Middleweight (171lbs. - 185lbs.)
1 Anderson Silva
Though he seems hell bent on alienating every last one of his fans, there is no more dominant a champion than he in MMA.
2 Chael Sonnen
Sonnen’s improvements since his first fight against Paulo Filho have been remarkable. He’s earned his August 7th title shot against Anderson Silva.
3 Jake Shields
It seems but a matter of time until he joins the UFC, but at what weight class?
4 Nate Marquardt
Marquardt begins his climb back into contention against Rousimar Palhares at UFC 118 on Aug. 28th.
5 Dan Henderson
Did the loss to Shields sour him on the division for the time being? Will he enter Strikeforce’s middleweight tournament or fight Renato Sobral next?
6 Demian Maia
Unable to strike with champ Silva, Belcher should prove a more appropriate opponent as a muay thai practitioner.
7 Wanderlei Silva
33-10-1 (1 NC) UFC
His victory over Bisping legitimized himself as a middleweight, but a would-be fight against Leben will have to wait until his injuries heal.
8 Michael Bisping
Has plenty of work to do to become a legitimate contender, but losing to Silva and Henderson isn’t damning.
9 Alan Belcher
His back-to-back knockouts of Cote and Gouveia were impressive. Can he make it three in a row against Maia?
10 Chris Leben
Despite stopping both Akiyama and previously unbeaten Aaron Simpson in a span of two weeks, Leben is not fighting on the August 1 UFC event. Yet.
11 Ronaldo Souza
12-2-0 (1 NC) Strikeforce
Fun fact: he beat Bellator season 2 middleweight winner Alexander Shlemenko in 2006. It was Shlemenko’s 17th fight and Souza’s third.
12 Vitor Belfort
He beat Franklin the way Anderson Silva used to and earned a title shot following Silva’s defense against Sonnen.
On the brink: Yoshihiro Akiyama (UFC, 13-2-0, 2 NC), Thales Leites (MFC, 17-3-0), Jorge Santiago (Sengoku, 22-8-0)