B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Middleweights in Mixed Martial Arts

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B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Middleweights in Mixed Martial Arts
USA TODAY Sports

Like at welterweight, a looming shadow has finally been lifted at middleweight. Anderson Silva's seven-year reign, one in which he amassed 14 stoppages and 10 title defenses, was particularly brutal. Not only did he terrorize every fighter in the world at 185 pounds, but he jumped up to light heavyweight to pick off two UFC Hall of Famers.

Along the way he polarized fans with his cocky demeanor and trash-talking nonchalance in the cage. For years, despite his athletic excellence, he failed to wow at the box office. Only Chael Sonnen, the American wrestler who channeled his professional wrestling heroes, managed to make Silva a true star.

His eventual conqueror, the milquetoast Chris Weidman, has shown great potential in the cage, if not on the microphone. Just 11 fights into his professional career, the 30-year-old champion is a work in progress. As funny as it sounds, the man who beat the man is still a bit of a mystery as a fighter. 

Before catching an aging Silva with his hands down and clowning, Weidman's most impressive career accomplishments were wins over Mark Munoz and Demian Maia. Considering Munoz's subsequent career immolation and Maia's drop down to 170 pounds, those wins are hardly the stuff of legend. 

In truth, Weidman is the least battle-tested champion in the UFC. It's unclear what to expect from him when the going gets tough and he's matched with someone who is his physical and mental equal. By next year, we'll know a lot more about his heart and will.

Is he the next Silva? Or simply a stopgap until someone better comes along? We take a look here at both the UFC champion and the other 14 best fighters in the division.

This list is not a ranking based on past performance. MMA math does not apply here. Instead, these ratings are a snapshot of where these athletes stand right now compared to their middleweight peers. We've scored each fighter on a 100-point scale based on his ability in four key categories. You can read more about how the ratings are determined here

Disagree with our order or analysis? Furious about a notable omission? Let us know about it in the comments.

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