|411 Mania||Sherdog||MMA Weekly||Irish Whip|
|Anderson Silva||Anderson Silva||Anderson Silva||Dan Henderson|
|Dan Henderson||Paulo Filho||Paulo Filho||Anderson Silva|
|Paulo Filho||Dan Henderson||Matt Lindland||Denis Kang|
|Rich Franklin||Rich Franklin||Rich Franklin||Paulo Filho|
|Matt Lindland||Matt Lindland||Denis Kang
|Denis Kang||Nathan Marquardt||Robbie Lawler||Matt Lindland|
|Robbie Lawler||Denis Kang||Nathan Marquardt||Robbie Lawler|
|Nathan Marquardt||Robbie Lawler||Kazuo Misaki||Yushin Okami|
|Yushin Okami||Yushin Okami||Frank Trigg||Jason Miller|
|Frank Trigg||Frank Trigg||Yushin Okami||Frank Trigg|
Alright here's the much maligned Middleweight (185 pound) division. This is simultaneously the division where the UFC is the weakest AND where there are more top 10 fighters outside the UFC than any other.
There's a pretty broad consensus about who the number one is in this division -- Anderson Silva takes the honors in 3/4 of the rankings with Irish Whip chasing the chimera that is a 185 pound Dan Henderson all the way to the top of their list. They do at least rank Anderson at 2. 411 and Sherdog also waste a ranking on Henderson, only MMA Weekly has the sense and consistency to only rank him in the division he's fighting in -- Light Heavy.
Everybody's got undefeated grappler and WEC 185 champ Paulo Fihlo at 2 or 3, except for the Whip which unaccountably bumps Denis Kang above him. They're also the only ones who break the consensus that Rich Franklin is the 4th best 185lb'er in the world. By passing on Henderson, MMA Weekly saved room for Matt Lindland in their top 3 but everyone else rates him below Franklin.
Robbie Lawler, Nathan Marquardt and Kang are ranked somewhere between six and eight by everybody except the aforementioned Irish Whip who overrates Kang and doesn't have Marquardt in the top 10 at all.
Everybody had Yushin Okami and Frank Trigg in the 9 or 10 spot, except the Whip who sneaks Okami up to 8 and bumps Jason Miller in above Trigg at 9. MMA Weekly is the only ranker with enough left-over PRIDE love to prop up Kazuo Misaki in the 8 spot.
So out of these 12 fighters, Zuffa has 7 on contract, and only 5 are in the UFC. You have to assume that they're building up Fihlo in the WEC and biding their time until his teammate Anderson Silva is no longer champ. As for Jason "Mayhem" Miller, he's in the lonely limbo where Zuffa sends fighters with only one fight left on their contracts. I'd love to see him challenge Fihlo for that WEC belt but don't hold your breath. One also has to wonder what Nate Marquardt's status with Zuffa is after his disappointing title run. Here's a top contender whose Spike TV debut against Ivan Salaverry was so boring that they wouldn't air his fight with Dean Lister even though Zuffa had planned it as the headliner for the UFN card. I expect to see Nathan back in Pancrase before too long. Too bad too, as I'd love to see him wrangle with Franklin or Okami.
Matt Lindland is the most notorious Ronin on the list, having wandered the world since being cast out for wearing a forbidden T-Shirt at a UFC weigh-in. His last fight was a loss to Fedor at Heavyweight. Hopefully we'll see him sign up with EliteXC or K-1 Hero's soon. Robbie "Lower Tier" Lawler is doing well there, having just KO'd Murilo "Ninja" Rua to take their 185 pound belt. There's talk of a Lawler/Frank Shamrock match to unify the EliteXC and Strikeforce belts.
Denis Kang appears headed to K-1 Hero's as well as continuing to fight in Korea for Spirit MC. No word on where Frank Trigg will be fighting next either. Judging by the misinformation he gets fed by Zuffa for airing on Tagg Radio, one has to assume his relationship with Dana is not so good. And Misaki? I actually expect to see him in the UFC at some point as they've signed some of his Team Grabaka teammates. He's never been a favorite of mine, but I certainly think he could impact the very thin UFC 185lb division.