The Top 10 Middleweight Fighters in the UFC
Ah, the Middleweight Division. The 185 pound weight class is often considered the deepest in the UFC.
I will be giving my opinion on the top 10 fighters in this weight class in the following slideshow. And, before I've even started, I've encountered some difficulties.
We all know Vitor Belfort was getting a title shot. We also know that he beat Rich Franklin to get there. And lastly, we all know that the fight was a catchweight fight, fought at 195 pounds.
So where do I rank Belfort on this list? Well, I think I've figured it out, and to find out where he places, you should read the following article.
This article is part three of my five-part series on the top ten fighters in each weight class. Now, on to the main event.
Number Ten: Patrick "The Predator" Cote
This dude is pretty low for a former belt challenger. The reason being that he blew out his knee over a year ago in his title shot against Anderson Silva and hasn't fought since.
Cote is one of the best middleweights when he is healthy however, and will get the nod here. Cote has an above average striking game, and it has helped him to win by T/KO six times out of thirteen wins. He is a former professional boxer, where he fought in one fight, winning by KO.
He is definitely out of his element when the fight goes to the ground. Patrick Cote says that if he gets a rematch with Anderson Silva, he is confident he will beat him. To get there, he will have to win fights.
He will start at UFC 113, where he will be fighting Alan Belcher.
Number Nine: Dan Miller
Dan Miller is potentially one of the best middleweights in the UFC, but his inconsistency has kept him from realizing his true potential.
Miller looked good when he won his first three UFC fights, but has since been stopped in consecutive fights by Chael Sonnen and Demian Maia.
His striking is about average. He showed vulnerability to being taken down when he fought Chael Sonnen, but that may have been more because of Sonnen's top-notch wrestling than Miller's weakness to it.
Miller was recently awarded his black belt in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).
Number Eight: Yushin "Thunder" Okami
Yushin Okami could be one of the most balanced fighters on this list. He is certainly one of the most dangerous.
Okami is very tall for a middleweight, standing at 6'2". He is a powerful striker, and a very good grappler. His only real weakness, it seems, is to good wrestlers.
He is one of the only people to ever beat Anderson Silva. Okami has won nine times out of his 23 wins by T/KO. He was long considered overdue for a title shot, and probably would have been awarded one if he had not lost the fight against Chael Sonnen.
Okami will now have to win two or three more fights while the mess at the top of the middleweight division is cleaned up.
Number Seven: Michael "The Count" Bisping
Yeah, yeah. Burn me at a stake.
Seven months ago, Bisping was two fights away from a title shot. All he had to do was beat the underdog, Dan Henderson.
Well, somebody forgot to tell Henderson. Dan Henderson connected with a beastly right hook, landing flush on Bisping's jaw. Bisping was out before he hit the floor. Henderson added a downwards superman punch, if you will, just for good measure.
And now, Bisping is regarded as nothing more than a gatekeeper, even after his TKO win over Denis Kang. Bisping will be able to redeem himself if he beats Waanderlei Silva in the land down under at UFC 110, but until then, this is as high as he gets (and deserves).
Bisping combines fast, fluid striking and solid jiu-jitsu to make a deadly combination of fighting. He has a bad tendency to circle into his opponents right hand, which can usually spell disaster. If you saw the Dan Henderson fight, you know why.
If Bisping beats Silva at UFC 110, then he will be redeemed for now, at least until he adds another embarrassing KO loss to his name.
And to explain the picture: I couldn't find another one I liked, and Bisping getting KO'd is as good as it gets.
Number Six: Demain Maia
Yes, despite Demian Maia getting the title shot, he is way down here at number six. Not because he sucks (which he doesn't), but because from here on out this division could go all sorts of places.
Except for number one. That spot is pretty much locked up.
Anyways, Maia is one of the best grapplers in the world today. Everyone knows that he doesn't have anything going for him striking. It's a good thing he is in the top three of jiu-jitsu in the world.
Maia is a master of the submission, winning by submission eight times in his career, including five straight times in the UFC, not including his unanimous decision win over Dan Miller last weekend.
If Maia can get Anderson Silva to the ground and submit him in their upcoming fight at UFC 112, then Maia will officially be the best submission artist in the world.
