Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.
We'll have to wait until April to see #1 Anderson Silva defend his UFC middleweight belt against #6 Vitor Belfort at UFC 112.
Fans of top-flight middleweight action will have to be satisfied with #2 Nate Marquardt vs #5 Chael Sonnen at UFC 109 in February. That match is a double-pinkie- swear-no-take-backs #1 contenders match too.
#7 Jake Shields is expected to defend his Strikeforce middleweight belt against #3 Dan Henderson, possibly on their April CBS card.
#8 Yushin Okami will return to action against Lucio Linhares at UFC Fight Night 21, presumably on the undercard.
#9 Yoshihiro Akiyama is apparently still in the deep freeze. At one point he was apparently set to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110, but that fight went to #14 Michael Bisping instead. No word on when fans can expect to see the Sexy One again.
#10 Robbie Lawler will face #17 Melvin Manhoef at this Saturday's Strikeforce: Miami event on Showtime.
#11 Jorge Santiago will defend his Sengoku belt against #12 Mahmed Khalidov -- the man who beat him in a non-title fight at Sengoku 11 -- in March.
Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings.
We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.