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Who Might Beat Lyoto Machida in the UFC? I Like Shogun Rua

Now that Lyoto Machida has won the UFC light heavyweight title, there's a growing sense that we're headed into -- in the words of Joe Rogan -- a Machida Era: A time when Machida simply dominates the light heavyweight division and defends the belt several times in a row.

But as great as Machida is, everyone can be beaten. So which fighters would have a chance of beating Machida at 205 pounds? My list is below.

1-2. Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva: I'll lump these two together because I think they're the two fighters who would have the best chance of beating Machida at 205, and because the fights would never happen. Fedor, who dominates the heavyweight division despite weighing a pudgy 230, could certainly make 205 if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to -- and, of course, there's the little matter of him not fighting in the UFC. Silva, who dominates the middleweight division and is about to make his second foray up to light heavyweight, would have a solid shot of beating Machida, but they're good friends and have said they have no interest in fighting each other. So barring something totally unforseeable happening, Machida is never going to face the two opponents who would have the best chance of beating him.

3. Shogun Rua: Of the fighters who might actually challenge Machida in the not-too-distant future, I like Shogun's chances the best. He's a dynamic striker who's quick enough to move in and out against Machida, and although he only has one career win by submission, he can win a fight on the ground if he needs to. I think Shogun-Machida is a fight we might very well see in 2010, and it's a fight every fan would love.

4. Forrest Griffin: Griffin would have a reach advantage over Machida, and his ability to strike from the outside and take fights to the ground might frustrate him. The UFC would certainly love to promote a Griffin vs. Machida fight.

5. Rampage Jackson: Jackson will get the first crack at Machida, probably in December, and he definitely deserves to be considered the No. 1 contender. But as great as Jackson is -- and I don't think there's any doubt that he's one of the greatest light heavyweights in the history of the sport -- I think his style plays right into what Machida wants his opponents to do.

6. Randy Couture: This one sounds a little crazy at first, but even though Couture fights at heavyweight now, he could easily get back down to 205, and he's such a great game planner that he'd come up with a way to use his superior wrestling to frustrate Machida. I don't think he actually would beat Machida, but I'd love to see what Couture would come up with if he tried.

7. Dan Henderson: Henderson, like Couture, is a gifted wrestler and a smart, experienced fighter who'd come in with a good game plan. It's hard to see Henderson being quick enough to hurt the elusive Machida, though.

8. Renato "Babalu" Sobral: Babalu's Brazilian jiu jitsu skills would give Machida a difficult test on the ground, although I don't know how Babalu would get Machida down there.

9. Rashad Evans:
I didn't pick Evans to win on Saturday night and I certainly wouldn't pick him to win a rematch, but I do think that if he got a second chance, he'd come in with a much better, more aggressive game plan, and maybe find a way to win the fight on the ground.

10. Jon Jones: Obviously, the 21-year-old Jones has a long way to go before the UFC would even think of giving him a title shot. But when I picture the type of fighter who could give Machida trouble, I picture a superior athlete with a wrestling base who's good at taking his opponent down. That pretty well describes Jones, who showed off some of the best throws I've ever seen in his UFC 94 win over Stephan Bonnar.