T Nation

Let's Talk UFC's Light-Heavies

This is the deepest division in the UFC (or really in all of MMA) today. It’s incredibly deep, and a lot of people (me included) feel that the current LHW champ doesn’t deserve to be in that seat and won’t be there for long.

So who should get the next shot and who wins it?

Who is THE best in the LHW division right now, regardless of who holds the belt?

The legit top contenders for the title shot right now (in no particular order) are:

– Rampage

– Machida

– Chuck

– Wanderlei

– Shogun – IF he comes back with a convincing win over a top-tier opponent, then he should be thought of as being right in there.

– MAYBE Rashad (but only if he beats Chuck tomorrow – not likely).

I think it’s a crying travesty that Rampage wasn’t given an immediate rematch given how stupidly close his fight with Forrest was, and the fact that lots of people, me included, had Rampage winning that fight any way you count it. (Let’s not get into rehashing the scoring of it again though). It would certainly still be a huge moneymaker – probably even moreso than their first fight. And if Rampage goes in with the mindset of actually FIGHTING, i.e. follows a sensible gameplan and shows some fucking AGGRESSION, it’s lights-out for Forrest.

Everyone says “Machida deserves a title shot, Machida deserves a title shot!” but I disagree. Yes, he’s undefeated, but he hasn’t fought a top-level opponent yet. With one more victory – this one over either Chuck, Rampage, Wanderlei or Shogun – THEN I’d say they should give him a shot.

Chuck – if you look at him ASIDE from all the other contenders – on paper probably deserves a shot, since he recently held the title for SO freakin’ long, and he will have now had two wins in a row, one of them over Wanderlei-fucking-Silva. BUT, if you look at him relative to the others in the division, he doesn’t deserve one more than, say, Rampage. So I see him as being next in line behind Rampage at this point.

And Shogun has to come in and beat at least one, maybe 2, top-tier opponents before he’s given a shot. He’s just been out of the whole picture too long, and his last fight was a loss. But everyone knows that, if he’s ever fully back on his game, he’s a pretty un-fucking-believable fighter and is as capable as anyone in that division.

Thoughts?

Yeah, I’m a real effective conversation starter. I know. :wink:

Machida is scheduled to fight Thiago Silva I’m pretty sure. I’m with you about Rampage, is he comes back with a solid game plan then Forrest is toast. I’ve read some rumors of Rampage and Shogun fighting again though. We all know the UFC wants to give Chuck a title shot, and if (when?) he beats Rashad I could definitely see that happening. I really want to see if Anderson Silva sticks around at LHW because I could see him doing some damage there.

Machida is very good fighter, and the level of opposition he has met is pretty good, but I don’t think he’s as good as his record implies UNTIL he wins against one of the other LHW top contenders. And the match with Tito Ortiz doesn’t count. At the moment he may be better than Chuck and Wanderlei (I believe so), but he is worse PPV draw, and that’s factor too.

Shogun is one of the guys I really like, his fights are fuckin great. He destroys his opponents and it looks like he still has room to improve. But Forrest beat him fair and square. Shogun will get his title shot, though, we’ll wait and see when, maybe after match with Rampage?

And talking about Rampage, he definitely got a strategy against Forrest, the whoop-ass strategy, LOL. Physically the strongest fighter from the current crop, it seems. He and Shogun are the guys I sympathize the most in the LHW division, but with the problems Rampage got in his personal life, maybe he won’t be able to show 100% of his capabilities.

Wanderlei and Chuck I would rank slightly under the already mentioned, but both of them are capable of finishing the match in a second, and the fans love them, so it won’t be surprise if one of them gets an opportunity before Rua or Machida.

Strong rumors are that the next fight for Wanderlei and Rampage will be against each other. And as good as I think Rampage is nowadays when he’s on, I can’t see the fight going any differently than their previous two fights against each other. Wanderlei just has a few tools in his style that Rampage doesn’t really know how to neutralize. And Rampage doesn’t seem to be looking to find trainers or coaches or a camp that would add anything new to his own arsenal. If he put some serious effort into learning some Muay Thai and some Jiu Jitsu he could be the best ever in that division.

