If there's one real division in MMA that's consistently the hardest to rank, it's probably light heavyweight. A variety of different styles among the top fighters has led to close fights, controversial decisions, and just plain craziness. How do you rank three fighters when the A has beat B, B has beat C, and C has beat A? It's hard. And it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that our six panelists are all over the board with how they see things.
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites - Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Brian Hemminger from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow. Check out the fancy chart below to see where we had everyone at:
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. At the moment, this does not affect any fighters generally considered in the discussion for a top 10 light heavyweight spot).
One thing we can all agree on is that Jon Jones is the best fighter in the division, and likely the best fighter on the planet overall at the moment. After that though, to quote Genesis of all bands - it's a land of confusion. UFC 165 title challenger Alexander Gustafsson managed to nab the number two spot on the strength of three second-place votes and one third-place. He also received a vote in fifth and seventh. Rashad Evans was a top-five guy for everyone on the list, and was as high as second on one ballot. That earned him the number three spot overall.
In the four spot sits Phil Davis. He received votes in four different spots - second, third, fifth, and six. Former number two Lyoto Machida was right behind him, and his voting was even more erratic - one had him as high as second, while two had his as low as seventh. It should be noted that we did the voting before Machida's drop to Middleweight was announced, hence him being on the list.
In the six spot was Glover Teixeira, who might be the guy that panel disagrees on the most. Two of us had him at number three, and one had him in the four slot, one opted for six, while two others still have him down in the nine hole. Following him was Dan Henderson at seven. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira came in at eight, and Chael Sonnen entered the list at nine following his win over Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 26. Rua dropped off the list with the loss, which meant that Gegard Mousasi squeezed in at number 10.
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