Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Middleweight

May 28, 2009
Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

Anderson "The Spider" Silva
Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva (24-4)
Drawing scorn for his lackluster April title defense against Thales Leites, Silva was clearly in need of an interesting challenge. Now Silva, who has taken out elite welterweights and middleweights in his career, will have the chance to take out an elite light heavyweight at UFC 101 on Aug. 8 when he meets former 205-pound king Forrest Griffin.

2. Yushin Okami (23-4)
Yushin Okami is becoming more and more familiar with ill-timed injuries. After a hand injury lost him a potential shot against Anderson Silva late last year, a knee injury and training removed him from his bout at UFC 98 against Dan Miller.

3. Nate Marquardt (28-8-2)
Nate Marquardt is keen to rematch divisional ace Anderson Silva, who iced him in July 2007. In order to get another chance at "The Spider" and the UFC middleweight title, Marquardt will need to take out his biggest challenge since his bout with Silva in undefeated BJJ king Demian Maia at UFC 102 on Aug. 29.

4. Robbie Lawler (16-4, 1 NC)
EliteXC’s one-time middleweight champion will look to pick up where he left off when his former employer closed up shop. “Ruthless” takes on fellow former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields in the headliner of Strikeforce’s June 6 bill on Showtime.

5. Dan Henderson (24-7)
It was not without a bit of a brouhaha, but Henderson earned a split decision over Rich Franklin at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland, on Jan. 17. Now, the former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder has earned a lengthy promotional vehicle coaching against Michael Bisping on the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The season’s larger payoff will be a marquee bout against Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in July.

6. Demian Maia (10-0)
Few fighters if any have been as impressive as Demian Maia over the last 14 months. The road to a shot at the UFC middleweight title for Maia now runs through Nathan Marquardt at UFC 102 on Aug. 29.

7. Jorge Santiago (21-7)
In the first defense of his Sengoku middleweight title, Jorge Santiago will be in for a rematch regardless, as Kazuhiro Nakamura and Kazuo Misaki square off on Aug. 2 in a title eliminator. It was Nakamura who Santiago bested to win Sengoku's middleweight tournament last November. Santiago followed that up by pulling out the fifth-round submission over Misaki in January to win the promotion's title.

8. Thales Leites (14-2)
No doubt wanting to erase the memories of his April title challenge against Anderson Silva, Leites has quickly accepted a bout with Italian striker Alessio Sakara at UFC 101 on Aug. 8.

9. Vitor Belfort (18-8)
Early indications were that the new-look, middleweight Belfort would meet divisional stalwart Gegard Mousasi under the Affliction banner in August. However, with Mousasi adamant on not cutting down to middleweight again, it looks like Belfort will be in for another opponent.

10. Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)
You'd be hard-pressed to find too many people who think of Chael Sonnen as an elite middleweight. Fortunately for the Team Quester, results are what count, and with a dominant display over top-15 opposition in Dan Miller, and Gegard Mousasi's exit from the division, Sonnen re-enters these rankings.

Other contenders: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping Patrick Cote, Dan Miller, Frank Trigg.

*Having announced his departure from the division, formerly No. 3 ranked Gegard Mousasi exits the middleweight rankings.
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