franklin and Jones takes on Bader at UFC 126.

Seeing as we've already been down the Rua/Machida road twice and all the top tier matchups have happened at least once, I'd take the most impressive winner from the UFC 126 fights and have them fight for the title. Unless that fight happens to be Evans/Griffin. I'd love to see Griffin come out on top and have a rematch with Rua for the title. Their UFC 76 fight is what propelled Griffin to the title. It was an extremely compelling fight.

Despite my many random provisions here, I truly don't think the UFC can really go wrong no matter what direction they go in. This division simply is sick. It goes eight deep. Think about that. Seven fighters could challenge for the title right now.

Imagine some of the fights that could be made with these eight fighters? It's going to be an exciting stretch for the light-heavyweight division no matter what.

I'd be interested in hearing how everybody here would like to see things shake out.