Ranking the Entire UFC Middleweight Roster

Kevin HessAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2011

Ranking the Entire UFC Middleweight Roster

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    The third installment of ranking the UFC's current roster by division moves on down to the Middleweight division.

    This being one of the larger divisions that consists of 43 fighters on the UFC Middleweight roster, that makes this division a challenging puzzle to piece together, especially when the division has been dominated by one man.

    I am not including Royce Gracie for obvious reasons, nor am I including Yoshihiro Akiyama due to his recent decision to cut down to welterweight.

    Same rules apply as the previous articles and as always, I want to hear your comments on how you feel this list reflects on your opinion.

    To catch the Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight division, click on the links below.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/837916-ranking-the-entire-ufc-light-heavyweight-division

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/836023-ranking-the-entire-ufc-heavyweight-roster

43: Francis Carmont

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    The 29-year-old Francis Carmont (16-7) kicks off this list being ranked 43rd in the Middleweight division.

    Carmont's premier win occurred in his last outing with a big first-round knockout win over former UFC fighter Jason Day.

    Carmont is maybe best known for being a striker and training partner to Georges St. Pierre.

    The first opponent for the Frenchman will be Chris Camozzi at UFC 137.

42: Dongi Yang

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    Dongi Yang (10-2) has struggled inside of the Octagon, posting a record of  only 1-2 with losses to Court McGee and Chris Camozzi.

    Yang is a capable fighter and has only lost by decision, but with the congestion in the UFC Middleweight division, he finds himself near the rear of the pack.

41: Chris Camozzi

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    Chris Camozzi (15-4) has been pretty successful since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter by posting a 2-1 UFC record, being cut briefly, and recently re-signing to fight Francis Carmont.

    Camozzi hopes that this run in the UFC will be a longer and even more successful one.   

40: Steve Cantwell

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    Steve Cantwell (8-4) was at one point the WEC Light Heavyweight Champion and will be remembered as an MMA trivia question as the last WEC Light Heavyweight Champion.

    Cantwell holds notable wins over Brian Stann (2) and Razak Al-Hassan in his first UFC appearance at Fight for the Troops.

    Since then he has lost his last three fights and hopes to re-capture his former glory by dropping weight and making his Middleweight debut, which will take place at UFC 136 against Mike Massenzio.

39: Paul Bradley

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    Paul Bradley (18-3, 1 NC) has six wins by knockout, six wins by submission, and six wins by decision. Two of his losses have come at the hands of Luke Rockhold and Rafael Natal.

    Being a wrestler out of the University of Iowa should indicate that he is superb in that department, where he was a two-time All-American.  

38: Eric Schafer

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    Eric Schafer (12-5) has been in-and-out of the UFC and is now taking on his third tour of duty under their banner.

    Schafer has posted a total record of 3-4 inside of the Octagon, but his losses have come against Michael Bisping, Stephan Bonnar, Ryan Bader and Jason Brilz.

    He is slated to have another tough opponent in Aaron Simpson at UFC 136.

37: Mike Massenzio

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    Mike Massenzio (12-5) has struggled since a big win over Drew McFedries, being cut by the UFC once already.

    Massenzio has lost to C.B. Dollaway, Brian Stann, and a Light-Heavyweight bout against Krzysztof Soszynski on short notice.

    Massenzio will get another chance to fight against Steve Cantwell at UFC 136.

36: Brad Tavares

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    Brad Tavares (7-1), who almost made it to the finals of The Ultimate Fighter when he lost to Court McGee has rebounded nicely and has made a name for himself inside of the Octagon with a win over Phil Baroni and a 2-1 overall UFC record.

    Tavares will get another chance to improve both his ranking and record as he is set to face Tim Credeur at UFC 137.

35: Rafael Natal

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    Rafael Natal (13-3) has posted a 1-1-1 record in the UFC and he looks to get his chance against a higher ranked opponent.

    Missed opportunities against Jason MacDonald, Riki Fukuda, and Alessio Sakara due to injuries and replacements have left Natal waiting for the bigger fish to come along.

