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USAT/SBN May 2010 MMA Consensus Rankings: Middleweight

Rank Fighter Points Promotion Last Rank
1 Anderson Silva 375 UFC 1
2 Chael Sonnen 353 UFC 2
3 Jake Shields 344 Free Agent 3
4 Nate Marquardt 319 UFC 5
5 Vitor Belfort 304 UFC 4
6 Demian Maia 293 UFC 6
7 Dan Henderson 291 Strikeforce 7
8 Yushin Okami 242 UFC 8
9 Jorge Santiago 235 WVR 9
10 Robbie Lawler 224 Strikeforce 10
11 Wanderlei Silva 155 UFC 11
12 Yoshihiro Akiyama 153 UFC 13
13 Ronaldo Souza 123 Strikeforce 14
14 Alan Belcher 113 UFC 17
15 Michael Bisping 109 UFC 14
16 Thales Leites 100 MFC 16
17 Mamed Khalidov 98 WVR 12
18 Alessio Sakara 83 UFC 18
19 Paulo Filho 78 Bitetti Combat Nordeste 21
20 Melvin Manhoef 68 DREAM/Strikeforce 19
20 Hector Lombard 68 Bellator 23
22 Kazuo Misaki 64 WVR 22
23 Rousimar Palhares 57 UFC 19
24 Patrick Cote 48 UFC 26
25 Dan Miller 47 UFC 24

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

While the MMA world awaits the bout between the prodigal UFC champ #1 Anderson Silva and #2 Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, the biggest intrigue in this division involves #3 Jake Shields and the mystery of how long it will take him to jump to the UFC once his Strikeforce contract expires. And as is typical for this seemingly cursed division, Shields isn't even a natural middleweight and will likely move down to welterweight if he does make it to the UFC.

#4 Nate Marquardt will try to get back in the title chase against #23 Rousimar Palhares at UFC 118. #5 Vitor Belfort has been promised a title shot when he recovers from shoulder surgery. I'll be interested to see if that shot comes against Anderson Silva or not. No word on what's next for #6 Demian Maia after he was publicly embarrassed by Silva at UFC 112.

#7 Dan Henderson will presumably enter the rumored Strikeforce tournament to find a successor to Jake Shields, should Shields actually leave the promotion. #10 Robbie Lawler will presumably be in that tourny as well, regardless of how his catchweight bout with Renato "Babalu" Sobral comes out.

#8 Yushin Okami will face #33 Mark Munoz at UFC on Versus 2 in August. It will be interesting to see if a win gets Okami any nearer a title shot. Munoz may have the wrestling to give Okami trouble however.

#11 Wanderlei Silva and #12 Yoshihiro Akiyama will face off at UFC 116. The winner will doubtless be on a fast-track towards a title shot.

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.

We are now moving to what JCS of Fight Matrix has described as assumed rankings in an attempt to rank fighters who move between weight classes. This has been the biggest problem with the consensus rankings and we believe this new methodology will rectify that.

Let's take Anderson Silva for instance. 87% (13 of 15) of our panelists have him at Light Heavyweight and 100% (15 of 15) at Middleweight. On the 13 ballots that ranked Silva at 205, we took the average (21.2). We then reduced that number by half the percentage of Light Heavyweight ballots that he was not included on. Say he's not on 30% of them, then we do a 15% penalty on the average that we found in the previous step. That number is then used instead of the usual "normalization number" to provide points from those not ranking the fighter in the weight class in question. This avoids fighters being excessively penalized by confusion about which weight class they belong.

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