FightLines: UFC Light Heavyweights



Rua <> Machida
Jardine > Liddell > W Silva > Jardine

Two big issues to discuss.

First, see Chuck Liddell there? Yeah, he has no relevant wins over the past three years. The victory over Wanderlei is wiped out by his loss to Jardine.

Despite what might have been misinterpreted over the past week, I don't think Chuck absolutely must retire. If an athletic commission finds him physically able to perform, by all means, he should continue fighting.

He shouldn't be fighting anyone sniffing a title shot though. Or anyone sniffing a shot for a title shot. If Chuck Liddell wants another fight, he draws Eric Schafer. Or Vinny Magalhaes. Or, hell, Tito Ortiz. Outside of Ortiz, I don't think Chuck's ego lets him step into a cage with C-level UFC light heavyweights.

What's more relevant to the light heavyweight division? The top of the weight class is an absolute mess. Lyoto Machida's loss to Mauricio Rua erases his controversial victory over "Shogun" in 2009. He remains unscathed from a FightLines perspective.

Rua's defeat to Forrest Griffin remains, though he has a chance to erase it whenever he's able to return and fight Rashad Evans. Evans, in turn, doesn't gain anything from his win over "Rampage" Jackson, as he already has a path to Jackson through Griffin (though he gains some insurance if Quinton were to beat either Machida or Griffin).

The knee injury "Shogun" suffered may end up as a boon for the division, allowing the top tier guys time to sort out the next contender following Evans. Some permutation of matchups needs to be made between Machida, Jackson, Griffin, Rich Franklin, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Preparations will also have to be made for Anderson Silva's likely move to 205 and Jon Jones ascension into the title picture.

Upcoming light heavyweight fights:

Matt Hamill vs. Keith Jardine @ TUF 11 Finale - Keith Jardine must be dangerously close to losing his UFC gig. He's lost his last three fights (two by TKO) and holds a 6-6 record in the organization overall. Hamill, meanwhile, is coming off his impressive victory over Jon Jones.

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 116 - I know the UFC rewards loyalty, but if Dana White and co. are serious about their organization being a place for the best fighters on the planet, Stephan Bonnar cannot be employed as a fighter, especially if he gets beat by Krzysztof Soszynski (legitimately this time). His best win came over three years ago against Keith Jardine and he recently lost a decision to Mark Coleman of all people.

Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko @ UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko - Vladimir Matyushenko is a great step up for Jon Jones, though a victory won't erase the Hamill DQ debacle from the FightLines system.

Thiago Silva vs. Tim Boetsch @ UFC 117 - I will never forget Tim Boetsch throwing David Heath into the fence in his UFC debut. He's getting another shot after taking a few fights on smaller shows, though I expect it might be one-and-done for Timmy.

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