34: Dan Miller

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    Dan Miller (13-6) hasn't had the success his brother Jim has had but has been a more than serviceable competitor in the UFC ranks.

    Miller has went 5-5 inside of the UFC with his losses coming to the top of the division's fighters. Miller may have found himself to be a top 10 to top 15 gatekeeper.

33: Jason MacDonald

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    Jason MacDonald (25-15) might have a record that indicates he should be near the rear of the pack but MacDonald is a solid UFC competitor inside of the Octagon.

    MacDonald tends to put on entertaining fights as he has won four bonuses, three of them being submission of the night honors and one knockout of the night honor...and one broken leg highlight.

    MacDonald tends to lose to the upper-tier fighters but does have back-to-back submission wins over Chris Leben and Ed Herman, among others.

32: Nick Ring

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    Nick Ring (12-1) has just suffered his first career MMA loss. He was also involved in a win over Riki Fukuda that was very questionable to say the least.

    Ring does possess solid striking skills and an improving ground game, but his most recent loss should leave him hanging around near the back half of the rankings for the time being.

31: Alessio Sakara

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    Alessio Sakara (15-8) is the definition of a UFC gatekeeper: a talented striker who can defeat a good portion of the roster but is a stepping stone to the more gifted fighters on the roster.

    Being only 30 years of age, Sakara should be a UFC mainstay for a long time, as he has already posted a 6-5-1 UFC record to date.

30: Kyle Noke

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    Kyle Noke (19-5-1) has come a long way from being a bodyguard to late Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.

    Noke has since gone on to join the UFC and post a 3-1 record inside of the Octagon with his lone UFC loss coming at the hands of Ed Herman.

    Noke has a draw against Hector Lombard and wins over George Sotiropoulos, Brian Ebersole, and Chris Camozzi.

29: Nate Quarry

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    It's hard to rank Nate Quarry (12-4) because it is still unknown if he is retired or active.

    Quarry required 13 screws to be put into his face after his loss to Jorge Rivera but he is most known for an amazing string of comebacks after being badly beaten.

    If you haven't seen Credeur vs. Quarry, you should.  

28: Jorge Rivera

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    Jorge Rivera (19-9) is another fighter who is on the fence about retirement.

    Rivera is responsible for some of the most memorable Michael Bisping videos prior to their showdown that left fans wondering if Rivera could have indeed defeated Bisping, hadn't he received a brutal illegal knee that many fans deemed purposeful on Bisping's part.

    Maybe we will get to see Sakara vs. Rivera before he hangs the gloves up for good.

27: Chris Weidman

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    Chris Weidman (6-0) is a very promising up-and-comer at middleweight with half of his victories coming inside of the Octagon.

    Weidman has tremendous wrestling ability as demonstrated against Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut match.

    Weidman is getting a huge opportunity against Tom Lawlor at UFC 139 in November. A win would shoot him up the rankings.

26: Constantinos Philippou

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    Constantinos Philippou (8-2) scored a huge upset win over Jorge Rivera in his last bout, shooting him up the rankings ladder.

    Philippou might have hit his high water mark though because as an MMA fighter he is limited to mainly striking only.

    This doesn't mean he cannot put on great fights though, look for him to be matched up with some of the division's better strikers.

25: Nick Catone

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    Nick Catone (9-2) suffered an Achilles tear and will be on the shelf for awhile.

    Before that, he has been defeated by some of the division's better fighters and has been seemingly injury-prone throughout his tenure with the UFC.

    He did have a close decision loss to Mark Munoz and has posted a 3-2 UFC record so far.

24: Tim Credeur

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    Tim Credeur (12-4) has proven to be a tough customer for any opponent inside of the UFC.

    Credeur has lost his last two fights but he did suffer a long layoff in between fights after a brain tumor scare.

    Credeur is now set on putting some wins together and getting back into contention.

23: Tim Boetsch

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    Tim Boetsch (14-4) is 2-0 at Middleweight with wins over Kendall Grove and most recently, Nick Ring.

    Boetsch might have found a home at Middleweight. His losses have been to high-level competition and he now is most likely one win away from getting a huge boost in competition.

