Fighters.com’s Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin (16-4) won a decision over second-ranked “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (28-7), but was TKO’d by seventh-ranked “Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (13-4-1).
Henderson knocked out sixth-ranked “Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (32-8-1), but lost the aforementioned decision to Jackson.
Silva knocked out Jardine and has two TKOs of Jackson from PRIDE, but got knocked out by Henderson and lost a decision to Liddell.
Which leads me back to Jardine, who TKO’d Champ Griffin before he was Champ and won a decision over Liddell, only to be kayoed by Wanderlei Silva in 36 seconds.
Somewhere in that mixed soup of wins and losses from one through seven in Fighters.com’s September Heavyweight Rankings there’s order. The following is Fighters.com’s version of it.
Conspicuously left out of the party is fifth-ranked “Dragon” Lyoto Machida (13-0). UFC President Dana White chose to match him down to formidable tenth-ranked Thiago Silva (13-0) rather than take his hard-earned shot at one of the division’s studs.
Evidently Machida still needs to prove himself while heavyweight Brock Lesnar (2-1) leap-frogged fifth-ranked “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (11-3-1) this week for a crack at returning UFC Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Famer “The Natural” Randy Couture (16-8) after going 1-1 in the Octagon. Hmmm…
After winning a UD over “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-5-1), Machida should’ve drawn Liddell to determine a true top contender to the UFC title; but, instead, Liddell will make his case for a UFC title shot Saturday in Atlanta versus unranked “Sugar” Rashad Evans (11-0-1). Hmmm…
Unfortunately, Henderson probably won’t return to the division he’s been most successful in the last two years.
September Light Heavyweight Rankings
1. Forrest Griffin (16-4)
“The Ultimate Fighter” is now truly the ultimate fighter after a close decision over Jackson, but now carries a target on his back in MMA’s most competitive division with Jackson, Liddell, and Machida taking aim.
2. “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (28-7)
Jackson returned from a 10-month holiday to lose a close UD to a hungry Griffin, but is 4-1 since bringing his “Rampage” to the cage. He’s out-wrestled Olympian Hendo and became the only man to put Liddell on ice twice.
3. “Hollywood” Dan Henderson (22-7)
To think 205 is Hendo’s other weight class is astounding. A UD to Vitor Belfort paved a path for him to hold the PRIDE belt after a KO of long-time champ Silva. Henderson came up just short of unifying titles in a slog with ‘Page. Until next time?
4. “Iceman” Chuck Liddell (21-5)
Liddell has faced the toughest schedule the last two years, but fell consecutively to Jackson and Jardine. He looked tough in his return to winning in the long-awaited face-off with Silva.
5. “Dragon” Lyoto Machida (13-0)
Versus Sokou, the undefeated “Dragon” proved he could fly high and finish; but, his UD over Tito Ortiz was back to boring. His measured style is as tough for opposition to decipher as it sometimes is for fans to watch. His “W” column reads like a who’s who of MMA, but Machida needs stoppages to excite.
6. “Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (32-8-1)
It’s been a bloody mess for “The Axe Murderer” the last two years, but a 36-second slaughter of Jardine in May means the division still has to deal with one of it’s most popular names.
7. “Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (13-4-1)
A 36-second knockout loss to Silva, the third time he’s been kayoed in under a minute, left the “Dean” exposed amidst a division of big punchers. But, wins over Liddell and Griffin keep him in the 205 mix.
8. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (5-2)
Sokou had been punching fighters out of their top ten ranking until he ran into Machida, but there’s no shame in tapping to “The Dragon”. Another big punch knocking out Kaz Nakamura in June stamped Sokou firmly in the top ten.
9. “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (16-3)
Whether injury, energy, or focus was the issue, Rua debuted in the UFC with a loss to then-struggling Griffin after earning the kudos of many with PRIDE wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem and Kazuhiro Nakamura. His injured knee leaves him out of active duty until December.
10. Thiago Silva (13-0)
Undefeated in four Octagon appearances, Silva was the first to expose Houston Alexander‘s ground game and recently made “Antonio Mendes scream “uncle” beneath a brutal first-round G’n'P barrage. He’s only seen the second round once in the last two years.