My, what a mess UFC 76 made of the 205lb division in the UFC. UFC's grand plan had a real wrench thrown into it on September 22nd with 2 of the biggest upsets in UFC history both being pulled off in the same night, in the same weight class. I'm talking of course about Forrest Griffin over Maurico "Shogun" Rua, and Keith Jardine over Chuck Liddell. The grand plan was to have Shogun destory Forrest, then fight Rampage Jackson for the title in what would be a rematch of thier 2005 fight at PRIDE Total Elimination 2005, in which Shogun destoryed Rampage, in a fight that is the UFC Light Heavyweight champion's last loss. On top of that, with Jardine's 3 round decision victory over Chuck Liddell, Jardine successfully took much of the shine off the UFC's dream match with Liddell vs former PRIDE Middleweight(205lbs is Middleweight in PRIDE) champion Wanderlai Silva. For those who remember, this was a fight that was supposed to take place some years back, when both men still held the titles in thier respective divisions, but was scrapped due to contract disputes between the UFC and PRIDE. The winner of that matchup almost certainly would have been given a shot at whoever won the Rampage vs Shogun fight, but with both Liddell and Shogun losing to opponants they both should have absolutely killed, where does that leave us?
With no real legit #1 contender in the 205lb divison right now, and not wanting to give the current champion, Rampage an exceptionally long layoff while the divison sorts itself out, here is what I propose SHOULD happen(although likely things will not play out like this):
Hold a 4 man tournament amoung the 4 fighters who most are claiming should be next in line for title shots, those fighters being: Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Houston Alexander and Keith Jardine. Now, none of these guys have really done anything up to this point to warrant a title shot in my opinion, but with the shape the 205lb division is in at the moment, desperate times call for desperate measures. Pair them up in any combonation of the 4, and hold both fights on the same card. Then...
Wanderlai Silva should be given an immediate title shot against Rampage. In most situations i'm against giving fighters an immediate title shot, but due to the confusion in the 205 divison right now, and the fact that Silva held the PRIDE Middleweight belt for 4 years, during which time he crushed Jackson twice, I think he is the most deserving right now.
After that is said and done, have the winners from the Griffin/Alexander/Machida/Jardine fights, fight each other, with the winner of that fight being given a title shot at whoever the title holder is at this time. So basically the solution i'm suggesting would look like this:
Card #1: Jardine vs Machida, Alexander vs Griffin
Card #2: Silva vs Jackson
Card #3: Winner of Jardine/Machida vs Winner of Alexander/Griffin
Card #4: Winner of Jackson/Silva vs Winner of Jardine/Machida/Alexander/Griffin
After all that is said an done, I imagine the 205lb division will have sorted itself out enough that we'll be able to return to a normal line of challangers.
Unforuntely though I highly doubt this situation will ever play out, as simply: It makes too much sense. Plus, i'm assuming the UFC plans on giving whoever wins the Bisping/Evans fight the next title shot, which to me is absurd, as Evans is coming off a fight he should have lost, but didn't due to the fact that Ortiz lost a point for grabbing the cage, while Bisping is coming off a fight he should have lost, simply due to the fact that he got beat...
Oh well, a guy can still dream I guess.