Sergio Non breaks down the division:
• Because Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva lost so convincingly to Machida already, the winner of their UFC 108 showdown will still need another victory over a big name to regain credibility.
• The same holds true for Randy Couture, whose decision victory over Brandon Vera at UFC 105 was too close for comfort.
• The enormously talented Jon Jones lacks a major win and will still lack one even if he beats Matt Hamill on Dec. 5.
• (Quinton “Rampage”) Jackson quit MMA to make movies.
• Keith Jardine, Tito Ortiz,Vera and Cane, have to restart after losing their last fights.
• Anderson Silva has no interest in facing Machida because of their friendship.
Non makes a strong case for Antonio Rogerio “Little Nog” Nogueira to be deserving of an immediate title shot against Machida. It’s hard to argue with that should Mauricio “Shogun” Rua take the belt in his May rematch with Machida, but it will be hard to get Nogueira to fight his friend Lyoto Machida.
Meanwhile, Thiago Silva makes a counter-case to Ariel Helwani arguing that he will earn a title shot with a win over Rashad Evans at UFC 108. I could see Dana White echoing Silva on this, if only to hype up what is otherwise a lackluster headliner for UFC 108. Perhaps the winner of Evans/Silva could face Nogueira in a true #1 contenders match next spring.
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