UFC Fight Night 30 Results: Top 10 Middleweights in the UFC
UFC middleweights, be fearful.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida made his 185-pound debut at UFC Fight Night 30, needing just over three minutes to knock out No. 5 ranked middleweight Mark Munoz.
The win shows that Machida is every bit as dangerous at middleweight as he was at light heavyweight, and that is a scary thought for the rest of the division. Machida is a dangerous foe in all facets of the game, and he has the type of knockout power that can change a fight in an instant.
After his quick victory Saturday, where does The Dragon rank within the rest of the stacked 185-pound class?
Click on to find out, friends.
The UFC's middleweight division, long one of the promotion's shallower offerings, is suddenly rich with talent.
We'll get to the top 10 in a moment, but for now, consider these questions marks, and feel free to interject your opinion in the comments.
Where will Mousasi fight? Is he going to stay at light heavyweight, or is he dropping to middleweight?
He's found success in both divisions throughout his career, and he would immediately become a contender at 185 should he decide to go that route.
I can't rank him until he actually fights at 185, but Mousasi is an interesting potential addition to the UFC's middleweight division.
Did he beat Tim Boetsch at UFC 166? And, if he did, does he deserve a top-10 spot in the rankings?
Dollaway looked better than ever against "The Barbarian," but he still dropped a controversial split decision.
Before that, Dollaway was the victor of two straight inside the Octagon, and a third win may have earned him a spot on our rankings.
Is he retired?
If not, his two-fight winning streak over Patrick Cote and Rich Franklin puts him right in the thick of the division's top 10.
Does he deserve a spot on this list?
Before losing to Francis Carmont at UFC 165, Philippou won five straight, including a "win" over Tim Boetsch at UFC 155. Unfortunately, I just don't see him as a top-10 talent at this time, a point which was exposed against Carmont.
No. 10: Tim Boetsch
Bias alert: I love Tim Boetsch.
He bow hunts, he's from Pennsylvania and he is a scrappy, unrefined fighter who relies on pure power and strength rather than technique inside the Octagon.
He's a man's man.
That said, I'm not sure "The Barbarian" beat C.B. Dollaway at UFC 166. Sure, he won a split decision, but he needed a point deduction and some questionable judging to squeak it out.
Prior to this bit of good fortune from the cageside judges, Boetsch dropped a lopsided decision to Mark Munoz, and before that, he suffered a TKO loss to Costas Philippou at UFC 155 (although I still believe the poor guy deserves a hall pass for that one).
Needless to say, Boetsch is not torching the division, and for that, he climbs no higher than No. 10 on our list.
No. 9: Mark Munoz
There's no shame in losing to Lyoto Machida, Mr. Munoz.
As predicted by fans and critics alike, Munoz suffered a serious striking disadvantage against "The Dragon," producing some of the most hilarious FightMetric stats in recent memory.
Munoz got caught in this one, but prior to that, he blitzed Boetsch at UFC 162, so time will tell exactly where "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" belongs in this division.
Until then, No. 9 seems fair.
No. 8: Francis Carmont
How good is Francis Carmont?
That's not a rhetorical question; I really mean it. How good is he?
So far in his UFC run, Carmont has flashed brilliance, only to follow it up with periods of apathy and lackluster, uninspired fighting.
Still, the man is undefeated in six tries at the sport's highest level, and he deserves a position in the top 10 until proven otherwise.
No. 7: Luke Rockhold
I'm not buying Luke Rockhold as a top-level UFC talent.
During his run as Strikeforce middleweight champion, and in his lone UFC appearance against Vitor Belfort, Rockhold has shown me nothing that screams "UFC middleweight contender."
He's certainly good in all areas, but he doesn't have that one dynamic option that sets him apart from his peers ahead of him on this list.
Despite this, Rockhold's knockout loss to Belfort at UFC on FX 8 is not that detrimental to his standing at 185, and the American Kickboxing Academy product clings to No. 7 until further notice.
No. 6: Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping's injured eye will keep him out of action for the foreseeable future, but there is no doubt that the outspoken Brit can hang against the division's best.
His footwork and precise striking game causes problems for most 185-pound fighters on the planet, and his wrestling and grappling game is constantly evolving, as shown in his UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis tilt with Chael Sonnen.
Expect Bisping to land a high-profile fight upon returning to the Octagon.
No. 5: Lyoto Machida
Feel free to rearrange numbers three, four and five as you please—they are that close at this point.
Machida's stellar light heavyweight resume does not guarantee him an immediate shot at the middleweight title, but few would grumble over a championship bout after his obliteration of Mark Munoz Saturday evening at UFC Fight Night 30.
Machida is a bad, bad man at middleweight, and there is no doubt that he can win against anybody on any given night.
With just one fight at 185 over a wildly inconsistent opponent, however, Machida cannot catapult above the following established middleweights in my eyes—not yet, at least.
No. 4: Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza
Enter the division's most intriguing prospect.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is terrifying.
His grappling is truly world-class, and many feel he possesses the most advanced ground game in the world at 185.
Combine this with his increasingly devastating striking game (he's knocked out two of his last four opponents), and Jacare is clearly a threat to finish the fight from anywhere at any time.
Is he a future champion? Time will tell, but he definitely carries the skill set to topple anybody.
No. 3: Vitor Belfort
All Vitor Belfort has done in the past year is knock out No. 6 and No. 7 on this list and continue to prove his worth as a top middleweight contender.
Belfort currently has a light heavyweight bout against Dan Henderson booked for UFC Fight Night 32 in November, but I fully expect a title fight, or, at the very least, a No. 1 contender bout at middleweight for "The Phenom" if he can emerge victorious against Hendo.
If Chris Weidman defeats Anderson Silva again at UFC 168, a fight with the middleweight champion will make all kinds of sense for Belfort.
No. 2: Anderson Silva
The thought of an intensely motivated, zeroed-in Anderson Silva scares me, and I'm not the guy who has to fight him at UFC 168.
The longtime middleweight king looks for revenge Dec. 28 against the only man to truly defeat him in over eight years, and the world will watch with eager anticipation.
Will "The Spider" reclaim his status as the division's best, or has Chris Weidman begun a lengthy stay atop the 185-pound rankings?
No. 1: Chris Weidman
How long can Chris Weidman rule the roost at 185?
After a shocking knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 162, Weidman must squash the Spider a second time if he wishes to extend his lease on the UFC middleweight strap.
With a devastating wrestling game, refined submissions and serious one-punch knockout power, Weidman certainly has all the tools to defeat Silva—and anybody else—again.
Will he do it, or will he become just another victim of Silva's otherworldly prowess as a mixed martial artist?