Rashad Evans is atop the UFC’s most stacked and electrifying division, and looks to be there for a long time. The only question is who is next to challenge the dominant champ? The past three champions (Griffin, Jackson, Liddell) two of which are knockout victims of Evans, are a few fights away from a shot at regaining the gold. The next wave of younger, undefeated, fighters seem to be the most likely contenders, with Lyoto Machida ahead by a nose.
While Machida is impressive at 14-0 would a fight with Evans be worth the $50, or a trip to an over-crowded Buffalo Wild Wings? The answer would be YES for those of us wishing to see another high light reel knockout by Evans.
Another possible contender would be Rampage Jackson, who is coming off an emphatic, emotional knockout of long time foe Wanderlei Silva. This could set the stage for a slug fest, but I think Rampage is a few knockout victories away from being in title contention.
So with Evans making short work of an aging Chick Liddell and leaving Forrest Griffin, who is famous for being able to take a beating, puzzled at the Mic with Joe Rogan, who will step up to this kid? Unfortunately time is running out on some of the more popular names in this division and others have already been victimized by Sugar. Therefore, before meeting a worthy adversary, we could see a line of unproven middle weights added to Evans’ win column.
Some such mid level talent in this category could be up and comers Ryan Bader (TUF 8), if he can continue his undefeated ways, or the young multi faceted Jon Jones, who had an impressive win over Stephen Bonnar at UFC 94. But let’s face it. Both are still years and many fights away.
This changing of guard may not be something that will be welcomed by all fans of the UFC but it is inevitable. With questions already arising about Chuck Liddell in his old age and the mileage adding up on both Wanderlei Silva, as well as Rampage Jackson, one must question how long these popular fighters can stay in the game. With the two aforementioned fighters it is not about age as much as the amount of battles these two gladiators have endured (42 and 36 Respectively). One must question how much more the bodies of these specimens can handle. Soon, UFC fans are going to have to find new house hold names.
Although the UFC surprises have been plentiful with anyone winning on any given day and Dana White has an unfathomable ability to pick the right fights on the right nights. This Light Heavyweight title seems to be a bigger journeyman than Steve Perry. With all these things considered, with any fighter in this stacked division being able to dethrone the champ with a quick right or a solid ground game it seems highly unlikely that we will see a dynasty type champion, but I believe that Sugar will remain on top for a while.