The Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned its first middleweight titleholder at UFC 33 on Sept. 28, 2001. In its 16-year existence, eight men have captured MMA’s crown jewel at 185 pounds: Dave Menne, Murilo Bustamante, Evan Tanner, Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping. Their respective reigns have resulted in some of the most noteworthy fights in UFC history.
However, no one in the middleweight division can hold a candle to Silva. After he laid claim to the throne in October 2006, he successfully defended it a record 10 times. Silva’s championship run was marked by jaw-dropping knockouts of Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami, along with submissions of Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. When he finally passed the baton to Weidman in July 2013, he had held the title for 2,457 days.
The latest installment of the Sherdog Top 10 series examines the best of the best among UFC middleweight title fights:
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Murilo Bustamante vs. Matt Lindland (UFC 37), Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin (UFC 77), Evan Tanner vs. David Terrell (UFC 51), Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort (UFC 187), Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen (UFC 148), Evan Tanner vs. Rich Franklin (UFC 53), Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (UFC 168), Dave Menne vs. Murilo Bustamante (UFC 35), Rich Franklin vs. David Loiseau (UFC 58), Anderson Silva vs. Nate Marquardt (UFC 73), Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami (UFC 134)
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