After Forrest Griffin's systematic defeat of Rampage Jackson for the light-heavyweight championship, many questions remain in that division. At the forefront is the question of whether we will see the pay-per-view extravaganza of Liddell vs. Griffin. Some MMA fans feel it is already a foregone conclusion that the UFC couldn't pass up the revenue they would generate from matching up two of the most recognizable names in all of MMA. That is a very valid point and we all know that without PPV buys the UFC can't survive. But I'm not sold on the worthiness of Liddell getting a shot.
Granted, with an impending fight against Rashad Evans on the horizon, this may become a moot point if he loses. However, assuming he wins, should he be first in line to fight for the title? In my opinion, even with a decisive victory over Evans, it's still debatable. And not so much because of Liddell's last few fights, more so the fact that there are other fighters in the division that have stepped up. For instance, Lyoto Machida seems to be on the top of everyone's list these days when considering title contenders. On the contrary, it can be said that Machida's recent victories (over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Tito Ortiz) don't weigh as heavily as Liddell's overall track record of dominance in the division. Instead of the "what have you done for me lately" thinking, the UFC may instead be looking at Liddell's previous victories over number one contenders and also what he's meant to the UFC over the years. Regardless, now that Machida is scheduled to fight another top contender in Thiago Silva, we should certainly have some questions answered about both fighters.
In my eyes, now that both Machida and Liddell have top opponents before them, there should be a solid plan in place. I think a Jackson-Griffin rematch should have been the first order of business. But that might not be possible considering Jackson's recent arrest. With Jackson doubtful, I think the winner of Liddell-Evans fights the winner of Silva-Machida. If the stars align, we'll see Machida fight Liddell and the winner going on to fight Griffin at the end of the year.
-Personally, if we're going to have Machida and Liddell fight once more after their current bouts before getting a title shot, I think we have to have Quinton Jackson in the equation. He shouldn't get an immediate rematch, especially after his episode, but if he can get his head together he should at least get a chance to be in that Machida-Liddell match. I think maybe Silva vs. Jackson again and then if Machida loses to Silva or Liddell loses to Evans, the winner of Wanderlei Silva-Quinton Jackson can step into that match to see who faces Griffin. At least, that's how I would like to see it -- Mark