LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (205-185)
1. Quinton Jackson (Pictures) (28-6-0)
"Rampage" has worked past the troubles that haunted him after a tough series of fights in PRIDE, the last of which saw him go down in defeat to "Shogun" Rua. The exciting and flamboyant UFC light heavyweight put himself on the map by blasting out Chuck Liddell (Pictures) in less than two minutes. He followed that with a hard-fought victory over Dan Henderson (Pictures) on Sept. 8. Next up, Rampage looks to become a crossover star as he'll coach alongside Forrest Griffin (Pictures) as part of the next season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
2. Dan Henderson (Pictures) (22-6-0)
Undersized for the division, Dan Henderson (Pictures) is not a known name amongst many casual MMA fans. A scrappy former Olympic wrestler who has worked hard to integrate a dangerous striking game punctuated by one of the best right hands in the sport, Henderson has continually defied the odds against heavier opposition. His 25-minute war against Jackson is indicative of how tough the 37-year-old Henderson can be. Henderson slides up two spots. News of a fight with Anderson Silva at 185 pounds would suggest that Henderson will focus on the middleweight division, where he was previously ranked and subsequently dropped because of inactivity.
3. Keith Jardine (Pictures) (13-3-1)
Proof that a good game plan and a quality fight camp can get you far in MMA, Keith Jardine (Pictures) enjoyed the benefits of both on Sept. 22 in out-pointing former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures). Like Liddell, "The Dean of Mean" was returning to the ring for the first time since suffering a brutal knockout loss, but Jardine showed no ill effects in winning. Wanderlei Silva (Pictures)'s loss to Chuck Liddell (Pictures) allows Jardine to climb one spot, from fourth to third.
4. Forrest Griffin (Pictures) (15-4-0)
An enormous win over "Shogun" validated Griffin in September, and now Griffin will have the enormous chance to add to both his celebrity and résumé as he takes on a coaching role on the seventh season of "The Ultimate Fighter," which will culminate in a title clash against Quinton Jackson (Pictures). Silva's loss to Liddell allows Griffin to rise one slot, from fifth to fourth.
5. Chuck Liddell (Pictures) (21-5)
After back-to-back disappointing losses to Quinton Jackson (Pictures) and Keith Jardine (Pictures), Liddell was in a must-win situation in his long-awaited showdown with Wanderlei Silva. In the high stakes scenario, Liddell turned in one of the best performances of his career, as he potently punched his way to a dominant decision against "The Axe Murderer" to put himself back into the UFC title picture. The win vaults Liddell from seventh to fifth in the rankings.
6. Mauricio Rua (Pictures) (16-3-0)
Rua had nothing for the previously unranked Griffin in their Sept. 22 UFC fight. The Brazilian earned his reputation by winning in Japan, where he demolished current UFC champion Quinton Jackson (Pictures) and captured the prestigious PRIDE 205-pound Grand Prix. With his exciting fighting style and world-class skill, Shogun was poised to become a star in the United States. At just 25 years of age, he can rebound from the Griffin defeat, but it will take excellent performances for him to find the top spot anytime soon.
7. Lyoto Machida (Pictures) (12-0-0)
With years of hype, and a string of dominant wins, the enigmatic Brazilian was still in desperate need of a great performance. The proud karateka was able to actualize it, as he absolutely destroyed the streaking Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. The sensational win sees Machida rise from tenth to seventh in the rankings. At this juncture, it'd be hard to imagine Machida not fighting for the UFC light heavyweight title in 2008.
8. Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) (31-8-1, 1 NC)
Silva fought gamely, but lost a decisive points victory to longtime rival Chuck Liddell on Dec. 29. The 31-year-old has lost three in a row, and as a result, falls from third to eighth on the Sherdog.com rankings. However, there is still a wealth of talent that pose interesting match-ups for "The Axe Murderer" heading into 2008.
9. Rashad Evans (Pictures) (11-0-1)
"Sugar" Rashad maintains his spot following his tight decision win over Michael Bisping at UFC 78. On the heels of a draw versus Tito Ortiz (Pictures), which Evans would have lost had Ortiz not grabbed the cage fencing and suffered a point deduction, a destructive KO over Sean Salmon (Pictures) and, most impressively, a dominating stoppage of Jason Lambert (Pictures), "The Ultimate Fighter 2" heavyweight winner holds onto the ninth spot.
10. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Pictures) (4-2-0)
Africa's top mixed martial artist exploded upon the world stage in 2007 with early knockouts of then top-10 light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) and Ricardo Arona (Pictures). However, whether it was a case of too much too soon, or just being against a special kind of opponent, Sokoudjou was crushed by Lyoto Machida in his UFC debut on Dec. 29. At 23 years old, Sokoudjou has all the time in the world to evolve into an elite fighter, but for now, his loss drops him from eighth to tenth.