Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE
A look at how the six SB Nation panelists see the middleweight division as of right now.
The SB Nation rankings are back, and this week we're looking at the crowded middleweight division. Anderson Silva reigns supreme on top as usual, but he will face a stiff test in number two-ranked Chris Weidman at UFC 162 on July 6th. But after that, it's all over the place.
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites - Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Brian Hemminger from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow. So how did everyone not named Silva and Weidman fare? Check out the fancy chart below.
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues)
First off, I'm sure you're wondering why Chael Sonnen is not on the list. Here's the explanation:
A note about eligibility: Chael Sonnen was ruled ineligible at 185 pounds because he has stated a permanent move to 205 pounds. This differentiates him from someone like Silva, who fought a one-off bout at 205 while never intending to leave the division (or for that matter, someone like Brian Stann, who said all along his fight at 205 with Wanderlei Silva was a one-time deal). As fighters continue to jump around from weight class to weight class and cut the line for title shots, SB Nation will determine fighter eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
So with that out of the way, let's take a look at things. Weidman was nearly unanimous at number 2, only losing out on one card to Yushin Okami. The consensus has Vitor Belfort at 3 and Okami at 4, though Okami received votes at 2 (as mentioned), 4 and 5. Michael Bisping hung around in the top five, while Luke Rockhold just missed out despite one ranking at number 3. Constantinos Philippou and Mark Munoz were the only other unanimous picks, while Tim Boetsch's ranking on five out of six cards was enough for him to take the nine spot overall. Ronaldo Souza stole the 10 spot despite being ranked on three cards (and was ranked in the five spot on one of them).
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
Anderson Silva (1) vs. Chris Weidman (2), UFC 162, July 6th
Vitor Belfort (3) vs. Luke Rockhold (6), UFC on FX 8, May 18th
Michael Bisping (5) vs. Alan Belcher (NR), UFC 159, April 27th
Constantinos Philippou (7) vs. Ronaldo Souza (10), UFC on FX 8, May 18th
Mark Munoz (8) vs. Tim Boetsch (9), UFC 162, July 6th