B/R Offical MMA Rankings for July: The Top 10 Middleweights in MMA
Aside from a knee injury to Michael Bisping and a metric ton of trash-talking between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva, the middleweight division was relatively stagnant during the month of June.
That, however, is about to change.
Seven out of our 10 top middleweights have confirmed upcoming bouts, and that will shake out a lot of the questions concerning the world's top 185 lb. fighters.
For now, though, let us look to the present and get a sense of the current landscape of this soon-to-change middleweight class.
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.
No. 10: Hector Lombard
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Trevor Prangley at Bellator 58
Next Fight: vs. Tim Boetsch at UFC 149
Previous Ranking: 10
Man, doesn't it look so good to finally have Lombard's name associated with the UFC?
Lombard has been considered a top-10 middleweight for some time now, but after inking a contract with MMA's largest promotion, he really has a chance to prove his worth.
Is he a top-5 fighter as some suspect, or is he better off destroying lesser opponents in smaller promotions?
Time will tell, but for now, Lombard and his impressive record kick off our list at No. 10.
No. 9: Alan Belcher
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Rousimar Palhares at UFC on FOX 3
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: 9
Once on the brink of retirement due to a severe eye injury, Alan Belcher is now a top-10 middleweight thanks to his impressive win against the dangerous Rousimar Palhares at UFC on FOX 3.
His display of ground defense and ferocious killer instinct in that fight was phenomenal, and he will undoubtedly get a top-10 opponent in his next outing.
Another impressive win like he had against Palhares, and Belcher will be looking a title shot in the eyes.
No. 8: Tim Boetsch
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Yushin Okami at UFC 144
Next Fight: vs. Hector Lombard at UFC 149
Previous Ranking: 6
Tim Boetsch has to be a little angry about the injury bug that has bitten top UFC fighters of late.
"The Barbarian" was originally primed for a matchup against top middleweight Michael Bisping at UFC 149, but a knee injury forced the British fighter out of the bout.
In stepped Hector Lombard, and now, Boetsch has the undesirable task of facing a dangerous opponent with explosive power and little name recognition. Should Boetsch win, many people may still not give him the credit he deserves and simply discredit Lombard as a true top middleweight instead of recognizing his accomplishment.
It is a tough break for Boetsch, but if he keeps winning, he will get his due when the time is right.
No. 7: Chris Weidman
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Demian Maia at UFC on Fuel 2
Next Fight: vs. Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel 4
Previous Ranking: 7
Chris Weidman's top-level wrestling and impressive submission game makes him a threat against anyone at middleweight.
His most recent fight against Demian Maia showcased an improving standup game as well, and if he can tie it all together, he will be a legitimate threat at 185 lbs. for years to come.
To answer the many who wonder how he will fare against the top dogs in the division, Weidman has a tough upcoming bout against Mark Munoz that will show if he truly belongs against the division's elite.
No. 6: Brian Stann
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Alessio Sakara
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: 8
The sting of Brian Stann's submission loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 has worn off, and the military hero has begun to rise again up the middleweight ranks.
After knocking someone out as nicely as possible in his bout with Alessio Sakara at UFC on Fuel 2, Stann was offered a tougher test in the form of Hector Lombard.
That pestering injury bug would have its way with Stann as well, though, and he was forced to pull out of the fight with a shoulder problem.
What awaits Stann next is unclear, but with his explosive hands, I, for one, will be anxiously awaiting his next fight announcement.
No. 5: Michael Bisping
Most Recent Fight: loss vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: 5
Michael Bisping, for all of his criticisms, is a phenomenal fighter.
He may be abrasive, even annoying at times, but when he steps into the Octagon, his opponent is in for a staunch test wherever the fight may go.
After narrowly (and I mean narrowly) losing to current title challenger Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2, Michael Bisping was offered a fight with rising middleweight Tim Boetsch.
A knee injury would promptly put an end to that matchup, however, and we are now left pondering Bisping's next move.
He seems to always be on the cusp of a title shot, but will he be able to make the jump sometime in the near future?
No. 4: Vitor Belfort
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Anthony Johnson at UFC 142
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: 4
Vitor Belfort looked phenomenal against Anthony Johnson at UFC 142, but given Johnson's weight issues, nobody was sure how far to look into the victory.
A bout against Wanderlei Silva was set for UFC 147 to help clarify Belfort's current state, but, as it is wont to do, the injury bug snagged Belfort and added him to his list of incapacitated UFC middleweights.
Belfort will almost certainly get a big name in his next outing, so look for him to make a splash after recovering from the hand injury that sidelined him at UFC 147.
No. 3: Mark Munoz
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Chris Leben at UFC 138
Next Fight: vs. Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel 4
Previous Ranking: 3
Another month, another No. 3 ranking for "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."
Mark Munoz has arguably the best ground-and-pound among all middleweights, and he has forged a nice career thanks to this refined skill.
Forced out of a bout with Chael Sonnen due to injury, Munoz will now have to work his way to the top by taking on rising prospect Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel 4.
It is make or break for Munoz, and we will either see him sail or plummet in the the month of July.
No. 2: Chael Sonnen
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Michael Bisping at UFC on FOX 2
Next Fight: vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 148
Previous Ranking: 2
Chael Sonnen has a second chance at ultimate glory.
After succumbing to a now-historic triangle choke against champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117, Sonnen has a chance to redeem himself and stake his claim as the world's top middleweight at UFC 148.
Months of trash-talking will come to an end; will Sonnen be on the giving or receiving end of the beating this time around?
No. 1: Anderson Silva
Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Yushin Okami at UFC 134
Next Fight: vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 148
Previous Ranking: 1
Surprise, surprise, the top fighter in the world is also the top middleweight in the world...who knew?
Anderson Silva has been stellar since joining the UFC in 2006, but he faces the only man to even challenge him for a second time at UFC 148.
Like Sonnen, Silva will be looking for redemption in this fight. Even though he emerged victorious in their first meeting, the win was far from pretty, and Silva will undoubtedly want to dispatch of Sonnen more easily in this second encounter.
A win cements his legacy as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. A loss will move him out of the No. 1 position for the first time in six centuries.
Which will it be?
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