Champion (and clear #1): Quinton Jackson
Not only is he the clear #1 right now, he is doing it in probably the deepest and toughest division the UFC has to offer. And what can you say about the gregarious Rampage? His arrival to the UFC hasn’t just brought about a change in where he fights but most importantly in his attitude and his overall game. He’s training with one of the best trainers in the world in Juanito Ibarra and quite frankly he looks incredible. His striking has to be top 3 in the world and you combine that with a chin that has never been knocked out with anything but repeated knees and you have a fighter who is absolutely devastating on his feet. On the ground he ain’t bad either. In his most recent fight he out wrestled a Greco-Roman stud in Dan Henderson (who in my opinion is the clear #2 in the division), you just can’t keep him on the ground no matter who you are. And then you throw in his attitude which is “I want to kill you” leading to complete aggression all the time and he’s scary good. Definitely a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
1. Dan Henderson — Until he comes out and officially declares his move down to middleweight (which btw would create one of the best fights ever in a title unification bout with Anderson Silva) then he sits here atop the top 5 contenders list. His game is as solid as they come, the only problem is Quinton is just too strong for him. He’s got the world class wrestling background and very solid striking and an unbelievably tough chin. An absolute warrior with a great heart. He’s truly your classy, hard-working, nonchalant fighter that you respect and other fighters don’t look forward to fighting.
2. Wanderlei Silva — Debuts in December with his return to the octagon and while his opponent remains a mystery his game does not. Silva is going to come at you from the time Big John says “Let’s get it on!” till that clock reaches zeros with his powerful striking. That striking features brutal hands and knees and just incredible strength. The other thing about Silva is he’s perhaps the most intimidating dude there is in the UFC because I think this dude above any other really looks to kill his opponent. He goes in there with that attitude and that’s scary.
3. Houston Alexander — Right now probably the UFC fighter on the biggest rise with Cheick Kongo and Roger Huerta close behind. This dude is a MONSTER as Joe Rogan would say. Big time punching power and brutal knees as we saw against Jardine and Sakara respectively compose a striking game that is as good as any out there. He has yet to be tested by a solid all around fighter and because Jardine came in underestimating him, we don’t really know how good is chin is either, although it most likely is above average. I would like to see fight a guy like Ryoto Machida and with a win fight someone like Shogun or Tito Ortiz (provided he beats Evans).
4. Keith Jardine — Really put on a good showing against Chuck Liddell. And it’s not like Liddell is fighting like Cro Cop right now, Liddell was just kept off balance by Jardine’s effective game plan. Jardine is a guy that wants to stand and bang with you. He’s got powerful hands, a good chin and really uses his legs well. On the ground he isn’t bad either, with a pretty good ground and pound game. Should fight Wanderlei Silva in December if the UFC brass pass on the Silva-Liddell fight.
5. Ryoto Machida — Remains undefeated after a solid win in his octagon debut and sits here because I really am not impressed by the guys that are knocking on the door. He’s a well rounded fighter and just gets it done, period.
Five knocking on the door:
- Chuck Liddell
- Tito Ortiz
- Mauricio Rua
- Rashad Evans
- Forrest Griffin