Shogun is the GOAT.
At least, that’s what you, the Bloody Elbow readers have determined, as Mauricio Rua defeated Chuck Liddell to take a win in the finals of the BE’s Baddest tournament. Shogun had no issues at all with Liddell, winning by a wide margin, 42-11.
Shogun’s run through the tournament was impressive indeed, as despite that low score, Chuck actually had the 2nd highest point total against Rua, and was one of only two men to get votes in the double digits. Shogun was simply dominant in all fights. Except one.
That one was the controversial Jon Jones semifinal. Jones seemed like a lock to win this, but during the tournament itself he failed a test (again), was stripped of his title (again), and finally, for a significant number of you readers, his legacy inside the cage was no longer enough to overcome his issues outside. Not every reader was happy about it, but, well, democracy.
For my personal part, I’m not sure how to evaluate Jones, and steered clear of voting on his match-ups. That said, I’ve got no problems with Shogun winning. The man was dominant in Pride, and when they folded, he was the organization’s top fighter in the division, and the #1 in the world. He then dealt with knee injuries and had his main weapons taken away when he moved to a completely new rule set. And it threw him for a loop, as his first two UFC performances indicated he would go the way of so, so many other Pride veterans who couldn’t adjust. But then that changed and this new version of Shogun took out Lyoto Machida and became the champion and the best in the world, again. Very, very few in MMA have been to the top, been knocked way down, and made it back again in these kinds of circumstances. Does that make him the Light Heavyweight GOAT? It makes him at least #2 - and whether he’s #1 is entirely dependent on your views on Jones.
But enough of that - this was a solid tournament, with some good discussions. It was also the 2nd of our Divisional GOAT tournaments, as Shogun joins GOAT Lightweight BJ Penn as a BE’s Baddest champion.
Next up - Middleweight. Lots to talk about there these days, so get ready. See you shortly for that one.
Final tournament bracket (click to enlarge):
BE Baddest Light Heavyweight Full Bracket
Tournament graphics provided by June M. Williams.