UFC on ESPN+ 11 Preview

ufc-espn+11It’s tough being a top light heavyweight right now as there are only a few of them but none of them has ever been able to touch the top of the division.

That top of the division is still among the best fighters in the world regardless of weight class and he has already taken care of all of his competitors.

That includes Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony who are Smith both among the best light heavyweights in the world but have seemingly gone as far as they can go.

Both have fought Jon Jones and both have lost and although both made those fights as close as they could they still proved not to be good enough.

It leaves them in a weird spot as they are clearly two of the best in the division but they aren’t good enough.

It leaves a lot up in the air as they won’t be fighting Jones any time soon after losing to him before and with few great light heavyweights, there isn’t a lot left for them.

Gustafsson was they guy before his second fight against Jones as he was going to be the one that could finally challenge the champion.

That came from his first matchup against the champion where he gave Jones the biggest challenge he has ever had.

Jones was worse for the wear after that fight and for some, Gustafsson ended the fight as the champion that night.

It wasn’t the case though as Jones won a decision win, albeit barely, and continued on his unprecedented run through the division.

The entire time though, Gustafsson was sitting there just behind him as a looming shadow of the fighter that could have beat the unbeatable champion.

After years of waiting for his rematch, largely due to the issues that Jones went through, he finally got his second shot.

Last December he got the chance to fight Jones for the vacant light heavyweight title but this time Jones left no doubt about who the better fighter was.

Jones beat Gustafsson in the third round with some vicious ground and pound and that unanswered question that Gustafsson held was gone.

That was a blow for Gustafsson who truly has the most difficult way back to the title after two losses.mma-sidebar.fw

It doesn’t seem likely that he gets back to that spot making the remainder of his career a bit of a challenge.

Although Anthony Smith has a bit more hope he is in a similar situation to Gustafsson after losing his last fight to Jones.

Smith was a promising fighter rising through the light heavyweight division when he got his shot against Jones in March.

He looked good throughout the fight too as he wouldn’t let Jones break him down and pushed the champion to five rounds.

Still, he was never really going to win the fight as Jones had control the entire time and although Smith looked good he wasn’t good enough.

Smith is still a younger fighter though and there is a lot more for him to fight for as a rematch could come at some point.

That will depend highly on what happens when Johnson travels to Sweden where he has a chance to take on one of the few men who have actually challenged Jones.

For Smith, a win would mean a potential return to the mix as he awaits what Jones will do next.

A Gustafsson win would make things a lot more difficult as he would likely end up nowhere closer to a title than he was before.

He is fighting for legacy at this point as he looks to leave nobody else in the division forcing the UFC to give him a title shot.

Then again, both of these fighters could end up in a similar situation soon if Jones decides that he wants to move to heavyweight.

With the depth of talent in the division, it is a challenge for anyone as they try to find their way to the top when Jones is leading the way.

With Jones still on top, everyone else is just fighting for another chance at solving what has been an impossible puzzle.


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