The UFC’s light heavyweight division is unquestionably the most tumultuous in the organization; the 205lb Championship belt has changed hands five times since 2007 alone. The division is host to former champions Rashad Evans, Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, veterans like Rich Franklin, Brandon Vera, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Tito Ortiz, and Vladimir Matyushenko and not to mention young up-and-comers like Jon “Bones” Jones, Phil Davis and Ryan Bader.
Many of those men are scheduled to fight each other in order to provide a clear picture of the light heavyweight title picture but some of them, most notably the endlessly talented Jon Jones, still sit on the cusp with their actual positions in the division unclear. UFC President Dana White recently gave an interview to The Fight Fix where he touched on Jones’ status in the division, as many believe the 23-year old phenom is due a title shot or at least a fight against a legitimate top ten fighter.
“Here’s the thing: right now that whole division is in a stalemate,” White said. “‘Shogun’s’ knee’s blown, we’re waiting for him to come back, either mid-Spring or early Summer. Rashad [Evans] is gonna sit on the sidelines and wait for him to fight that fight. Forrest Griffin is hurt. Rich Franklin is hurt. The fight between [Lyoto] Machida and ‘Rampage’ is gonna happen. ‘Little Nog’ is fighting.”
White has mentioned previously that the UFC has been looking to slow-track Jones in order to provide him the necessary experience to one day sit among the division’s elite. For now though, “Bones'” position looks to be on the sidelines.
“When you think, ‘This guy belongs in the top 8. He should fight anybody in the top 8′–all those guys are on hold right now,” said White. “We’re gonna have to wait and see what happens.”
Jones is currently 11-1 as a professional fighter with his one loss coming via somewhat controversial disqualification (illegal elbow) against Matt Hamill in a fight that Jones was very clearly dominating. He holds notable Andre Gusmao, Stephan Bonnar, Jake O’Brien, Brandon Vera, and most recently, Vladimir Matyushenko.