With the announcement of a (kinda) No.1 contender match between Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier and Henderson's recent KO victory over Shogun, I have read many comments and opinions that present Dan Henderson to be a much greater fighter than I perceive him to be. I have been playfully laughed at and questioned for: (a) seeing Jake Shields as a better fighter (he beat him definitively head to head), (b) considering Henderson's prime years to have been extended and distorted by his legal PED use (I give Shields full credit for defeating Dan despite his age at the time), (c) underestimating his questionable victories (I can clearly remember Decision Dan), and (d) not giving full credit for some of his more historic victories (Fedor, W.Silva, Nogueria).

As I encountered these arguments, it made it clear to me that I have a very different perspective on fighter rankings than many of the community members here. Since I enjoy discussing and learning from others, I thought I'd post my thoughts on fighter rankings across weight classes and facilitate a discussion about others views.

I am 33 years old and a long time MMA fan. I have seen most of the significant fights in MMA history. I ave very set views on many fighters and would love to discuss those of others. I consider Dan Henderson to be a top 10 LHW and a top 5 MW and a borderline top 20 fighter of all time. This view seems to be a great slight to Henderson, so I've begun this series with the LHW division and will make a subsequent post on MW before continuing to other weight classes and divisions.


1. Jon Jones

UFC LHW Champion with 6 defenses; Longest Win Streak in UFC LHW Division; 19-1 with a DQ loss; unoficially unbeaten in 20 fights with 19 victories; victories over Matyushenko, Rua, Rampage, Machida, Evans, Belfort, and Sonnen

2. Wanderlei Silva

Pride Middleweight Champion with 4 defenses; Pride MW GP Champion; Most Wins in Pride; Longest Undefeated Streak in Pride; Most KOs in Pride; IVC LHW Champion; 31-6-1 (1) at the end of 2006 with a controversial loss to Hunt; winning streaks of 16, 6,and 5; victories over Mezger, Henderson, Sakuraba (3x), Rampage (2x), Kondo, and Arona; draw with Cro Cop

3. Frank Shamrock

UFC Middleweight Champion with 4 defenses; Interim King of Pancrase; 20-7-2 at the end of 2000; winning streaks of 9 and 6; victories over Rutten, Suzuki (2x), Funaki, K. Jackson, Horn, and Ortiz

4. Shogun Rua

UFC LHW Champion; Pride MW GP Champion; 20-6 at the end of 2011 with a controversial loss to Machida; winning streaks of 8 and 4; victories over Rampage, Rogerio, Arona, Overeem (2x), Randleman, Machida, and Griffin

5. Lyoto Machida

UFC LHW Champion with 1 defense; 21-4 with controversial losses to Rampage and Davis; 16 fight winning streak; victories over Franklin, Penn, Ortiz, Evans, Rua, Couture, Henderson, and Mousassi (185)

6. Rashad Evans

UFC LHW Champion; 21-3-1; winning streaks of 15 and 4; victories over Bisping, Liddell, Griffin, Rampage, Davis, Henderson, and Sonnen; draw with Ortiz

7. Rampage Jackson

UFC LHW Champion with 1 defense; Unified UFC LHW and Pride MW Championships; 30-7 at the end of 2010 with a DQ loss; winning streaks of 8, 7, and 6; victories over Vovchanchyn, Randleman, Bustamante, Liddell (2x), Arona, Lindland, and Henderson

8. Chuck Liddell

UFC LHW Champion with 4 defenses; Most Wins in UFC LHW Division; Most KOs in UFC LHW Champion; 20-4 after second loss to Rampage; winning streaks of 10 and 7; victories over Landi-Jons, Randleman, Mezger, Bustamante, Belfort, Sobral (2x), Overeem, Ortiz (2x), Couture (2x), and Horn

9. Dan Henderson

Pride MW Champion; UFC MW Tournament Champion; Rings King of Kings Tournament Champion; 20-5 at LHW (+) at the end of 2011; winning streaks of 9 and 4 (2x); victories over Newton, Nogueria, Sobral (2x), Bustamante, Kondo, Belfort, W. Silva, Franklin, Fedor, and Rua

10. Randy Couture

(2x) UFC LHW Champion; Interim UFC LHW Champion; 6-4 at LHW with a controversial loss to Belfort; victories over Liddell, Ortiz, and Belfort

11. Tito Ortiz

UFC LHW Champion with 5 defenses; 15-5-1 at the end of 2007; winning streaks of 6 and 5; victories over Bohlander, Mezger, W. Silva, Kondo, Tanner, Matyushenko, Belfort, and Griffin; draw with Evans

12. Oleg Taktarov

UFC Tournament Champion; 17-5-2; winning streaks of 5 and 4; victory over Ruas; draws with K. Shamrock and Ruas

13. Marco Ruas

UFC Tournament Champion; WVC Superfight Champion; 8-3-2 at the end of 1999; draw with Taktarov

14. Forrest Griffin

UFC LHW Champion; 19-7; winning streaks of 8 and 4; victories over Sonnen, Rua, Rampage, and Franklin

15. Ricardo Arona

Rings MW Champion; Rings MW Tournament Champion; 14-5; winning streaks of 6 and 4; victories over Horn (2x), Mezger, Henderson, Sakuraba, W. Silva, and Overeem

16. Phil Davis

12-1 (1); 9 fight winning streak; victories over Rogerio and Machida

17. A. Rogerio Nogueria

21-5; winning streaks of 8 and 7; victories over Mezger, Sakuraba, Overeem (2x), Henderson, Matyushenko, and Evans

18. Alistair Overeem

21-9 at LHW; 12 fight winning streak; victories over Belfort (2x) and Vovchanchyn

19. Vitor Belfort

UFC LHW Champion; UFC HW Tournament Champion; 19-9 at LHW (+); winning streak of 4 (2x); victories over W. Silva, Couture, Herring, Franklin and Henderson

20. Guy Mezger

UFC LW Tournament Champion; King of Pancrase OPW Champion; 30-14-2; winning streaks of 6, 5, and 4; victories over Suzuki, Kondo (2x), Ortiz, and Funaki

21. Renato Sobral

36-9 at the end of 2010; winning streaks of 12, 10, 5, and 4; victories over Smith, Rua, Horn, Landi-Jons, Sonnen, and Lawler

22. Jeremy Horn

89-21-5; winning streaks of 21, 15, 6 (2x), 5 (3x), and 4; victories over Liddell, Griffin, Sonnen (3x), and Vitale; draw with Severn

23. Vladimir Matyushenko

27-7; winning streaks of 8 and 7; victories over Kondo, Rogerio, and Rizzo

24. Yuki Kondo

46-20-6 after KO loss to Prangley; winning streaks of 7, 6, and 4 (5x); victories over Suzuki, F. Shamrock, Mezger, and Funaki

25. Jerry Bohlander

UFC LW Tournament Champion; 10-4; 5 fight winning streak; victory over K. Jackson

Honorable Mention:

(a) Kevin Jackson was a UFC MW Tournament Champion

I think #1-14 are fighters who had definite Hall of Fame caliber careers. I would also add Belfort when considering accomplishments at other weights. I think Overeem and Arona would be borderline.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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