Number Five: Nate "The Great" Marquardt
Another tough one to call. If Nate Marquardt had won last weekend, it would be tough to keep him out of the top three.
Now, this is the perfect spot for him.
Most agree that Nate Marquardt will be the champion of this division someday, but that will likely be over a year from now. Marquardt is the fourth best striker in this division, behind Silva, Belfort and Rich Franklin.
His speed is very good for a man his size, and his cardio is good as well. Marquardt's last three wins have been by T/KO.
If he can solve his problem against good wrestlers, the sky is the limit for him.
Number Four: Rich "Ace" Franklin
Sorry guys, I just can't justify putting him above Vitor Belfort when Belfort knocked him out like that. That's almost the same as putting Chael Sonnen above Demian Maia when Maia submitted him, but these are two different things.
Rich Franklin is one of the division's most dominant strikers, and maybe one of the most dominant in the sport. He hits hard, and is quick to finish fighters when they are hurt. His ground game is fairly underrated also.
Rich Franklin is one of the sport's classiest, best fighters, and at 34, still has something left in the tank. He is still hungry for another title shot, but at this stage in his career, it may be too late (then again, isn't some guy named Couture still fighting?).
Anyways, I think Franklin should be matched up against Nate Marquardt next. No fan of MMA wouldn't want to see that fight.
Number Three: Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort
Belfort, I think, was unfairly jumped right into a title fight he didn't deserve.
Now, six months later, he isn't even fighting in said title fight due to shoulder injury. Whatever.
Belfort has some very fast, very powerful punches in his arsenal, and he uses them to great effectiveness. He is good when it comes to grappling also, with a black belt in BJJ.
A friend of mine has said before that when Belfort is on, he is the best fighter in the world. While that may be true, Belfort is wildly inconsistent, so we may never know.
Vitor Belfort is one of the only real threats to Anderson Silva in this division. The others are Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen. Belfort will probably have to win another fight before he is thrust back into title contention.
A fight with Nate Marquardt would be intriguing, as both of them are great strikers. That would be a complete and total show and could be used as the main event on any UFC PPV event.
Number Two: Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen could be the most underrated fighter in MMA. Even after his domination of Nate Marquardt, people still aren't giving him the credit he deserves.
Why not? Ever since losing to Demian Maia via submission, Sonnen has rattled off three straight wins over top fighters such as Yushin Okami, Dan Miller, and Nate Marquardt. Sonnen dominated all three for three rounds, earning him unanimous decision victories in all of them.
His striking is nothing to be excited about, but his wrestling is easily the best in the division. He spent much of his last three fights taking his opponents down at will, controlling them, and earning the win.
His style of fighting isn't exciting, but can be appreciated. He is threatening to Anderson Silva simply because of the difficulties Silva has had with good wrestlers in the past. Sonnen will likely get submitted or lose a close decision when he finally fights for the title.
Also of note: Sonnen's incredible trash talking ability. The dude knows how to smack talk.
Number One: Anderson "The Spider" Silva
Anderson Silva: The best striker in MMA.
The best middleweight in MMA.
And possibly a top five light-heavyweight.
Did I mention his striking? Silva often puts on beautiful displays of destruction. We thought he was for real when he KO'd Rich Franklin twice. Now there is no doubt.
Everyone says Marquardt or Belfort can outstrike Silva. They are horribly mistaken. Silva is one of the best counter-strikers in the game, even better than Chuck Liddell in his prime.
Silva is also a beast on the ground, with a black belt in BJJ under Antonio Nogueira, who is considered one of the best BJJ practitioners the world has ever known. However, Silva has shown weaknesses to great wrestlers in the past.
Anderson Silva has three fights left on his contract. One of them should be against his next challenger. Another should be against Georges St. Pierre, and the third should be against Randy Couture. We all know that's unlikely to happen, but it would be cool anyways.
After Silva retires, there will be no doubt that he is the greatest middleweight in UFC History.
Thank You for Reading
Thanks for sticking with me again guys. This was part three of my five part series.
If you have any complaints about the list (and I know that you will), leave a comment below.