With another big night for the UFC’s light heavyweight division behind us, it’s a good time to take a look at the division once again and adjust the rankings. Note: my rankings are a balance between skill of a fighter (which includes ground and stand-up game combined with heart and game-planning) and recent activity. So without further ado, here are the general’s rankings:
Champion: Forrest Griffin — In my opinion you have to set the champion aside no matter who it is and rank everyone else below him. No matter what you want to say about Forrest — and I’ll be the first to tell you I see him as no more than an average fighter in the LHW division — he’s got the heart of a lion and comes in with solid game plans and executes them. I still don’t think he beat Rampage, though.
#1 Contender tier (in order): Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Wanderlei Silva and Thiago Silva.
2-3 wins away: Keith Jardine, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Shogun, Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin and Brandon Vera
Gatekeepers: Matt Hamill, Tim Boetsch, Houston Alexander, James Irvin, Stephan Bonnar, Luiz Cane, James Lee and Kazuhiro Nakamura
Young prospect(s) to watch: Jon Jones
I feel like this is as accurate a ranking as there is out there and should be what the UFC uses to gauge its division.