1. Anderson Silva (32-4)
His long and loud feud with Chael Sonnen now in the rearview, pound-for-pound king Silva is back to the same problem he had before: a lack of suitable challengers. Unbeaten wrestler Chris Weidman remains an option, while Silva’s management has said “The Spider” is still interested in fighting Georges St. Pierre. Whatever the next move, it will have to wait until 2013, as Silva has opted to take the rest of the year off.
2. Chael Sonnen (27-12-1)
Despite a strong opening round, Sonnen was once again trumped in his UFC title rematch with Anderson Silva on July 7, this time being punched out after an ill-timed spinning back-fist. The loss has prompted a move back to light heavyweight, where Sonnen will take on Forrest Griffin on Dec. 29 in a rematch of a 2003 bout which Griffin won via submission.
3. Chris Weidman (9-0)
Weidman kept his record blemish-free and recorded another impressive victory July 11 with a bloody and brutal knockout of Mark Munoz on Fuel TV. The Serra-Longo product has since been challenged on Twitter by Vitor Belfort, but Weidman declined; likewise, UFC boss Dana White recently stated that Weidman could be next in line for Anderson Silva.
4. Michael Bisping (22-4)
After a June surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, Bisping already knows who he’ll face when he’s recuperated. The perpetual middleweight contender will try to get back on track against heavy-handed American Brian Stann come Sept. 22 in Toronto.
5. Tim Boetsch (16-4)
Despite being looked upon by many as fodder for incoming Bellator champ Hector Lombard, “The Barbarian” took an unexpected -- and, some would argue, undeserved -- split decision against Lombard in a tepid July 21 affair at UFC 149.
6. Mark Munoz (12-3)
Munoz appeared on the brink of contention after four straight wins against Chris Leben, Demian Maia, C.B. Dollaway and Aaron Simpson. The title talk came to a screeching halt on July 11, however, when the former Oklahoma State was dealt a bloody knockout at the hands of unbeaten up-and-comer Chris Weidman.
7. Vitor Belfort (21-9)
With his latest hand injury healed, many expected that Belfort would take on rival “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” coach Wanderlei Silva in his return bout. That fight may still happen down the line, but for now, Belfort has been paired against a serious contender in Alan Belcher, who he’ll meet Oct. 13 in Rio de Janeiro.
8. Yushin Okami (27-7)
Okami shuffled through three opponents for UFC 150, originally being paired with Luiz Cane, then Rousimar Palhares and finally Buddy Roberts. The Japanese import looked solid in stopping Roberts on second-round punches and halting the first two-fight losing skid of his career.
9. Luke Rockhold (10-1)
Tim Kennedy proved no match for Rockhold in their July 14 Strikeforce title bout, as the younger, rangier AKA product had his way for the majority of their 25-minute encounter. Rockhold’s next defense is still up in the air, but it does appear he’ll stay put in Strikeforce for the foreseeable future.
10. Brian Stann (12-4)
Still on the mend from a separated shoulder which took him out of a major bout with Hector Lombard, Stann has a fight to look forward to when he’s back in fighting shape. The “All-American” will tangle with Michael Bisping on Sept. 22, with each man looking to move up in the suddenly bustling middleweight division.
Other contenders:Alan Belcher, Rousimar Palhares, Jake Shields, Alexander Shlemenko, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
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