Forrest Griffin Triumphantly Returned At UFC 126, But Can He Get Into Light Heavyweight Title Contention Again?

Forrest Griffin returned to the octagon after 14 months on the shelf last night at UFC 126, and defeated Rich Franklin in a pretty good three round battle between two former UFC Champions. It wasn't a great fight, but at least Griffin was able to successfully get back into the swing of things.

Naturally, the question becomes whether or not Griffin can get back to the top of the UFC Light Heavyweight mountain in the near future.

He will likely need at least one more fight against a top contender, which Franklin is definitely not. Plus, there is the matter of Rashad Evans, who is the No. 1 contender, but will miss his scheduled fight UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua due to an injury. He will get a title fight when he gets healthy.

So that puts Griffin at least third on the contender totem pole. But if Rampage Jackson defeats Thiago Silva at UFC 130 he could be in line for a championship fight. So basically Griffin has to find some way to jump ahead of at least two guys to get a title fight before the end of this year.

A more realistic scenario would be Griffin fighting Lyoto Machida, assuming he beats Randy Couture at UFC 129 in April. Then, if he takes a fight with Rampage late this year or early next year that could determine a No. 1 contender.

There are a million things that could happen to derail Griffin's path back to the title, but this would seem to be the easiest way to do it.

It's probably only a pipe dream given the strength of the division, especially now with Jon Jones and Ryan Bader, but it's still possible for him to get back to the top.

Related Story: Why Griffin-Franklin Should Have Been A Five Round Fight