MMA Power Rankings -- Light Heavyweight
Tuesday, Nov. 22
Dan Henderson left the UFC at 39 years old, and conventional wisdom said it was for good. Hendo doesn't go in for conventional anything. Now at 41, he returns and engages in one of the most memorable fights in UFC history against former champion Mauricio Rua. Hendo seems to be getting better with age, and half of what drives him is sheer defiance (and six-figure paychecks). He moves one step closer to a date with Jon Jones, whom he has a developing interest in -- not so much for the belt, but for the challenge of it. Henderson at this point just likes to see if he can solve seemingly insolvable puzzles. Jones is such a puzzle. He moves up in this week's Power Rankings by getting by Shogun in dramatic fashion.
But the 205-pound division still belongs to Jones until proven otherwise. He'll fight for the fourth time in 2011, and each of those fights have come with escalating stakes. When he beat Ryan Bader it turned out to be (somewhat unbeknownst to him at the time) for a title shot. When he beat Shogun at UFC 128, it was for the belt, making him the promotion's youngest champion. When he defeated Quinton Jackson at UFC 135, it was to solidify himself as a champion. Now when he faces Lyoto Machida at UFC 140, it'll be for dominance. Jones has thus far been an impenetrable force. He is on another level. While Rashad Evan and Henderson queue up behind him, Machida gets the next chance to shed light on what it might take to beat him. Or at very least, to ruffle his feathers. Nobody has come close yet, and that's why right now it's Jon "Bones" Jones at No. 1 in the power rankings, and then everybody else.