But you never know.

This is exactly why I don’t think he was entitled to a re-match. He fucked off in his training camp. He took 9 months off totally from training. He didn’t fight as hard as he should have.

Hard to feel bad for a guy who doesn’t care enough about himself to put the time in the gym he needs to remain champion.

[quote]USMCpoolee wrote:
Machida is scheduled to fight Thiago Silva I’m pretty sure. I’m with you about Rampage, is he comes back with a solid game plan then Forrest is toast. I’ve read some rumors of Rampage and Shogun fighting again though. We all know the UFC wants to give Chuck a title shot, and if (when?) he beats Rashad I could definitely see that happening. I really want to see if Anderson Silva sticks around at LHW because I could see him doing some damage there.
[/quote]

Machida Silva is off. Silva hurt his back.

Forrest
Rampage
Shogun
Machida
W silva
Chuck

There are actually a lot of good fights below this too.

Vera
Sokoudjou
T Silva
Jardine
Evans
Hammill
Franklin
Irvin
Alexander

The match-up that would make for a good fight are almost endless. Then you throw A Silva in the mix. How sweet would a tournament be for this division?

[quote]mldj wrote:
Machida is very good fighter, and the level of opposition he has met is pretty good, but I don’t think he’s as good as his record implies UNTIL he wins against one of the other LHW top contenders. And the match with Tito Ortiz doesn’t count. At the moment he may be better than Chuck and Wanderlei (I believe so), but he is worse PPV draw, and that’s factor too.
[/quote]

Ok, I’ll bite, why doesn’t Machida’s bout with Tito count? What of his destruction of Sokoudjo, he was being touted as a top contender at the time. Tito fought for the title, defeated the current LHW champ…I don’t know, at this point in time I think Machida is due his shot - from the perspective of who has earned it, not from a perspective of who will create the biggest PPV or gate.

I really think Chuck and Machida should have been headlining today’s card with the winner getting the next shot. Of all the guys out there who have impressive records but haven’t quite fought and defeated named opponents, Rashad sticks out. So now he gets his opportunity, but its an instant springboard to a title shot rather than grinding it out the way Machida has.

205lbs Grand Prix anyone?

Seriously, why the hell isn’t this happening?

Machida’s victory over Tito “counts” – but it only counts as what it was: a victory over a non-top-10 opponent. Same with Sokoudjou. He should have to beat one of the top 4 or 5 guys (at least) before getting a title shot.

I do agree that it should probably be Machida who gets a shot at Liddell (the winner of which will almost certainly get a title shot) rather than Rashad, not because Rashad’s on-paper record doesn’t justify him having the chance to fight Chuck, but because I believe that almost anyone would agree that Machida is a more capable fighter than Rashad, and if the two fought Machida would win.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
mldj wrote:
Machida is very good fighter, and the level of opposition he has met is pretty good, but I don’t think he’s as good as his record implies UNTIL he wins against one of the other LHW top contenders. And the match with Tito Ortiz doesn’t count. At the moment he may be better than Chuck and Wanderlei (I believe so), but he is worse PPV draw, and that’s factor too.

Ok, I’ll bite, why doesn’t Machida’s bout with Tito count? What of his destruction of Sokoudjo, he was being touted as a top contender at the time. Tito fought for the title, defeated the current LHW champ…I don’t know, at this point in time I think Machida is due his shot - from the perspective of who has earned it, not from a perspective of who will create the biggest PPV or gate.

