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Official B/R MMA Rankings May 2011: Top 10 Middleweights in MMA

Sal DeRoseCorrespondent IMay 17, 2011

Official B/R MMA Rankings May 2011: Top 10 Middleweights in MMA

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    PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Forrest Griffin during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Here is the first installment of the Bleacher Report MMA Rankings. Each month on the first and 15th of the month we will publish divisional rankings. On the first of each month we will post our pound-for-pound rankings.

    The rankings were voted on by numerous writers on Bleacher Report and do not reflect any of their rankings personally. The rankings are an average of each writers vote for each weight class.

    Special thanks to those who contributed:

    Jason Schielke

    Nick Caron

    Nick Colon

    J.P. Smith

    Dale De Souza

    Blake Dreisbach

    Andrew Mahlmann

    Michael Evans

    Sean Smith

    Sal DeRose

Honorable Mentions

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    Others Receiving Votes

     

    Wanderlei Silva

    Record: 33-10-1, One no contest

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 34 years old 

     

    Chris Leben

    Record: 25-7

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 30 years old

     

    Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama

    Record: 13-3-0, Two no contests

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 35 years old

10. Brian Stann

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    Record: 10-3

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 30 years old

     

    Reason

    Brian Stann will be Jorge Santiago's first match back in the UFC. Stann is coming off of a huge knockout victory against Chris Leben and will give Santiago trouble. Out of Stann's 10 career wins, seven come by way of knockout. In 13 career fights, only three have gone the distance.

    In those three contests Stann is 2-1 with his only loss coming against Phil Davis. Now only two fights into his middleweight career, Stann has shown he has what it takes to start competing in the division.

9. Jorge Santiago

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    Record: 23-8

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 30 years old

     

    Reason

    Jorge Santiago is coming back to the UFC after almost five years away from the Octagon. In his first stint, Santiago was 1-2 with losses to Alan Belcher and Chris Leben.

    Santiago hasn't beaten many big name opponents, but Santiago is coming off of a "Fight of the Year" performance against Kazuo Misaki at Sengoku 14. Santiago fights Brian Stann at UFC 130.

8. Michael Bisping

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    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  Michael Bisping of Great Britain celebrates his victory over Jorge Rivera of the USA in their middleweight bout part of at UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Image
    Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

    Record: 21-3

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 32 years old

     

    Reason

    Many fans might not like Michael Bisping's inclusion on this list, but let's face facts. The British middleweight is 21-3 and coming off of a victory over Jorge Rivera at UFC 127. Albeit a victory that showed major character flaws in Bisping, its still a victory nonetheless.

    Bisping has now earned calls to coach the next season of, The Ultimate Fighter, across from fighters like Chael Sonnen and Jason "Mayhem" Miller. Bisping has no set future yet.

T-7. Vitor Belfort

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    DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 19:  UFC fighter Vitor Belfort  (L) battles UFC fighter Rich Franklin (R) during their Catch weight bout at UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort at the American Airlines Center on September 19, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Ge
    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Record: 19-9 

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 34 years old

     

    Reason

    Vitor Belfort has been a staple in MMA since first stepping foot in the ring in the late '90s. Belfort is coming off of a disappointing knockout loss to current UFC middleweight kingpin, Anderson Silva.

    Belfort is now slated to fight Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama at UFC 133 in Philadelphia in early August.


T-7. Hector Lombard

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    Record: 29-2

    Promotion: Bellator

    Age: 33 years old

     

    Reason

    Hector Lombard is a big, dominating middleweight in Bellator. He most recently knocked out Falaniko Vitale in the third round and received criticism for not finishing Vitale sooner.

    Lombard's record speaks for itself, but against competition like Bellator may make people skeptical. The 33-year-old middleweight is nearing the end of his career possibly, but he's still a dominating force.

5. Demian Maia

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    Record: 14-2

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 33 years old

     

    Reason

    Demian Maia is set to face Mark Munoz at UFC 131 in June. Maia is a former number one contender for the UFC middleweight title, and his only two losses have came against Nate Marquardt and Anderson Silva.

    Maia has earned eight of his 14 victories by submission and is considered a top Brazilian jiu-jistu specialist.

4. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

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    Record: 14-2, one no contest

    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Age: 31 years old

     

    Reason

    Jacare Souza is currently the Strikeforce middleweight champion after retaining his belt against Robbie Lawler just a few months ago. Souza has won his last four fights since receiving a no contest result due to an illegal soccer kick in his match with Jason "Mayhem" Miller.

    Souza's last loss was against Gegard Mousasi for the vacant Dream middleweight title.

3. Chael Sonnen

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    Record: 25-11-1

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 34 years old

     

    Reason

    Some may be a little angry that Uncle Chael is only in the third spot here, but it was very close voting. Sonnen hasn't been seen since last August when he gave Anderson Silva a run for his money and nearly beat the middleweight champion.

    Since then, Sonnen has gone through legal issues and a suspension for steroids. Sonnen is still a top middleweight regardless, and when he gets back in the cage he will once again begin his ascension to the number one contender spot.

2. Yushin Okami

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    Record: 26-5

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 29 years old

     

    Reason

    Yushin Okami is the number one contender in the UFC's middleweight division currently and is set to face Anderson Silva at UFC 134 in Rio.

    Okami is the last man to beat Silva way before Silva was, well, Silva. Okami will be battling a hostile Brazilian crowd at UFC 134 and has the opportunity to be the next UFC middleweight champion.

1. Anderson Silva

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    PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  (Top) Anderson Silva battles  Forrest Griffin during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Record: 28-4

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 35 years old

     

    Reason

    You can't disagree with Anderson Silva being the number one ranked middleweight. Silva has been a dominant force in the UFC's middleweight division and is set to face the number two ranked middleweight, Yushin Okami, this August at UFC 134 taking place in Rio.

    Silva will have the entirety of the crowd behind him as he tries to avenge his last loss and yet again defend his middleweight title.

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