MMA Middleweight Rankings

| by Sports Nickel

Not much has changed at the top of the division, and I don’t suspect #1 will be going anywhere for quite some time. I might even put Anderson Silva at #1 even after he retires, because if he’s still walking the Earth, he’s still the best fighter on Earth. Technically speaking. And you Paulo Filho fans might be upset, but if you are, tell your favorite fighter to stop being a joke. Thanks. And with Lawler’s recent loss to Babalu, he drops down the ladder. Two fighters out, two fighters in. The colored numbers represent the movement of fighters, if they indeed had any. Red means dropped and green…well, I’m sure I don’t have to explain that, do I? Brace yourself for the new Top Ten MMA Middleweights. Would a top five have made more sense because of the nickel? Absolutely. But now we can say we’re giving you 100% more content for free! Damn, we’re nice.

Disagree with my rankings? Let me know. Maybe you’ll be able to persuade me (not likely.)

1. Anderson Silva (26-4)
- W – Demian Maia [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Forrest Griffin [KO, Punch]
- W – Thales Leites [Decision, Unanimous]
**Next Fight – Chael Sonnen

Anderson is still the best fighter on Earth, like it or not. Sure, I don’t agree with what he did against Demian Maia, at least not 100%, but I wasn’t in the fight and I don’t know what Demian said about him. Even though Silva didn’t finish Maia, Maia was extremely damaged in the fight. And not all of that is his fault. Maia shouldn’t have been in there in the first place, and I really don’t know what you expect when Anderson fights a BJJ expert. Look at the Thales Leites fight. Same thing, except Thales didn’t want to fight and kept falling to the ground. The problem is that Anderson is too great. He needs real challenges.

2. Chael Sonnen (24-10-1)
- W – Nate Marquardt [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Yushin Okami [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Dan Miller [Decision, Unanimous]
**Next Fight – Anderson Silva

Sonnen has being going off at the mouth about Anderson Silva for quite some time now. Since before his fight with Nate Marquardt. He says he’s going to get in there and beat Anderson up. I doubt it, but we’ll see come August. He always presses the fight, even if he never finishes them. Every time someone presses Anderson they end up on the canvas missing their conscience. He does have the wrestling to maybe give Anderson fits, but it’s going to be a long night for Chael. While I have him at #2, it’s really for lack of a better option. The gap between #1 and #2 might as well be the Grand Canyon.

3. Nate Marquardt (29-9-2)
- L – Chael Sonnen [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Demian Maia [KO, Punch]
- W – Wilson Gouveia [TKO, Strikes]
**Next Fight – Rousimar Palhares

Nate was on a mission to fight for the title since being destroyed by Anderson Silva back at UFC 73, just tearing through all his opponents. He technically lost to Thales Leites, but no one really counts that in the grand scheme of things. He was just derailed when he ran into, the now #1 contender, Chael Sonnen. Sonnen used his wrestling well in the fight but took the majority of the damage in the fight. Nate could never stay on his feet and lost the decision because of it. Time to work on that takedown defense, because his next opponent will surely want to take it to the ground.

4. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
- W – Rich Franklin [KO, Punch]
- W – Matt Lindland [KO, Punch]
- W – Terry Martin [KO, Punch]
**Next Fight – Winner of Silva/Sonnen (rumored)

The original opponent for Anderson Silva at UFC 112, I partially blame Vitor for the debacle that ensued. You can’t predict injuries though, so it’s only a small blame. Vitor has seemed revived since dropping to 185lbs. Three straight KO’s, and looking good while doing it. His stamina looks good, his striking looks good (not that it was ever in question) and his power is retained from the days of fighting at 205. I would have him ranked higher except he hasn’t had many fights at middleweight. However, Dana must think he’s #2 or #3 as it seems Vitor will get the winner of Silva/Sonnen. I think he needs another fight at middleweight, but I don’t run the billion dollar business so what do I know?

