UFC: The Light Heavyweight Predicament
By Dylan Jones
The light heavyweight division used to be UFC’s go to division, with icons such as Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture & more. But in recent years we have seen a lack in new top contenders & the same fighters recycled over and over, leaving it as one of the more plain divisions in the UFC. Thankfully, now with the likes of Anthony Smith & Dominick Reyes entering the rankings, it gives us a bit more hope going into the future.
On December 29th we witnessed Jon Jones return to the UFC to retain the belt he never lost inside the cage, in a long-awaited rematch at UFC 232, in which he defeated Alexander Gustafsson via TKO to once again wear UFC gold.
Before then we had Daniel Cormier as champ, but he was made to relinquish the belt due to him being the heavyweight champion and no defence in sight. Now since Jones has re-won the belt, people have been wondering who his next fight will be, the biggest rumours are that he will move up to heavyweight and fight DC a third time, or that he will defend his belt against Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith.
Other contenders such as Corey Anderson & Thiago Santos are not happy that they are not guaranteed next in line, here’s my own brief overview of each fighter and what I think they need to do to secure a title shot.
Now this ones a tricky one, for starters, I would have no problem in Lionheart getting a title shot but I believe he needs to redeem his loss to Thiago Santos which occurred at 185lb last year, seeing as he was also finished. I think redeeming this loss will solidify his spot as next contender, which leads us onto our next contender.
Another surging light heavyweight contender, Santos has been very active over the 2018 period, bursting into the 205 scene with a TKO victory over Eryk Anders in the main event of Fight Night 137. Since then he has fought another time at 205, knocking out Jimi Manuwa at UFC 231. Now as of writing this article, Santos is booked to headline the UFC Prague cars in February against Jan Błachowicz. If he wins this fight I still do not believe he’s ready for a shot, but another win over another top contender like Anthony Smith should skyrocket him straight up to be next in line.
Now, Corey Anderson in my own opinion is long overdue a title shot, after recently beating #5 ranked Ilir Latifi at UFC 232, Anderson has never been more ready & deserving for a title shot in his career. After exchanging words with Jon Jones on Twitter recently, it seemed as if that fight may come together, but the rumours fizzled away as Jones posted that he was studying Anthony Smith, leading to the speculation towards a Smith fight, which some outlets are already saying is a done deal. Corey has put on great showing against top contenders & typically comes out on top.