Where does the Light Heavyweight Division go from here?
A little less than a week has passed since Jon Jones regained the throne of the Light Heavyweight Division. Jones comes back, into a division that has been severely on the decline with fighters jumping ship to Bellator, poor marketing from the UFC and older fighters holding on and clinging to the stardom they once held.
Let's take a look at the past of the division before we can look at the present. When we look back at Jon Jones, winning the title in 2011 from Shogun Rua, the title was bouncing around with two people successfully defending the title one time a piece, Quinton Rampage' Jackson and Lyoto Machida; all of which Jon successfully defended his title against. Each one of the competitors besides Alexander Gustafsson are over the age of 35. Now, why do I bring up the age of the division into question? If you look at the the entire UFC LHW rankings system today, you'll see that four of the top 15 in the Light Heavyweight Division are under or at the age of 30 while the rest of the division is 31 and above. Phil Davis and Ryan Bader were originally in the top 15 but since jumping to Bellator and being the two fighters that would give credit to that division and title, it's hard to say how they would've fared against Daniel Cormier let alone a rejuvenated and serious Jon Jones.
Now after reading that last paragraph, you are most likely saying; "What does age have to do with anything about Jones winning his title back?" The Light Heavyweight Division isn't the murder's row like it really used to be. Jones had to face UFC fighters that had way more experience in fighting in combat sports than him. Jones would have no one else to face but honestly two people that come to mind for the title; Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir. The Gustafsson fight makes the most sense of the two fighters; even though in his six fights that includes his epic title fight against Jones he's gone (3-3) in his six fights with a failed title fight against Cormier. Without rehashing the past of the fight, the entire MMA community has waited for this rematch since 2013. I feel like the UFC should give Oezdemir, one more fight against Glover Teixeria. If he has another strong performance like he did against Jimi Manuwa then he deserves a title shot.
Time will tell, but with Jones back, things are going to be very exciting in the upcoming future!