During the leadup to UFC 214 between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier the storyline focused on just how important this fight was to the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Division and the possibility of it being between the two greatest Light Heavyweights ever. All of this talk got me wondering just who are the greatest light heavyweights of all time. After doing some wiki-researching and going into the deepest darkest caves of my twisted mind, I came up with my official list for top 5 UFC Light Heavyweights of all time.
The criteria that I used is pretty simple. Ranking fighters based on their notable wins, bad losses, and TDD (total duration of dominance). There was also consideration of performances at the end of fighters careers because as we know fighters normally hang around a bit too long and that sometimes skews the perception of fighters.
JMan’s Top 5 Light Heavyweights in UFC History
5. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (7-5)
Notable Wins: Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Lyoto Machida
Bad Losses: Ryan Bader
TDD: 2007 – 2011
Rampage doesn’t have many bad losses aside from Ryan Bader which happened at the end of his UFC tenure. He only fought the best of the best during his entire UFC career and if you take away his last two fights his 7-3 record is impressive. If he had more fights against poorly made wooden doors he’d likely make the number 1 spot on the list, but for now he is fifth.
4. Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz (15-11-1)
Notable Wins: Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans (draw)
Bad Losses: Ken Shamrock, Matt Hamill
Ortiz is one of the few fighters responsible for the success of the UFC. In the early days Tito Ortiz was likely the first name associated with the UFC from a fan’s perspective. His shortcomings against Chuck Liddell and dominance of Ken Shamrock shouldn’t be what defines his career. Instead his 15 years of fighting the top guys at Light Heavyweight should be something that garners him respect and admiration.
3. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (17-6)
Notable Wins: Tito Ortiz (2), Randy Couture (2), Vitor Belfort
Bad Losses: None
Liddell is such a fan favorite it’s hard to imagine that he only had a few great wins during his UFC days. A lot of his greatness comes from his pride days, but he was still a dominant fighter in the UFC. We all know how quickly Chuck’s jaw failed him, but up until that time he was a mix of a lethal overhand right, concrete jaw, and elite takedown defense.
2. “Suga” Rashad Evans ( 15-7-1)
Notable Wins: Tito Ortiz (draw), Forrest Griffin, Rampage Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Michael Bisping
Bad Losses: Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira (recent fights not weighed as heavily).
Rashad Evans was the first of the “new age” fighters in this division. He was an elite wrestler that also had elite striking and knockout power. Rashad dominated in the TUF house and the LHW division for many years. Unlike the fighters below him Rashad gained experience in the UFC against lesser competition so he wasn’t immediately thrown in against elite level fighters. That likely helped his dominance, but his list of notable wins is as good as anyone in any division.
1. Jon “Bones” Jones ( 17-1)
Notable Wins: Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier (2)
Bad Losses: Matt Hamill (DQ)
Not much to point out here. Jon Jones is the greatest UFC fighter of all time who happens to also be a light heavyweight. Jones has never really lost and dominates everyone he faces. When all’s said and done and guys like Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier get the recognition they deserve it will only make Jon Jones’ career that much more impressive.