The greatest UFC fighters always stand out due to their accomplishments. They are people who have been world champions and have enjoyed dominance for a distinct period in the sport. In the Middleweight division of the UFC, there have been quite a few contenders who have risen to the top.
While there is a distinct number one that rules over this list, what about the ones that surround him? Should they be former champions or journeymen that were brilliant but couldn’t get their hands on the crown? There are many ways to slice who is the greatest in any division in the UFC.
For the basis of this list, only people who became champions have been chosen. One cannot claim to be one of the greatest of all time if they never held the belt to prove that they are the greatest amongst their contemporaries. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have valid arguments to be in this conversation. But for the sake of this list, the top five are all men that heard Bruce Buffer say “AND NEW.”
All records indicate their performance as Middleweights in the UFC. Other weight classes and other promotions aren’t included.
Luke Rockhold (6-3), Vitor Belfort (6-4), Robert Whittaker (9-1), Chael Sonnen (6-4), Yoel Romero (9-4).
Notable wins: Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson, Anderson Silva, Matt Hamill
Michael Bisping seemed destined to be a career journeyman. However, he cemented his legacy as one of the best middleweights in UFC history with his championship win over Luke Rockhold. Bisping not only beat a bitter rival who had a win over him, but finally got UFC gold. He has faced the who’s who of the division. The list is so long that it may be hard to go through all of them.
‘Left Hook Larry’ overcoming the struggles of his early career to become a champion is already one of the best stories in MMA history. There is no question that Bisping is a top-five Middleweight in UFC history.
Notable wins: Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort
Perhaps Weidman should be a spot ahead, or maybe a spot lower than where we are putting him. However, this seems like the best position for Weidman before his career is over. Weidman is easily on this list by virtue of being the man that knocked Anderson Silva off his peak to win the UFC Middleweight Championship.
He still has the second-most title defenses in the division. Even his losses were to top-tier Middleweight fighters. If Weidman bounces back and improves his record, he could move further up this list. His two wins over Silva count for a lot more than we can measure.
Notable wins: Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock, Nate Quarry, Yushin Okami.
Many could argue that Franklin doesn’t belong on this list. However, that would just be incorrect. That is mainly because of how much of Franklin’s talent is forgotten for happening before Silva.
Franklin was shaping up to be what Silva ended up being. He was also an explosive fighter, having only two decision wins in his UFC Middleweight career. Franklin was actually the favorite for the first fight against Silva, such was his early dominance. What he did for the division cannot be understated, and until others surpass him, he is number three on this list.
Notable wins: Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero
Israel Adesanya has risen so fast in the world of MMA that people will be boggled to see him this far up. But considering how many UFC Middleweights were left without championships in their career, Izzy having achieved what he has is unbelievable. He has already had four title fights (one interim) and is undefeated in those. He even has a win over Anderson Silva, but that fight felt more like a showpiece for Izzy to win.
Izzy is close to clearing out the division, a feat that only Silva has achieved before him. However, it will take him quite a while to jump up to the next spot.
Notable wins: Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen, Nate Marquardt, Vitor Belfort
Anderson Silva is possibly one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time. That is inarguable. We could have had this list be so much more diverse if Silva didn’t beat every challenger that dared to square up with him. The losses on his record don’t even seem that big an issue, because they happened after his prime.
While the first two losses to Weidman are considered what put him out of his prime, he has been competitive in his fights since. He has always fought ranked opponents consistently and has been finished only once since. From his superhuman efforts against Chael Sonnen to spectacular knockouts against the likes of Vitor Belfort. Anderson Silva has done it all in this division, and he may never be superseded.
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