Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Middleweight

Apr 19, 2010
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Anderson "The Spider" Silva
Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva (26-4)
At UFC 112, Silva turned in another performance that drew the ire of the MMA public, as he danced and sporadically fought his way to a unanimous decision over Demian Maia. With the post-fight histrionics having subsided, “The Spider” figures to meet Chael Sonnen in August in his next title defense.

2. Chael Sonnen (24-10-1)
Sonnen’s combination of stirring trash talk and surprising performances has finally paid off. The Republican politician-cum-prizefighter has been tentatively slated as the next to challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight crown in August.

3. Jake Shields (25-4-1)
Despite entering his April 17 meeting with Dan Henderson as a considerable underdog -- and taking a first-round beating -- Shields dominated the two-time Olympian for the last four rounds, earning a unanimous decision. The question for the Cesar Gracie product now is whether he will remain in Strikeforce or head to the UFC.

4. Nate Marquardt (29-9-2)
Marquardt’s UFC 109 bout with Chael Sonnen was supposed to serve as a perfunctory setup for another UFC middleweight title shot. Instead, Sonnen’s takedowns were far too much for Marquardt, who dropped a unanimous decision and will have to wait for a second crack at the UFC 185-pound crown.

5. Dan Henderson (25-8)
Henderson looked every bit the heavy favorite in round one of his Strikeforce title fight with Jake Shields. However, for the next four rounds, the former two-division Pride champion was dominated on the ground and lost a unanimous decision in his promotional debut.

6. Demian Maia (12-2)
Maia was embarrassed and badly beaten by Anderson Silva in his April 10 title bout. However, with Silva’s in-cage antics and Maia’s throwing caution to the wind late in the fight in an attempt to win, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu star emerged as the bigger fan favorite after UFC 112.

7. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
Belfort was scheduled to get the next crack at pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva’s middleweight throne. However, a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery has bumped “The Phenom” out of a title shot in an intensifying 185-pound division, with no guarantees he will get another chance to face Silva.

8. Yushin Okami (24-5)
Okami was expected to beat Lucio Linhares in their March 31 affair. However, he took the extra step normally absent in his bouts and really put on a show, as he bashed Linhares’ face, forced a second-round stoppage and offered a more enjoyable fight to the lay fan.

9. Jorge Santiago (22-8)
Santiago was one of MMA’s hottest fighters heading into November, when he was embarrassed in his non-title bout with Mamed Khalidov. However, Santiago put on a champion’s performance in the rematch, winning a well-appointed unanimous decision over five rounds to avenge his humbling defeat to the Chechen.

10. Mamed Khalidov (20-4-1)
After whacking Jorge Santiago in their non-title affair in November, many expected the native Chechen to walk away with Sengoku’s middleweight crown on March 7. Instead, Santiago used his grappling ability to ground and outlast Khalidov, as he retained his title.

Other contenders: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping, Paulo Filho, Robbie Lawler, Wanderlei Silva.
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