MCGRATH: Ranking MMA’s top ten light heavyweights

By David McGrath, MMATorch Contributor

Jon Jones (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

Editor’s note: David McGrath has chosen not to consider Daniel Cormier for these light heavyweight rankings as UFC intends to strip him of his title come Dec. 29 and his upcoming fight prospects are at heavyweight.

1. Jon Jones

At this point Jones has to be considered the best Light heavyweight in the world. His last win against Daniel Cormier was impressive. He has 2 wins against Cormier and One win against my #2 Alexander Gustaffson. Performance enhancers aside, It’s still Jonny’s division.

2. Alexander Gustafsson

Gus has lost to both Cormier and Jones. Gustafsson was incredibly impressive in a razor thin decision loss to Jones in 2013. All the money is on the line in a few weeks at UFC 232 with the much anticipated rematch with ”Bones”

3. Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader (photo credit Troy Taormina © USA Today Sports)

I rank Bader this high because he was so impressive in his win against Matt Mitrone in his last outing. If he can beat Fedor on Jan. 26, I may slide Bader to #2 that’s how high I am on Bader. I would love to see what Bader could do against some UFC heavyweights and cannot help but fantasy book him against the likes of Cormier and Stipe, Bader has the fight of his life in two months. We will see.

4. Anthony Smith

Smith is coming on strong. Based on what happens at UFC 232, I could see Johnson having a main event title matchup with Jones or Gustafsson by next summer.

5. Jan Blachowicz

The polish fighter is dangerous. His last 3 wins were against Jared Cannonier, Jimi Manuwa and Nikita Krylov. All impressive. Blachowicz needs one more quality win, but I see him fighting for the title one day if he remains on this pace.

6. Ilir Latifi

Ilir Latifi (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USAToday Sports)

Let’s hope Latifi, who has been injured before, makes it to UFC 232. Impressively beating Ovince St. Preux has helped him a tonne. The cancelled Glover Teixeira bout hurt him. A win over Corey Anderson will shake up the rankings a bit for Latifi, who is supremely talented.

7. Volkan Oezdemir

I was impressed by Volkan’s first round knockout of Jimi Manuwa. I wish he did not break his nose and had to cancel his fight with Alexander Gustafsson. I think that would have been an interesting fight. Losing to Anthony Smith carries no shame, but we need a big win from Volkan to continue ranking in the top ten.

8. Dominick Reyes

Dominick Reyes is impressive. Since his debut he has won four straight fights. His most impressive wins were Jared Cannonier and Ovince St. Preux. I am looking for Reyes to have a big fight booked soon. He is on the rise.

9. Jimi Manuwa

Corey Anderson vs. Jimi Manuwa (photo credit Steve Flynn © USA Today Sports)

Losing Two in a row hurts for Manuwa. Manuwa is a fun fighter to watch. Manuwa needs to bounce back against Thiago Santos to remain in the top ten.


10. Mauricio Rua

I was thoroughly impressed with Shogun’s latest win . It was enough for him to break back into my top ten. Rua is a legend and a warrior and a former light heavyweight champion.

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