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411 MMA Rankings 12.17.13: Light Heavyweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 12.17.2013





It's Tuesday and we're smack dab in the middle of the final week of 2013 without any major holidays. This is the 411 MMA Rankings and we're checking out the light heavyweight division at a time when fresh blood is moving on up and the established names are fighting to stay relevant.

With only one more show on tap before the end of the year, it's safe to look ahead to the new year at the lengthy list of official fights already booked. From Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira to Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa and in Bellator, Emanuel Newton vs. Attila Vegh.

Of those, the most anticipated for me is easily Evans and Cormier, as it marks the latter's MMA debut at 205-pounds. Undefeated as a heavyweight, the former Olympic wrestler is stepping right into the thick of things against former champion Evans, who is fresh off wins against Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. Rashad's striking against Cormier, will it be successful? Can Rashad take the fight to the ground if he shoots in? Will the weight cut plague Cormier's debut? Certainly, the winner could step right into the mix against either Jones or (lol) Teixeira, too; sorry Gustaffson.

Someone who will not be in the mix for a title fight, at all, is Dan Henderson. The former multi-time Pride and Strikeforce champion suffered the first knockout of his career courtesy of a Vitor Belfort kick to the cranium. Plus, as I detail later on, Hendo is in the process of trying to earn another UFC contract as he looks to end his current three-fight losing streak sometime in 2014.

That's a bit depressing, no? On the bright side, we were all able to see Shogun Rua look incredible earlier this month. I'm not one to root against the majority of fighters but Shogun is one guy I cannot figure out why anyone would want to see him fail. Certainly, between his injury history and shortcomings in his legendary career, there's been a fair share of negative moments. Yet, when we get to see him throwing violent strikes with great precision again, it's almost nostalgic, as it was slightly seeing him knock out James Te-Huna this month. He may never find himself in another title fight again, but if he can provide us with similar achievements for however long he continues to compete, I'll take it.


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RANKINGS FROM ONE YEAR AGO
(11.27.12)


1. Jon Jones

2. Dan Henderson

3. Shogun Rua

4. Rashad Evans

5. Lyoto Machida

6. Phil Davis

7. Alexander Gustafsson

8. Ryan Bader

9. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

10. Gegard Mousasi

11. Forrest Griffin

12. Glover Teixeira

13. Quinton Jackson

14. Vinny Magalhaes

15. Stanislav Nedkov






411's MMA Ranking Rules

- Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.






411's Official MMA Rankings: Light Heavyweight Division


Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs)





1) Jon "Bones" Jones (19-1)


Height: 6'4

Birthday: July 19, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Alexander Gustafsson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson - September 21, 2013

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Vitor Belfort - Win via submission (americana) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Rashad Evans - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

- vs. Lyoto Machida - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida - December 10, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Glover Teixeira - UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira - April 12, 2014





2) Alexander Gustafsson (15-2)


Height: 6'5

Birthday: January 15, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jon Jones - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson - September 21, 2013

- vs. Shogun Rua - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Thiago Silva - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Silva - April 14, 2012

- vs. Vladimir Matyushenko - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Matt Hamill - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jimi Manuwa - UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa - March 8, 2014





3) Glover Teixeira (22-2)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: October 28, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ryan Bader - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader - September 4, 2013

- vs. James Te-Huna - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Big Foot 2 - May 25, 2013

vs. Quinton Jackson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 6: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Fabio Maldonado - Win via TKO (many, many strikes) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Kyle Kingsbury - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC 146: dos Santos vs. Mir - May 26, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jon Jones - UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira - April 12, 2014




4) Rashad Evans (19-3-1)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: September 25, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Dan Henderson - Win via decision (split) - UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson - June 15, 2013

- vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Jon Jones - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

- vs. Phil Davis - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Daniel Cormier - UFC 170: Evans vs. Cormier - February 22, 2014





5) Phil Davis (12-1, 1 No Contest)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: September 25, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Lyoto Machida - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie - August 3, 2013

- vs. Vinny Magalhaes - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Wagner Prado - Win via submission (anaconda choke) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Wagner Prado - No Contest (eye poke) - UFC on Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera - August 4, 2012

- vs. Rashad Evans - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




6) Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: August 1, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ilir Latifi - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Mousasi vs. Latifi - April 6, 2013

- vs. Mike Kyle - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine - January 12, 2013

- vs. Ovince St. Preux - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal - December 17, 2011

- vs. Hiroshi Izumi - Win via TKO (strikes) - DREAM 17 - July 16, 2011

- vs. Keith Jardine - Draw (majority) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley - April 9, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Lyoto Machida - UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi - February 15, 2013

Comment: Mousasi is returning to middleweight for a big February fight with Lyoto Machida and he's going where the bigger fights are. The decision was made to leave him in our 205-pound rankings this week because I'm not 100% certain he's through with this division. In any event, Machida/Mousasi is an awesome fight!



7) Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: June 2, 1976

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Rashad Evans - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Tito Ortiz - Win via TKO (body strikes) - UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida - December 10, 2011

- vs. Phil Davis - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis - March 26, 2011

- vs. Ryan Bader - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop - September 25, 2010

- vs. Jason Brilz - Win via decision (split) - UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans - May 29, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Lil' Nog may be able to return to action as early as May or June according to manager Ed Soares. The injury-plagued Brazilian has been out of action in recent months due to a back injury.