22: Riki Fukuda

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    Riki Fukuda (17-5) was riding a seven-fight win streak before being defeated in his UFC debut against Nick Ring, despite being told by Dana White and the majority of the MMA community that he had actually won the fight.

    Dana thought that Fukuda had won so much that he paid him his winning purse.

    Fukuda is currently overcoming a leg injury that occurred in a car accident.

21: Cung Le

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    Cung Le (7-1) is a new customer to the UFC and at 39 years of age, probably won't be a mainstay for too long.

    Le did avenge his only loss and now is focused on his next opponent, which should be Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139. This should be a very entertaining fight that more than likely will not go the distance.

20: C.B. Dollaway

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    C.B. Dollaway (11-4) has had a hard time taking the next step in the UFC.

    Dollaway has posted a 5-4 record in the UFC and was the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter.

    After suffering back-to-back knockout losses, Dollaway will be looking to get back on the winning track. 

19: Jarad Hamman

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    Jared Hamman (13-3) made a successful middleweight debut against C.B. Dollaway, winning by TKO.

    After such a strong victory at Middleweight, it will be interesting to see who he matched up against next, as he should get a top 15 opponent.

18: Court McGee

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    Court McGee (14-1) is an Ultimate Fighter winner and has a well documented win over addiction.

    McGee is currently riding an eight-fight win streak and doesn't appear to be slowing down. After recovering from a knee injury, he recently defeated Dongi Yang.

17: Wanderlei Silva

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    How do you rank the legendary Wanderlei Silva (33-11), because I couldn't let him fall out of the top 20.

    Silva, who is at the end of his career, has been a legend of the sport and provided fans with some of the best knockouts and great fights throughout his tenure as a MMA fighter.

    Silva who is only 2-6 in his last eight fights should be looking at a final win before retiring as he sets to face off with Cung Le at UFC 139 in what would be a great fight to hang them up afterwards.  

16: Tom Lawlor

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    Tom Lawlor (7-3) is one of the more entertaining figures in MMA.

    Lawlor also has sthe skills necessary to succeed inside of the Octagon with wins over Kyle Kingsbury, C.B. Dollaway, and Patrick Cote. He also has one of those "controversial losses" to Aaron Simpson where he probably should've been awarded the victory.

    Lawlor has had some setbacks in his career also, which makes him a very hard fighter to predict on where he is going and how far he can make it.

15: Ed Herman

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    Ed Herman (22-9) has been extremely impressive since coming back from a severe knee injury, notching first-round wins over Tim Credeur and Kyle Noke in just a shade over two months.

    If Herman is firing on all cylinders, he is a force to be reckoned with against any fighter at middleweight, as he looks more determined than ever to make a serious run at the top of the division.

14: Aaron Simpson

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    The 37-year-old Aaron Simpson (9-2) finds himself in the top 15 with big wins over Ed Herman, Tom Lawlor, Mario Miranda and Brad Tavares.

    Age is against Simpson, but he is a tough opponent and isn't slowing down. He is expected to fight again in October against injury replacement, Eric Schafer.

13: Jorge Santiago

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    Jorge Santiago (23-9) is in his second tour of duty with the UFC and has again struggled against better competition, losing to Brian Stann.

    Santiago is widely considered a top middleweight and has another opportunity to prove it when he faces off with Damian Maia at UFC 136.

12: Alan Belcher

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    Alan Belcher (17-6) has scored wins over Jorge Santiago, Ed Herman, Denis Kang, Wilson Gouveia, Patrick Cote, and most recently, Jason MacDonald.

    Belcher has overcome some serious obstacles and now looks to focus on climbing into the very top of the division.

11: Rousimar Palhares

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    Rousimar Palhares (13-3) has posted a UFC record of 6-2 and finds himself in contention for possible title eliminator matches in the upcoming future.

    Palhares is one of the better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the Middleweight division and is a submission threat to any fighter if the match touches the canvas. Nine of his 13 wins are by submission and six of those are submissions to the leg.

