Will a Chael Sonnen rematch dampen Anderson Silva's jollity? | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
1. Anderson Silva (31-4)
The world’s best pound-for-pound fighter left little doubt as to who rules the 185-pound ranks with a flawless August performance against Yushin Okami in Rio de Janeiro. In 2012, it appears likely that Silva will have a chance to silence Chael Sonnen
2. Chael Sonnen (26-11-1)
In spite of a year fraught with controversy, Sonnen got back to work on Oct. 8, dominating the surging Brian Stann en route to a second-round submission win. The Oregonian will look to prove that he is, as he claims, the true middleweight champion when he rematches top-ranked Anderson Silva in 2012, though whether Sonnen will be relicensed to fight in Nevada remains unknown.
3. Yushin Okami (26-6)
Yushin Okami finally got his chance to vie for the UFC middleweight champion, but it didn't go as he'd hoped. "Thunder" was beaten down by Anderson Silva and summarily sent to the back of the line in the UFC's 185-pound division.
4. Nate Marquardt (31-10-2)
In wake of the TRT debacle that resulted in his exit from the UFC, Marquardt has been mostly silent. However, the perennial middleweight standout has signed with U.K. promotion British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, though no date has been offered for a potential debut.
5. Mark Munoz (11-2)
It was expected after his victory over former UFC title challenger Demian Maia that Munoz might land in a bout with Brian Stann. "All-American" drew Chael Sonnen instead, so Munoz will now become a trivia answer, as he and Chris Leben square off on Nov. 5 at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England, in the promotion's first non-title five-round main event.
6. Demian Maia (15-3)
After coming up short in a close June decision against Mark Munoz, Maia got back on track with a grinding win over Jorge Santiago on Oct. 8. The decorated grappler has won four of his last six starts, all of which have gone the distance.
7. Brian Stann (11-4)
Stann had no answer for the ground attack of Chael Sonnen at UFC 136, submitting to the former title contender in the second frame. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak which saw Stann polish off Chris Leben, Jorge Santiago and Mike Massenzio.
8. Michael Bisping (21-3)
Bisping silenced antagonist Jorge Rivera in February with a second-round knockout, but the Englishman will attempt to close an even louder mouth later this year. The winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 3 is currently in Las Vegas serving as a coach for Season 14 of the reality series, the finale of which will see Bisping square off against middleweight wildman and rival coach Jason "Mayhem" Miller.
9. Vitor Belfort (20-9)
In his first bout since being victimized by Anderson Silva in February, Belfort blew through Yoshihiro Akiyama with absolute ease in the first round, forcing his way firmly into the middle of the UFC's 185-pound division.
10. Luke Rockhold (8-1)
Rockhold enters the rankings on the back of his Strikeforce middleweight title win, a razor-thin Sept. 10 decision in which the American Kickboxing Academy fighter handed the Brazilian gator his first stateside defeat.
Other contenders: Tim Kennedy, Hector Lombard, Rousimar Palhares, Jorge Santiago, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
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