CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc. site: media | arena: mma | pageType: stories | He holds memorable wins at 205 pounds over Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba (three times), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (twice), Ricardo Arona, Keith Jardine and Brian Stann. But over a career that has spanned nearly a quarter century, Belfort was best-known for his work at light heavyweight and middleweight, which included a brief stint as UFC champion at 205 pounds in 2004. He would lose the belt in his next fight, running up against Jon Jones. The top star of PRIDE, willing to take on anyone and everyone including participating in openweight tournaments and fighting heavyweight wrecking machine Mirko Cro Cop. Then, the following September, he knocked off Ortiz to win the undisputed title. Evans' hit list is not only impressive, it remains somewhat underrated considering his wins over Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Phil Davis, Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. 1 in the division, the tangled and complicated rivalries and competitive eras made this one of the most compelling divisions we have ranked yet. He also came frighteningly close to submitting Jon Jones in their 2012 UFC title bout. It would be difficult to find someone with a deeper resume -- in both wins and losses -- of dangerous opponents faced. We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge. After an up-and-down start to his UFC career, Rua scored a knockout of Lyoto Machida to win the UFC light heavyweight belt in May 2010. Liddell started his career 20-3, winning the UFC light heavyweight title and defending it successfully four times. Short of beating bitter rival Jon Jones, there wasn't much else DC could've done to further cement himself as one of the greatest 205-pound fighters in history. Couture's career was mainly spent at heavyweight, but he made a huge mark as a two-time champion at 205 pounds. Silva was at his very best while defending the PRIDE middleweight title (the equivalent to UFC's light heavyweight division in terms of weight) at the turn of the century. With only a 2009 disqualification loss as the lone blemish on his resume (in a fight against Matt Hamill which he was handily winning), Jones has remained unvanquished despite a number of mishaps and distractions outside the cage. 4. Vitor Belfort: Known simply as "The Phenom," Belfort was just 19 when he exploded onto the UFC's heavyweight scene as MMA's answer to Mike Tyson in 1997. Subscribe to my podcast -- State of Combat with Brian Campbell -- where I break down everything you need to know in the Octagon. Jon Jones: "Bones" is not only the greatest 205-pound fighter in MMA history, he has a strong case for being the sport's G.O.A.T. 3. Complete UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings - #1: Daniel Cormier (19-1), #2: Alexander Gustafsson (18-4), #3: Jimi Manuwa (17-2), #4: Volkan Oezdemir (14-1), #5: Glover Teixeira … 3:28 pm ET, MK Dissected: How Brian Ortega scored the big win, Gaethje plans to 'ruin the day' of White, Khabib, more, Conor McGregor accepts date to fight Dustin Poirier, Bellator signs only bantamweight to beat Yan. 1. He would lose the championship to Vitor Belfort due to a freak cut on his eyelid but win the title back from Belfort one fight later. If he was known for anything else, it was a willingness to fight anyone, under any promotional banner at seemingly any weight class. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson: Despite just one world title reign that ended in less than one year, Jackson is one of the most iconic fighters in the history of the division. Those six men all made the cut as the CBS Sports experts debated and voted for the best light heavyweights in the history of the sport. Wanderlei Silva: If the "The Axe Murderer" was known for one thing, it was violence. Coming out on top in rivalries against Couture and Ortiz cemented him as the best UFC fighter of that generation, and the names on his resume are enough to overcome the sad 1-6 end to his career. "Rampage" also found success during his later years in Bellator MMA, winning a 2014 light heavyweight tournament. A knockout threat with all four limbs, Belfort fought for a UFC title at three different weight divisions and holds victories at light heavyweight over Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson and Dan Henderson. © 2004-2020 CBS Interactive. Aside from a loss due to a separated shoulder, Rua was undefeated in the PRIDE ring. Coming out on top in rivalries against Couture and Ortiz … While Jones was a clear-cut No. Can't get enough UFC? Jackson moved to the UFC and beat Liddell again, this time capturing the UFC light heavyweight championship. 8. Kazushi Sakuraba: Sakuraba is a product of the wild days of MMA. Let's take a look at the results of those votes -- cast by Brent Brookhouse, Brian Campbell, Jack Crosby and Brandon Wise -- and stay tuned in the coming weeks as we work our way through every weight class to determine who are the best fighters of all time.
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