USAT/SBN January 2010 MMA Consensus Rankings: Light Heavyweight

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Lyoto Machida 100 UFC 1
2 Mauricio Rua 92 UFC 2
3 Rashad Evans 91 UFC 3
4 Quinton Jackson 88 UFC 4
5 Gegard Mousasi 81 Strikeforce 7
6 Forrest Griffin 79 UFC 5
7 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira 75 UFC 6
8 Thiago Silva 69 UFC 8
9 Anderson Silva 58 UFC 9
10 Rich Franklin 40 UFC 12
11 Randy Couture 38 UFC 10
12 Luis Arthur Cane 36 UFC 11
13 Dan Henderson 35 Strikeforce 13
14 Jon Jones 29 UFC 16
15 Renato Sobral 28 Strikeforce 14
16 Keith Jardine 27 UFC 15
17 Chuck Liddell 24 UFC 20
18 Brandon Vera 24 UFC 17
19 Matt Hamill 23 UFC 18
19 Tito Ortiz 23 UFC 21
19 Vitor Belfort 23 UFC 22
22 Wanderlei Silva 22 UFC 23
23 Muhammed Lawal 21 Strikeforce NR
23 Paulo Filho 21 DREAM 25
25 Mark Coleman 21 UFC 24

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

Due to hand injuries he sustained at UFC 104, #1 Lyoto Machida won't rematch #2 Mauricio "Shogun" Rua until May's UFC 113. That is a long time for fans to have to wait for one of the most intriguing rematches in MMA history. Shogun Rua seemingly "solved" the riddle of Machida's shotokan karate style, forcing Machida to initiate exchanges and then counter-striking with hard kicks to the legs and body. Rua made a critical mistake in not going for the kill in the later rounds when he clearly had Machida hurt and the judges gave the fight to the champ. If the rematch is anything less than a classic of heart and strategy, fans will be sorely disappointed.

Sadly, the rest of the division is less intriguing. #3 Rashad Evans won by decision over #8 Thiago Silva at UFC 108, but I doubt he convinced many that he merits a rematch with the champ any time soon. But fans are eager to see Rashad finally get his crack at #4 Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and few will complain when the winner of that bout gets a title shot. If it's Rampage vs Machida or Rampage vs Shogun 2, either will be a much anticipated fight.

#6 Forrest Griffin will get #7 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 113. If Shogun takes the belt at that same event and Nogueira gets the win he'll be expected to get, that will set up a rematch of one of the most epic wars in the history of MMA: Shogun vs Rogerio at PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005. I'll count on Spike TV featuring that fight in several episodes of their Best of PRIDE series leading up to the rematch.

No official word on what's next for Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion #5 Gegard Mousasi, the top ranked non-UFC fighter in the division. But rumors are mounting that he'll face #23 Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal at Strikeforce's next CBS event in April. That's likely the best match Strikeforce has for Mousasi, but it's a shame to see two red-hot young talents thrown in the cage together without a more proper build up.

#14 Jon Jones, the hottest prospect in the UFC's 205lb division, will headline UFC on Versus against #18 Brandon Vera. Both fighters are coming off losses in fights they should have won. Jones dropped a DQ loss to an overmatched #19 Matt Hamill at the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale. Vera meanwhile failed to pull the trigger and finish his opponent when he had him hurt at UFC 105.

Oh yeah, did I forget something....that's right, Vera's opponent #11 Randy Couture will be headlining UFC 109 against #25 Mark Coleman. As if it's not bad enough that that senior circuit fight is headlining a PPV, they're insisting on calling it a #1 contender's match. Please don't make us sit through Coleman vs Shogun 3.

Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings.

We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.

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