TUF 14 Finale Results: Where Does Michael Bisping Rank at Middleweight?

Mark Pare@NEPats17Correspondent IIDecember 4, 2011

TUF 14 Finale Results: Where Does Michael Bisping Rank at Middleweight?

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    A great night of fights and another season of The Ultimate Fighter is behind us.  The main event of the evening saw the two coaches go at it.

    In a battle that was heated by the bad blood stemming from the series, Michael Bisping shut down Jason "Mayhem" Miller in the third round with swift knees to the body.

    Throughout the fight, Bisping dominated as Miller got tired quite early.  Miller had a good first round but in that, woke Bisping up and it was a completely different fight after that.

    With an excellent performance by Bisping, his rank in the middleweight division definitely goes up and could face a top five opponent in his next bout.

    Anyway, with that win, here are the rankings in the UFC middleweight division and how Bisping fits into it.

10. Chris Leben

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    Record: 22-8 (12 KO's; 5 Submissions)

    Chris Leben can't catch a break.

    He has been alternating wins and losses since his victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 and when you can state that you knocked out Wanderlei Silva in under 30 seconds, people take notice.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to testing positive for banned substances, Leben doesn't learn from his mistakes.  He will likely be off the top 10 shortly, as he has a year ban for the positive test.

    His fight against Mark Munoz only ended after a corner stoppage because a cut above Leben's eyebrow left him unable to continue.

    Small note, Leben's record in fights after which he tested positive for banned substances now stands at 0-2.

9. Alan Belcher

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    Record: 17-6 (8 KO's; 7 Submission)

    Alan Belcher has been on a tear recently.  After his close split decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100, Belcher has fought three times and finished his opponent three times.

    First, Wilson Gouveia got knocked out in the first round at UFC 107.

    Then, former middleweight title challenger Patrick Cote was choked out in the second round at UFC 113.

    Finally, after undergoing emergency eye surgery and 16 months between fights, Belcher showed little to no ring rust at all, finishing Jason MacDonald in the first round.

    Belcher is deserving of this spot and may climb even higher if he continues this pace.

8. Brian Stann

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    Record: 11-4 (8 KO's; 1 Submission)

    Brian Stann recently lost to Chael Sonnen at UFC 136, but it's going to take more than that to crush the spirit of this former Marine.

    Before the Sonnen bout, Stann was on a three-fight winning streak after coming down from the light-heavyweight division.  Stann finished each one of those three opponents: Mike Massenzio, Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago.

    This former WEC light-heavyweight champion still has something to prove in the middleweight division, but we will have to wait and see what that could be.

7. Demian Maia

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    Record: 15-3 (2 KO's; 8 Submissions)

    Since losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 112, Maia has gone 3-1.

    He has shown a great deal of improvement of his stand-up game but it's always been the ground game that was his bread and butter, as evidenced in his win over Jorge Santiago in his last bout at UFC 136.

    In fact, it was that loss that sent Santiago out of the UFC.

    Maia looked like an inexperienced boy against the UFC middleweight champion, but he's not that kid any more; he's grown and ready to climb back into the title hunt.

6. Vitor Belfort

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    Record: 20-9 (14 KO's; 2 Submissions)

    The former UFC light-heavyweight champion is coming off an impressive performance at UFC 133, knocking out Yoshihiro Akiyama in the first round.

    He may have been knocked out hard in his bout with Anderson Silva, but he showed great perseverance and despite that devastating loss, Belfort rebounded with a quick knockout win.

    He has won six of his last seven but will be in for a good test against Anthony Johnson, who is coming up from the welterweight division.  That bout will take place at UFC 142.

5. Michael Bisping

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    Record: 22-3 (14 KO's; 4 Submissions)

    What can you say about Michael Bisping that hasn't already been said?  His stand-up game and knockout power is greatly underrated and after this most recent win over Jason Miller at the T.U.F. 14 finale, he has proven to be one of the best middleweights in the UFC.

    Bisping has won eight of 10 fights since debuting in the 185-pound division at UFC 83.

    He has come a long way, and speculation should be running rampant in the coming days and weeks on who his next opponent will be.

4. Mark Munoz

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    Record: 12-2 (6 KO's; 1 Submission)

    Mark Munoz is another one of those light-heavyweight fighters who came down to middleweight to achieve greater success.

    He has done exactly that, going 7-1 as a middleweight and is within arm's reach of a title shot against Anderson Silva.

    The NCAA Division I national champion most recently finished Chris Leben at UFC 138 and will get his opportunity to be in a No. 1 contender fight.  It won't be easy as he will be facing Chael Sonnen at the second UFC on Fox event, to be held on Jan. 28.

3. Yushin Okami

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    Record: 26-6 (9 KO's; 4 Submissions)

    Yushin Okami is still possibly the best fighter to hail from Japan.  He has only lost two fights in his last eight, and those two losses were to the two people ahead of him on this list.

    Okami will have to prove he hasn't fallen on hard times as he faces Tim Boetsch at UFC 144.

    A win will get Okami back in the driver's seat; just don't expect him to get a title shot any time soon, as Anderson Silva proved at UFC 134 that he had his number.

    Despite it all, Okami is still in the top three, but a loss to Boetsch could be disastrous, as Okami is once again in a preliminary fight after being in the main event of his previous fight card.

    This happened previously when Okami main-evented UFC 72 in a fight he lost to Rich Franklin, only to take on Jason MacDonald in a prelim fight at UFC 77, a fight Okami won.

2. Chael Sonnen

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    Record: 26-11-1 (7 KO's; 4 Submissions)

    Chael Sonnen won't be the first to tell you that he is the best marketer and hype man to get you interested in fights.

    That's all right because once he steps inside the cage, he is one of the best middleweights in the world and came the closest to taking Anderson Silva's UFC title.

    Sonnen has been wanting that rematch and will get it if he gets by Mark Munoz.

    Sonnen defeated Brian Stann at UFC 136 and called out the champ afterwards.  In the interview attached, his desire to have the belt is definitely at the forefront. 

    He probably won't get that shot on Super Bowl weekend and as stated before, he has one more fight to go, but Sonnen and Silva will go at it once again; that's a guarantee.

    Until he defeats the champ though, he will remain at No. 2.

1. Anderson Silva

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    Record: 31-4 (18 KO's; 6 Submissions)

    Naturally, the No. 1 spot goes to the guy holding onto the belt, something Anderson Silva has done since October 2006, when he defeated Rich Franklin.

    Silva dropped off a bit, in terms of providing exciting fights when he faced Thales Leites and Demian Maia but has since come to form with amazing knockouts of Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami.

    Okami is the last man ever to defeat Silva and albeit, that was a DQ victory back in 2006, Silva has that proverbial monkey off his back and is sitting back, waiting to see who his next opponent will be.

    What more is there to say?  A 15-fight winning streak, in which, he has set multiple UFC records and is arguably the best fighter in the world and until he loses, will remain at the top of the middleweight rankings.

    What do you think?


    Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on  Twitter and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.