We continue our look into the latest official UFC rankings by turning our focus to the light heavyweight division. We’ll be discussing a new weight class each day, and be sure to check out our previous posts for insight into the middleweight and welterweight divisions as well. As a reminder, the rankings are a result of votes cast by members of the media, and you can see the full list on the UFC’s website.
Jon Jones stormed onto the scene, amassing a 12-1 record (his sole loss came by accidental disqualification) en route to becoming the youngest champion in UFC history. His return against Alexander Gustafsson next month will be 6th title defense, allowing him to break the record for the division. His technical proficiencies when mixed with his natural physical gifts, make him one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet. Gustafsson provides an interesting challenge, as he stands an inch taller than the champion and has displayed a well rounded game, earning several victories by both knockout and submission. Jones personally requested this bout, and looks to solidify himself as the greatest light heavyweight of all time.
While there are several fighters looking to stake their claim as the next challenger, UFC executive Marshall Zelaznik revealed during the UFC 163 post-fight press conference that Glover Teixeira will earn the bout with an impressive showing against Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28 on September 4, 2013. Teixeira has gone 4-0 since entering the UFC ranks, including a victory over former UFC lightweight champion Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. With Jon Jones recently suggesting he would love to fight the Brazilian, a strong showing against Bader will likely put him in top contention.
Despite the controversy surrounding his victory of Lyoto Machida last weekend, Phil Davis has once again improved his stock within the division. He still sits below Machida in the overall divisional rankings, but ultimately he is closer to a shot at the belt as long as Jon Jones possesses it. His sole loss came against former champion Rashad Evans, and he served current contender Alexander Gustaffson the first and only loss of his career, submitting the Swede with an anaconda choke. Davis won’t be in true contention without another impressive win, but he continues to move closer to the top of the division.
Rounding out the rest of the top-10 are several highly ranked fighters coming off a loss (Henderson, Machida, Rua), and the oft underrated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Each fighter has the opportunity to get back in the mix with an impressive win, but none are truly on the champion’s radar at this time.
Who would you like to see face the winner of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson? Do you think any names deserve to added to this list? Let us know! Look below for the official UFC light heavyweight rankings.
Official UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings
Champion: Jon Jones
1. Alexander Gustaffson
2. Lyoto Machida
3. Glover Teixeira
4. Phil Davis
5. Rashad Evans
6. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
7. Dan Henderson
8. Mauricio Rua
9. Gegard Mousasi
10. Ryan Bader