Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Middleweight

Oct 27, 2010
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Anderson "The Spider" Silva
Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva (27-4)
“The Spider” continues to mend from a rib injury he carried into his August triumph over Chael Sonnen. Silva was expected to meet Sonnen for a rematch early next year; however, Sonnen’s positive test for elevated levels of testosterone has forced the UFC to rearrange its plans. Now, pending injury recovery, Silva will defend his strap against Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 on Feb. 5.

2. Chael Sonnen (24-11-1)
The bizarre tale of Sonnen continues. He failed his post-UFC 117 urinalysis test after it revealed elevated testosterone levels and now faces a one-year suspension if his appeal is denied. Though Sonnen has formally appealed, he has yet to speak on the issue, and a potential rematch with Anderson Silva is now off the table.

3. Nate Marquardt (30-9-2)
In his crucial Sept. 15 bout with Rousimar Palhares, Marquardt hammered out a first-round stoppage. With Vitor Belfort promoted into a title fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 126, Marquardt will now step into the UFC 122 headliner on Nov. 13. There, he will meet Yushin Okami in a UFC middleweight title eliminator.

4. Demian Maia (13-2)
At UFC 118, Maia dominated a tough Mario Miranda for 15 minutes and returned to the win column after his April debacle against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The grappling ace will be back in the cage on Dec. 4, when he meets “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Kendall Grove at “The Ultimate Fighter 12” Finale.

5. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
After injuries canceled two scheduled title clashes with Anderson Silva in 2010, it seemed Belfort would have to go through the rugged Yushin Okami at UFC 122 to secure a UFC middleweight title shot. However, Chael Sonnen’s alleged UFC 117 drug test failure has forced the UFC to switch up Silva’s next fight, meaning Belfort will likely face “The Spider” for the gold at UFC 126.

6. Yushin Okami (25-5)
Okami signed on for a UFC middleweight title eliminator against Vitor Belfort at UFC 122 on Nov. 13. However, with the UFC shuffling the deck and opting for a matchup between Belfort and champion Anderson Silva, Okami will now meet Nate Marquardt with that same title shot on the line in Oberhausen, Germany.

7. Dan Henderson (25-8)
In April, Henderson’s much-anticipated Strikeforce debut ended in ennui, as he was outwrestled for the majority of his bout with Jake Shields en route to losing a unanimous verdict. The former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder is set for a return on Dec. 4, when he takes on Renato "Babalu" Sobral, a man who defeated him in the final of the Rings King of Kings tournament in 1999.

8. Jorge Santiago (23-8)
In a rematch of last year’s most underrated fights, Santiago and Kazuo Misaki turned in arguably the best bout of 2010 so far. The back-and-forth five-round war culminated in Santiago -- who had already been nearly knocked out and submitted in the fight -- retaining his Sengoku middleweight crown by pounding on a hapless Misaki until his corner threw in the towel.

9. Ronaldo Souza (13-2, 1 NC)
“Jacare” became a father on Aug. 20, just a day before he became Strikeforce middleweight champion by besting Tim Kennedy in Houston. The grappling king will likely return to the cage in February to make the first defense of his crown.

10. Michael Bisping (20-3)
Bisping began the year with a tough decision loss to Wanderlei Silva. He has been surgical ever since, taking out two high-quality opponents in Dan Miller and Yoshihiro Akiyama. With those wins, he kept pace in the UFC middleweight division and thrust himself back into the 185-pound title hunt.

Other contenders: Alan Belcher, Gerald Harris, Chris Leben, Hector Lombard, Wanderlei Silva.

* With his return to the welterweight division, previously third-ranked Jake Shields exits the middleweight rankings.
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