I really think Chuck and Machida should have been headlining today’s card with the winner getting the next shot. Of all the guys out there who have impressive records but haven’t quite fought and defeated named opponents, Rashad sticks out. So now he gets his opportunity, but its an instant springboard to a title shot rather than grinding it out the way Machida has. [/quote]

[quote]slimjim wrote:
I really think Chuck and Machida should have been headlining today’s card with the winner getting the next shot. Of all the guys out there who have impressive records but haven’t quite fought and defeated named opponents, Rashad sticks out. So now he gets his opportunity, but its an instant springboard to a title shot rather than grinding it out the way Machida has. [/quote]

Rashad is fighting Chuck to ensure that Chuck gets another shot at the title. Chuck has made a career out of beating wrestlers. He is being spoon fed Rashad. They are not going to put chuck in against another striker and rist a KO. They want him to fight forest for the title before he hangs it up. Concidering this guy was the face of the organization for a long time, I think he deserves a chance to go out on top.

Ooo-kay then!

NOW where does the division stand?

I still say the next title shot goes to Rampage. Immediate rematch.

Have Rashad fight Machida.

Have Wandy fight Henderson (if he’s willing to go back up to 205). HOPEFULLY that will happen. If not, have Wandy fight Vera (much less interesting though).

Have Shogun fight Sokoudjou.

The next title shot after THAT (i.e. to face the winner of Rampage vs. Griffin) will be:

Wandy if he beats Hendo, regardless of the outcome of the Rashad vs. Machida fight.

OR,

If Hendo beats Wanderlei, then the winner of Rashad/Machida gets the title shot. (One more win isn’t enough for Hendo to have a title shot at 205, IMO).

Oh, and Chuck retires.

[quote]Damici wrote:
Ooo-kay then!

NOW where does the division stand?

I still say the next title shot goes to Rampage. Immediate rematch.

Have Rashad fight Machida.
[/quote]
I think Machida needs to fight sooner than that. He would have to get a fight soon with someone else.

I really want to see Henderson staty at 185 and get another shot at Silva.

[quote]
Have Shogun fight Sokoudjou.

The next title shot after THAT (i.e. to face the winner of Rampage vs. Griffin) will be:

Wandy if he beats Hendo, regardless of the outcome of the Rashad vs. Machida fight.

OR,

If Hendo beats Wanderlei, then the winner of Rashad/Machida gets the title shot. (One more win isn’t enough for Hendo to have a title shot at 205, IMO).

Oh, and Chuck retires.[/quote]

I think shogun rampage wich I think has already been rumored.

If they want forest to fight soon they don’t have many options. Rashad, Machida if he fight soona and wins, or wandy. I think it will probably end up being Rashad or Machida and then the winner of Rampage/Shogun. I guess they could change the Rampage/Shogun fight and put Rampage in with Forest.

I just noticed that there are really no jujitsu guys at 205. What’s the deal there?

I hate that Thiago Silva is out for Machida fight…I was really looking forward to that.

[quote]Damici wrote:

– MAYBE Rashad (but only if he beats Chuck tomorrow – not likely).

Thoughts?[/quote]

Ouch! He is so under estimated!

[quote]streamline wrote:
Damici wrote:

– MAYBE Rashad (but only if he beats Chuck tomorrow – not likely).

Thoughts?

Ouch! He is so under estimated![/quote]

I guess. That fight was uneventful except for the shot that ended the fight. Like Evans was just waiting for that opening. Rampage caught Liddell with an overhand right. Liddell did not fix his low hands.

Where does chuck go from here?

Home. I think he’s too set in his ways at this point to be willing to learn many new tricks, and if he doesn’t become much more well-rounded and multi-skilled I think he’s going to continue to get beaten. If nothing else than be guys who just have better traditional boxing skills (as Rampage and Rashad demonstrated to a degree), nevermind someone like an Anderson Silva.

I think he should hang it up. It was a great run.

[quote]Dirty Tiger wrote:
Where does chuck go from here?[/quote]

[quote]Dirty Tiger wrote:
Where does chuck go from here?[/quote]

He can only fight white guys from now on.