5. Demian Maia (12-2)
- L – Anderson Silva [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Dan Miller [Decision, Unanimous]
- L – Nate Marquardt [KO, Punch]
**Next Fight – Alan Belcher

I was never really sold on Maia. And I was proven right when he fought Anderson. He looked out of place and had no business in there. He’s just not ready to fight someone like Silva. He’s phenomenal on the ground, no question. Maybe the best ever. But you’re going to need a lot more than BJJ to challenge the god that sits atop the division. His striking looked improved against Dan Miller, but it’s not like Dan Miller is a great striker. If/when Demian gets a stand up game he’ll be able to make another run at the top. His upcoming match against Alan Belcher will be interesting. Belcher is the better striker of the two, and a much better striker than Dan Miller.

6. Dan Henderson (25-8)
- L – Jake Shields [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Michael Bisping [KO, Punch]
- W – Rich Franklin [Decision, Split]
**Next Fight – Unknown

Dan was on a great run since losing to Anderson Silva, but then he ran into a welterweight name Jake Shields. Yes, the fight was at 185, but Jake career is view as a welterweight fighting at middleweight. Dan landed a great shot against Jake, but was out classed on the ground when Jake came to. It was a bad loss and Dan actually looked 39 years old. I’m guessing Dana is smarter than some would give him credit for.

7. Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1, 1 NC)
- W – Michael Bisping [Decision, Unanimous]
- L – Rich Franklin [Decision, Unanimous]
- L – Quinton Jackson [KO, Punch]
**Next Fight – Yoshihiro Akiyama

That Bisping fight was close. I had Wanderlei winning just like Dan did, by crushing KO, but that never happened. He looks okay at this weight, but I’m sure he’ll do better against Akiyama. Yoshihiro has been asking for this fight and he’s going to get it. All I can say is be careful what you wish for. Wanderlei still has tremendous power and his striking is crisp, and if he puts Akiyama in that Thai Clinch it’s nighty-night. The only thing I saw from his last fight is that his stamina needs improving. A little more training at this weight and it’ll come.

8. Michael Bisping (19-3-0)
- W – Dan Miller [Decision, Unanimous]
- L – Wanderlei Silva [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Denis Kang [TKO, Punches]
**Next Fight – Unknown

Another fighter I was never sold on. Bisping was just the U.K. hero and the UFC used him as such. He finally fights a top level guy in Dan Henderson and he gets crushed. And I might add, he lost to Matt Hamil, I don’t care what the judges say. Bisping is a decent counter puncher and has decent speed. Accuracy is improving, but his ground game needs a little work. I’m sure he’ll work on it and he’ll net some more wins, but I don’t think he’ll ever be champion. His last win against Dan Miller shows that he really doesn’t have knockout power. Nice win, but just as expected.

9. Ronaldo Souza (12-2, 1 NC) [NEW]
- W – Joey Villasenor [Decision, Unanimous]
- W – Matt Lindland [Submission, Arm Triangle]
- NC – Jason Miller [Cut, Illegal Soccer Kick]
**Next Fight – Unknown

“Jacare” is the truth. He is a 5-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, including gold medals in the Openweight class in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He’s probably the top grappler in the division, and his striking has improved greatly, training with the likes of Anderson Silva and Randy Couture. Not bad company if you want to improve the stand-up portion of your game. He latest win had him dominating Joey Villasenor, showcasing some Couture-like wrestling moves and some quick Muay Thai striking. If he continues to improve, he’ll run up the rankings. He’s definitely a fighter I’d love to see in the UFC. However, up first is probably a shot at Strikeforce’s Middleweight Title, should Jake Shields bolt town for the UFC. All rumor right now.

10. Hector Lombard (26-2-1) [NEW]
- W – Jay Silva [KO, Punch]
- W – Art Santore [TKO, Cut]
- W – Joey Gorczynski [Decision, Unanimous]
**Next Fight – Unknown

Ummm, why isn’t this guy in the UFC? Dana, what’s up? All this guy does is win, and most of the time visciously. His last fight against Jay Silva in in SIX seconds. Yeah, 6, the number after 5. He might not be all that tall, 5′9″, but he sure is powerful. He’s has a black belt in BJJ and a black belt in Judo. His striking is always improving, and if he could get to the UFC, I’m sure he’d run up the ladder rather quickly. He was supposed to fight Paulo Filho at Bellator 18, but Filho pulled out due to alleged visa issues. ALLEGED.