With UFC 88: Breakthrough behind us along with a number of high-profile middleweight bouts, now is a good time to update the_general’s Middleweight division rankings. This division has perhaps gone through the most change over the last couple of years to become one of the strongest in the UFC, up from its position as the weakest. Anderson Silva, the best P4P fighter in the world rules the division but there are a number of up-and-coming young stars that — although may not be able to challenge Silva quite yet — can turn some heads and rack up some wins. So let’s see how it shakes out.
(Again these rankings are based on my personal opinion of each fighters’ all-around talent, ability and heart combined with their recent performance in a 50-50 evaluation)
Champion: As I mentioned, Anderson Silva rules the division with an iron fist and doesn’t appear to be losing his title as pound-for-pound best in the world anytime soon. He has an upcoming match-up with Patrick Cote on the way on October 25th in Chicago. Should at least be an entertaining first round if nothing else. Hopefully Cote’s face won’t be “leaking blood like a faucet” as James Irvin’s was in Silva’s last fight…
#1 Contender tier: Patrick Cote, Yushin Okami, Nate Marquadt, Dan Henderson and Thales Leites — Rich Franklin would be here too if he comes back down
2-3 wins away: Ricardo Almeida, Michael Bisping, Jason Macdonald, Rousimar Palhares, Martin Kampmann and Nate Quarry
gatekeepers: Chris Leben, Drew Mcfedries Alessio Sakara, Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Wilson Gouveia, Jason Lambert, Joe Doerksen, Ivan Salaverry and Travis Lutter (if they ever return)
young prospect(s) to watch: Demian Maia is perhaps 4-5 wins away considering he’ll be progressed slowly, TUF winner Amir Sadollah has that will to win that you can’t coach akin to the lightweight division’s Roger Huerta and C.B. Dolloway as well.
That ranking shows you the depth of the middleweight division. I just listed off 25 names (not including Franklin) of the contenders and everyone of them save for maybe 5 or 6 of the gatekeepers could potentially challenge for the strap. Now, with the Spider spinning a malicious web of his legacy, I doubt ANYONE will be seeing that title belt for some time. But there certainly isn’t a lack of challengers for Silva.