This past weekend at UFC Fight Night 37, Alexander Gustafsson cemented his #1 contender status to the UFC Light Heavyweight belt with a scintillating TKO victory over previously undefeated Jimi Manuwa. With the win, Gustafsson booked his ticket to another shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight belt.
Gustafsson will undoubtedly fight the winner of the UFC 172 title fight between Glover Teixeira and Jon Jones, but what about the rest of the upper echelon of the division? Today, I will clear up the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division and see what is on the horizon.
The Light Heavyweight division is arguably the thinnest and most top-heavy division in all of MMA. After Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, and Daniel Cormier the division is a complete crapshoot. A few upcoming bouts will help settle the waters of the division however.
At UFC 172, Anthony Johnson will return to the UFC’s Octagon as a Light Heavyweight. He will take on surging contender, Phil Davis, who has been on the sidelines since his UFC 163 victory over Lyoto Machida. The winner of this bout will likely fight Daniel Cormier for the #1 contender bout sometime this summer.
After that, the division is very paltry when it comes to contenders, leading many to believe that Jon Jones will leave for the Heavyweight division next year. Dan Henderson, Shogun Rua, and Rogerio Nogueira are all in the top ten even though they are clearly no where near a title shot and are on the downswing of their career.
Shogun and Henderson are set to rematch their epic UFC 139 battle at UFC Fight Night 38. The winner of that bout should fight Jimi Manuwa, who still has a lot of potential in the division. We will find out if the UFC finds contenders from elsewhere, but for now, this is the state of the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division.