B/R Official Rankings for May: The Top 10 Middleweights in MMA
Chael Sonnen | Photo Credit: MMAjunkie.com
UFC fans have their eyes set on UFC 148 in what looks to be one of the best cards in the history of the promotion.
Chael Sonnen will look to secure his legacy in the sport in his long awaited rematch against Anderson Silva.
With plenty of action scheduled to take place in the MMA world before that event, let's take a look at where the best middleweights in the world rank on our official list.
These rankings are the combined efforts of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try and provide you with the best content on the web.
10. Luke Rockhold
Most recent fight: Win, Keith Jardine, TKO (Punches)
Next fight: Tim Kennedy
Previous ranking: 10
We last saw Luke Rockhold defending his title against an aging Keith Jardine at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine in early January.
Nine of Rockhold's 10 fights have not made it out of the first round, but the 27-year-old fighter is hindered by being tied to Strikeforce and the lack of competition that comes with it.
The win was his eighth consecutive, and he will now face Tim Kennedy (14-3) at a Strikeforce event in July.
9. Yushin Okami
Koki Nagahama/Getty Images
Most recent fight: Loss, Tim Boetsch, TKO (Punches)
Next fight: Luiz Cane
Previous ranking: 8
Yushin Okami was well on his way to an impressive victory over Tim Boetsch at UFC 144 until being handed a defeat in one of the greatest comeback wins in the history of the sport.
The loss gave Okami his second straight defeat, but one needs to take into consideration that the loss before Boetsch was against Anderson Silva.
Okami will look to get back on track against Luiz Cane (12-4) at UFC 150.
8. Brian Stann
Most recent fight: Win, Alessio Sakara, KO (Punches)
Next fight: Hector Lombard
Previous ranking: 9
What is there not to like about Brian Stann? One of the good guys of the sport, Stann showed tremendous sportsmanship by electing not to punch Alessio Sakara after he noticed he was knocked out.
The win over Sakara gives Stann four victories in his last five fights and puts him a couple of wins away from a potential title shot.
Stann will look to continue his winning ways against Hector Lombard (31-2-1) at UFC on FOX 4.
7. Chris Weidman
Most recent fight: Win, Demian Maia, Decision (unanimous)
Next fight: Mark Munoz
Previous ranking: 7
Chris Weidman became a legitimate threat in the middleweight division the moment his hand was raised in victory over Demain Maia earlier this year.
Weidman now sits on a perfect 8-0 professional record and will be in the spotlight once again when he takes on Mark Munoz (12-2) at UFC on Fuel TV 4 in July.
6. Tim Boetsch
Most recent fight: Win, Yushin Okami, TKO (punches)
Next fight: Michael Bisping
Previous ranking: 6
Tim Boetsch has been hanging around the UFC since UFC 81. During his time with the UFC he has compiled a record of 6-3 and is currently riding a three fight win streak.
The wins against Nick Ring and Yushin Okami have been particularly impressive and now we wait and see how he will fare against an elite level opponent such as Michael Bisping.
The two will fight in Canada at UFC 149 on July 21.
5. Michael Bisping
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Most recent fight: Loss, Chael Sonnen, Decision (unanimous)
Next fight: Tim Boetsch
Previous ranking: 5
Michael Bisping remains in the top five of our official rankings as he awaits his fight against Tim Boetsch (15-4).
It may seem ironic to say due to Bisping's vocal nature, but he has quietly put together one of the most consistent UFC careers in the history of the promotion.
Bisping has fought in the Octagon 16 times and walked away victorious in 12 of those fights. He was on the cusp of a title shot, but lost to Chael Sonnen in January.
A win over Boetsch should put him one fight away from a championship bout.
4. Vitor Belfort
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Most recent fight: Win, Anthony Johnson, Submission (rear naked choke)
Next fight: Wanderlei Silva
Previous ranking: 4
There is no doubt Vitor Belfort has resurrected his career and appears just as fast has he did in the late 90s when he earned the nickname "The Phenom".
Always known for his quick hands and devastating strikes, Belfort is on the cusp of fighting for the title. A win over Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1) at UFC 147 in June would put him in line to fight the winner of Sonnen/Silva.
3. Mark Munoz
Most recent fight: Win, Chris Leben, TKO (corner stoppage)
Next fight: Chris Weidman
Previous ranking: 3
Mark Munoz is no doubt working on his takedown defense as he gets prepped for Chris Weidman (8-0). The fight will take place in July as part of the UFC on FUEL TV 4 fight card.
Munoz has won seven of his last eight fights, and at the age of 34, appears to be in the prime of his career.
2. Chael Sonnen
Most recent fight: Win, Michael Bisping, Decision (unanimous)
Next fight: Anderson Silva
Previous ranking: 2
The difference of opinion on Chael Sonnen amongst MMA fans ranges heavily from one side to the other.
Although there are many who still believe Sonnen is more of a talker than a fighter, there are few who aren't looking forward to his rematch with Anderson Silva.
Most forget that Sonnen made his UFC debut back in 2005 at UFC 55. Sonnen has taken part in 10 fights for the UFC and has a record of 6-4.
His UFC record isn't impressive, but he has won five of his last six fights and appears to have figured out a gameplan to remain successful.
1. Anderson Silva
Most recent fight: Win, Yushin Okami, TKO (punches)
Next fight: Chael Sonnen
Previous ranking: 1
What more can be said about Anderson Silva?
Silva hasn't lost since 2006 when he used an illegal upkick against Yushin Okami. Since then he has rattled off 15 consecutive wins against the best the UFC has to offer.
"The Spider" only fights twice a year on average, and with his first fight of 2012 not taking place until July, there is a chance this will be the only time fans see him in the Octagon this year.
Should Silva beat Sonnen convincingly, what would be next for the 37-year-old champion? He's picked apart everyone the UFC has thrown at him.
We will see what happens once the dust settles after UFC 148.
Follow Joe Chacon on Twitter (@JoeChacon)