    Palhares is also incredibly strong, but the one disadvantage he does have is involves his physical attributes. Palhares stands only at 5'8" tall and musters up a 71" reach.

10: Jason Miller

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    Jason Miller (24-7) is starting off his second stint with the UFC against another top contender, Michael Bisping, the same man he is coaching against on this season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    People tend to see "Mayhem" only as a entertainer, but they forget that he has serious skill inside of a cage. If he can finish Michael Bisping in their upcoming bout, look for him to earn a title shot in the immediate future.

9: Chris Leben

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    Chris Leben (22-7) has had many ups and downs during his tenure with the UFC.

    Leben has notched wins over some of the division's biggest names but his consistency has been his Achilles heel.

    Leben is 4-1 in his last five fights with wins over Jay Silva, Aaron Simpson, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Wanderlei Silva.

8: Michael Bisping

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    Michael Bisping (21-3) takes a lot of heat from MMA fans, myself included, but he usually gets the job done.

    Bisping is riding a three-fight win streak over Akiyama, Dan Miller, and Jorge Rivera but his strength of schedule tends to hurt his title opportunity,

    Bisping has faced serious set-backs against top-level competition, losing to Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, and Rashad Evans.

    He also was gift wrapped a decision win over Matt Hamill and won in a very dishonorable way against Jorge Rivera, shortly after landing a blatant illegal knee that seriously hurt Rivera to a point that he never recovered. 

7: Demian Maia

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    Demian Maia (14-3) took a hard loss to Mark Munoz in his last outing, but the most important aspect of that fight is when Maia displayed a much-improved striking game.

    Possibly the UFC's top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, if you find yourself rolling with Maia, you're going to find yourself tapping out.

    Maia has forced some of the UFC's top Middleweights to tap, including Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, Jason MacDonald and Ed Herman.

6: Vitor Belfort

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    Vitor Belfort (20-9) is 6-1 in his last seven fights with his lone loss coming at the hands of Anderson Silva.

    Belfort is known for some of the most fierce striking in the Middleweight division and you will hear all about his hand speed if you ever watch his fights.

    Belfort has three impressive wins in his career but they came in 1998 against Wanderlei Silva, 2004 against Randy Couture, and Rich Franklin in 2009.

5: Mark Munoz

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    Mark Munoz (11-2) may go unnoticed by many MMA fans but his wins over Nick Catone, Ryan Jensen, Kendall Grove, Aaron Simpson, C.B. Dollaway, and Demian Maia cannot be.

    Munoz is now a serious contender and his ranking at fifth indicates just that.

    Munoz has another test against Chris Leben at UFC 138 and if he pulls out a win, it should put any doubts to rest.

4: Brian Stann

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    Brian Stann (11-3) has made a serious run into title contention.

    Stann, the former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion, has been nothing but spectacular since dropping to middleweight, posting a record of 3-0 with huge wins over Mike Massenzio, Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago.

    Stann is next to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 136, which should serve as a title eliminator bout.

3: Yushin Okami

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    Yushin Okami (26-6) is coming off of a title-fight loss to Anderson Silva and will look to rebound in his next fight.

    Okami has scored some big wins in his career and will look to continue to grind out wins and improve on his overall record in hopes of getting a rubber match with Anderson Silva sometime down the road.

    In order meet that goal, he will have to start finishing fights.

2: Chael Sonnen

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    The only person that has come close to defeating Anderson Silva is none other than Chael Sonnen (25-11).

    Sonnen dominated Anderson Silva for 23 minutes before being trapped in a triangle choke, Sonnen's Achilles Heel.

    The day for a rematch will certainly come and when it does, will Sonnen be able to be the man who dethrones Silva from the top of the Middleweight division?

    Sorry to ruin the next slide, I know the anticipation was paining you.

1: Anderson Silva

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    Silva is setting the benchmark for greatness inside the UFC. He continually defends his championship and has only looked human one time during his tenure with Zuffa.

    Silva is getting up in age but he doesn't appear to be slowing down and with as little damage as he takes, his body might hold up for many years to come.

    The only real question that remains is who can defeat this man, if anyone can actually do it.