8) Daniel Cormier (13-0)


Birthday: March 20, 1979

Height: 5'9

Weight: 239

Currently fighting with: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Roy Nelson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. JDS 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs. Frank Mir - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Dion Staring - Win via TKO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Seffiedine - January 12, 2013

- vs. Josh Barnett - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier - May 19, 2012

- vs. Antonio Silva - Win via KO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov - September 10, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rashad Evans - UFC 170: Evans vs. Cormier - February 22, 2014

Comment: Cormier makes his 205-pound pro fighting debut in February and we inserted him into our rankings perhaps a bit early. We project him to be one of the top 10 fighters in his new division and as mentioned earlier, he gets a stiff test immediately out of the gate. Has he been overly impressive since coming to the UFC? Not as he was in Strikeforce, that's not debatable. Now, he hasn't been in any danger of losing, either, but Rashad Evans will try to be the first man to knock Cormier on his ass. Let's face it, that's the only way he can stop DC, right?




9) Dan Henderson (29-11)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: August 24, 1970

Currently Fighting With: Free Agent

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Vitor Belfort - Loss via KO (head kick) - UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Belfort - November 9, 2013

- vs. Rashad Evans - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson - June 15, 2013

- vs. Lyoto Machida - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- vs. Shogun Rua - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Fedor Emelianenko - Win via TKO (strikes) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: It was an unfortunate sight to see but for the first time in his legendary career, Dan Henderson was knocked out following a Vitor Belfort head kick. Hendo is now on a three-fight losing streak and without a contract as his UFC deal expired following the loss. If they have not done so already, the company will talk with him about future plans and whether they can come to terms on money that makes sense.




10) Chael Sonnen (29-14-1)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: April 3, 1977

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Rashad Evans - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Shogun Rua - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Jon Jones - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen - April 27, 2013

- vs. Anderson Silva - Loss via TKO (knee and punches) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen - July 7, 2012

- vs. Michael Bisping - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




11) "The Hardcore Kid" Emanuel Newton (22-7-1)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: January 2, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. King Mo Lawal - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 106 - November 2, 2013

- vs. Mikhail Zayats - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 94 - March 28, 2013

- vs. King Mo Lawal - Win via KO (spinning backfist) - Bellator 90 - February 21, 2013

- vs. Atanas Djambazov - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

- vs. Attila Vegh - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 72 - July 20, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Attila Vegh - Bellator - 2014

Comment: Newton did not leave any question as to whether he was the better fighter in the cage last month when he defeated King Mo Lawal for the second time this year. With the win, he is the Bellator interim champion and sets up a unification bout with champ Attila Vegh sometime next year.




12) Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (22-8)


Birthday: November 25, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. James Te-Huna - Win via KO (punch) - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - December 7, 2013

- vs. Chael Sonnen - Loss via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Alexander Gustafsson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Brandon Vera - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera - August 4, 2012

- vs. Dan Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Shogun scored the biggest knockout in Australia 10 days ago when he knocked out James Te-Huna in just 63 seconds. Ironically, dating all the way back to 2007, in each of Rua's seven wins, each fight was finished due to strikes. Now, let's find out whether he can look as healthy and dangerous when he returns next year.




13) Ryan Bader (16-4)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: June 7, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Anthony Perosh - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot - December 7, 2013

- vs. Glover Teixeira - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader - September 4, 2013

- vs. Vladimir Matyushenko - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Lyoto Machida - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC on Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera - August 4, 2012

- vs. Quinton Jackson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (hand)

Comment: Bader destroyed Anthony Perosh earlier this month and by all means, it should have been stopped at some point. For whatever reason, the referee decided it could continue, and it did. During the three-round smashing, Bader broke his hand and underwent surgery last week. Barring something unforeseen in recovery, he should be able to return to routine training by February.




14) Attila Vegh (29-4-2)


Height: 6'2

Birthday: August 9, 1985

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Christian M'Pumbu - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 91 - February 28, 2013

- vs. Travis Wiuff - Win via KO (strikes) - Bellator 73 - August 24, 2012

- vs. Emanuel Newton - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 72 - July 20, 2012

- vs. Zelg Galesic - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 71 - June 22, 2012

- vs. Dan Spohn - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 66 - April 20, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Emanuel Newton - Bellator - 2014



15) Jimi Manuwa (14-0)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: February 18, 1980

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ryan Jimmo - Win via TKO (injury) - UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz - October 26, 2013

- vs. Cyrille Diabate - Win via TKO (injury) - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

- vs. Kyle Kingsbury - Win via TKO (doctor stoppage) - UFC on Fuel: Struve vs. Miocic - September 29, 2012

- vs. Anthony Rea - Win via TKO (did not answer bell) - BAMMA 8 - December 10, 2011

- vs. Nick Chapman - Win via TKO (knees) - UCMMA 24 - October 22, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Alexander Gustafsson - UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa - March 8, 2014

Comment: Manuwa scored another win due to his opponent suffering an injury in October as Ryan Jimmo could not continue after his leg was hurt. With his 14th consecutive pro win, Manuwa is taking a massive step up because he's headlining the UFC's March show in London against the second best fighter in the division, Alexander Gustafsson.





Final Notes: Quinton Jackson and Anthony Johnson received additional votes.





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