1. Quinton Jackson
While competing in the Pride Fighting Championships, Jackson lost twice to Wanderlei Silva and once to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, two other top ten light heavyweights. But since the loss to Shogun, and upon his emergence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he has been a dominating force. Jackson has reeled off six straight victories including a TKO of former UFC champ Chuck Liddell and a unanimous decision over Dan Henderson, the former Pride champion.
2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Despite losing his most recent bout, a late-fight submission to Forrest Griffin, Shogun has set himself apart as a true force in the division. He is 12-2 over a four-year span, defeating the aforementioned Jackson, Ricardo Arona, Alistair Overeem, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, among others. Besides the loss to Griffin, his only other loss over that time period was due to a broken arm during a takedown attempt by Mark Coleman.
3. Dan Henderson
Henderson has finally been coerced by his camp and UFC president Dana White to move down to the 185-pound division to face champion Anderson Silva, but the move is not without resistance. He lost a decision to Jackson, but Henderson’s prior accomplishments in the 205-pound class include knocking out the venerable Wanderlei Silva and wins over the likes of Vitor Belfort, Murilo Bustamante, Yuki Kondo, Nakamura, and others.
4. Chuck Liddell
A recent split decision loss to Keith Jardine and the TKO loss to Jackson have taken the luster off of Liddell’s UFC dominance, but there’s a reason he’s still top ten material. Prior to his recent two-fight skid, he chalked up a seven-fight streak, finishing all seven opponents by either knockout or TKO. That streak included victories over Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz (twice each), Jeremy Horn, Vernon “Tiger” White, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. He’ll get a chance to reestablish himself when he faces Wanderlei Silva on Dec. 29.
5. Wanderlei Silva
Silva held the Pride 205-pound division championship for six years. He reeled off one stretch of 18 fights without a loss. He was knocked out in his last two fights, by Henderson at light heavyweight and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at heavyweight. His wins though include Arona, Jackson (twice), Kondo, Henderson, Nakamura, Hidehiko Yoshida, and Kazushi Sakuraba (three devastating times). Now training with Randy Couture, he will be looking at the Liddell fight as a chance for his own redemption.
6. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Five fights is not the typical level of experience of most top ten fighters. Sokoudjou isn’t your typical top ten fighter though. A product of Henderson’s Team Quest in California, his overall record is 4-1, but in his last two fights Sokoudjou knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Arona, both top ten fighters in their own right.
7. Keith Jardine
Despite stumbling against “Ultimate Fighter” veteran Stephan Bonnar and heavy-handed Houston Alexander, Jardine has gone 5-2 since emerging in the UFC. His recent split decision victory over Liddell sits atop successful performances against Forrest Griffin, Wilson Gouveia, and Mike Whitehead.
8. Forrest Griffin
Solidifying his place in history in a classic battle with Bonnar in the first “Ultimate Fighter” finale, Griffin has been on a roller-coaster ride since. His victories over Hector Ramirez, Elvis Sinosic, Bill Mahood, Bonnar (in a rematch), and most recently, Shogun, are divvied up with losses to Ortiz and Jardine.
9. Ricardo Arona
Amassing a 12-2 record to start off his career, Arona has lost three of his past four fights. A win over Overeem sits amid losses to Sokoudjou, Shogun, and Wanderlei Silva. He hasn’t fought since losing to Sokoudjou in April of this year, but all indications are that he is soon to be headed to the UFC.
10. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Once one of the most dominant fighters in the world with a 12-1 start to his career, including wins over Nakamura, Sakuraba, Overeem (twice), and Henderson; Nogueira has stumbled recently with losses to Sokoudjou and Shogun sandwiching his rematch victory against Overeem.