B/R MMA Rankings for February: Top 10 Middleweights in MMA

Sean SmithAnalyst IFebruary 7, 2012

B/R MMA Rankings for February: Top 10 Middleweights in MMA

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    The first month of 2012 was a busy one for the middleweight division, but the title picture remained the same for the most part.

    With a controversial victory over Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2, Chael Sonnen earned his rematch with champion Anderson Silva. Though he may not have been deserving of the win over Bisping, Sonnen should be able to use his mouth to make his fight with Silva one of the most watched bouts in MMA history.

    While Sonnen remained Silva's biggest threat, there was some movement in the division's rankings, as Bisping proved he deserves to be taken seriously as a contender and Chris Weidman made a big move by defeating Demian Maia.

    Let's take a look at exactly how things shook out in the 185-pound division after January.

    These rankings are the combined effort of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try to provide you with the best content on the web.

10. Luke Rockhold

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    Previous Ranking: NR

    Promotion: Strikeforce

    MMA Record: 9-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Keith Jardine at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine

    Next Scheduled Fight: TBD

    With his demolition of a former UFC contender in Keith Jardine, Luke Rockhold makes his first appearance in our middleweight rankings and is beginning to make a push for Zuffa to bring him over to the big show.

    Undefeated in his past eight fights, the 27-year-old's next test could come in the form of Tim Kennedy.

    With a decisive win over Kennedy, Rockhold would hold plenty of bargaining power for a move to compete inside the Octagon.

9. Demian Maia

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    Previous Ranking: 7

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 15-4

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Chris Weidman at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Scheduled Fight: TBD

    Considering he met an opponent who took the fight on less than two week's notice at UFC on Fox 2, Demian Maia's losing performance against Chris Weidman was a very disappointing one.

    Even in a rather slowly-paced fight, Maia seemed completely out of gas by the third round and couldn't mount any significant offence against the rising contender.

    Maia remains one of the best middleweights in the world, but his hopes of competing for a title again may have vanished with his poor performance on network television. 

8. Chris Weidman

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    Previous Ranking: NR

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 8-0

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Demian Maia at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Scheduled Fight: TBD

    After cutting a massive amount of weight to hit the mark for his middleweight bout against Demian Maia on short notice, Chris Weidman turned in the biggest victory of his career.

    While Weidman's conditioning became an issue in the fight, the former All-American wrestler did enough to pick up the win on the scorecards and break into our middleweight rankings for the first time in his young career.

7. Brian Stann

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    Previous Ranking: 6

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 11-4

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Chael Sonnen at UFC 136

    Next Scheduled Fight: Alessio Sakara at UFC on Fuel 2

    After gaining a ton of momentum in his first few fights as a middleweight, Brian Stann's run at a title shot hit a speedbump against Chael Sonnen.

    Unable to prevent Sonnen's takedowns, Stann found himself in trouble on the ground and was forced to tap due to a triangle choke.

    If Stann can beat Alessio Sakara in his next fight, it could earn him another fight with a middleweight contender, but the former U.S. Marine will have to fix some holes in his game if he hopes to compete for the title.

6. Vitor Belfort

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    Previous Ranking: 5

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 21-9

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 142

    Next Scheduled Fight: Wanderlei Silva at TBD

    Despite being at an unprecedented size disadvantage against an opponent who moved up to middleweight from welterweight, Vitor Belfort was able to overcome Anthony Johnson's early onslaught before winning the fight with a rear-naked choke.

    Whether he won or lost against Johnson, the next step in Belfort's career was going to be coaching against Wanderlei Silva on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in Brazil. The opportunity will allow Belfort to continue taking the sport to high levels in his home country.

5. Michael Bisping

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    Previous Ranking: 8

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 22-4

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Scheduled Fight: TBD

    Often dismissed as an actual threat to become a future champion, Michael Bisping's near-victory over Chael Sonnen in January showed how far the British fighter has come.

    The judges may have denied him a shot at the title, but, considering the controversial nature of his loss to Sonnen, it's safe to say Bisping will be back in the picture for a championship fight before long. 

4. Mark Munoz

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    Previous Ranking: 4

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 12-2

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Chris Leben at UFC 138

    Next Scheduled Fight: TBD

    An injury ruined Mark Munoz's chance to compete for a shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva on network television.

    While the setback may be tough for Munoz to swallow, the former All-American wrestler should find himself in another fight with a top contender in the near future.

3. Yushin Okami

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    Previous Ranking: 3

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 26-6

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Anderson Silva at UFC 134

    Next Scheduled Fight: Tim Boetsch at UFC 144

    After losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 134, Yushin Okami will have to climb the middleweight ladder in order to earn another title shot.

    Okami's quest to compete in another championship fight will begin against Tim Boetsch in the Japanese fighter's home country.

2. Chael Sonnen

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    Previous Ranking: 2

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 27-11-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Scheduled Fight: Anderson Silva at TBD

    His win over Michael Bisping may not have been decisive, but it was enough for Chael Sonnen to earn a rematch with Anderson Silva.

    According to UFC president Dana White, Sonnen and Silva will meet this summer in what could go down as one of the most-watched fights in MMA history.

1. Anderson Silva

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    Previous Ranking: 1

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 31-4

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Yushin Okami at UFC 134

    Next Scheduled Fight: Chael Sonnen at TBD

    Chael Sonnen has said Anderson Silva is unwilling to fight him, but UFC president Dana White guaranteed the elite middleweights will meet later this year.

    The first four rounds of Silva's first fight against Sonnen were the lowest moments of the champion's UFC career. However, a late submission allowed Silva to keep his belt and maintain his legacy.

    This summer, Silva will have the chance to silence Sonnen once again.