Top 10 Middleweights
I personally believe the 185lbs division is easily one of the most stacked divisions at the moment and is completely underrated in that aspect. Just because AS is so dominant, it doesn't therefore mean the division is worthless - far from it in fact.
The thing people forget to consider, is that Silva has beat only three of (in my opinion) the top 10 middleweights - one of which he was dominated by in the first four and a half rounds.
10. Brian Stann: I like Stann at MW. He may not have yet established himself as a real contender, but solid wins against Santiago, Leben and Massenzio surely show that he is a good fighter. A step back from the number one contender is no bad thing and I'm sure he will look even further improved against Sakara.
9. Demian Maia: I know he didn't look too impressive against Weidman in his last fight, but credit where it's due he is still a great fighter. I fondly believed he beat Munoz in their outing, and he looked good against Santiago. He is also far more well rounded but needs to try to go back to his superlative BJJ game in order to get back into title contention. I'd like to see Ronaldo Souza come to the UFC and fight Maia next; a fight that BJJ fans would dribble at the prospect of, I am sure.
8. Hector Lombard: I wish this dude would be in the UFC, already - or even Strikeforce for that matter. Anyway, he has established himself in wins over Prangley, Vitale, Shlemenko et al and remains Bellator MW champ. He should really be ambitious enough to step up in competition, but if Marquardt goes over to Bellator, a fight between the two could be one to test Hector's top-10 status. One thing that makes me doubtful about Lombard is that his two fights in Pride were both losses, which may imply that he isn't the sort of big stage fighter and could "do a Fedor" so to speak.
7. Chris Weidman: Alike Maia, Chris looked rather slopping in his last outing. Even with an 11 days notice, I did expect his stamina to be spot on as he claims to train every day regardless of an upcoming fight. However, I'll avoid negativity and state that this was the best win (not the least impressive) of his career and shows the dude is for real. Both dudes looked bad, but Weidman most certainly had a valid excuse for that and earned kudos for stepping up to the plate and getting the W. To solidify his status, he needs one more good win against the likes of Stann or Belcher.
6. Yushin Okami: I've never been a big fan of the Japanese fighter, in all honesty. He was demolished by Sonnen and Silva with ease, and has only had two impressive wins in his UD over Marquardt and split decision win against Munoz (which I believed the Fillipino won anywho). If he loses to Boetsch in his up-and-coming fight, Tim will be given a top-10 spot and Yushin will have to win at least 5 in a row for another shot at the belt. As it stands, a win in his next fight and a sequential 2 or 3 could set up another fight at Silva (or Sonnen)'s belt.
5. Mark Munoz: He was unfortunate to have been ruled out of his bout with Sonnen, and I feel sorry for Munoz. He looked great against Leben, Dollaway and Simpson, but as I've said I scored his bout against Maia in favour of the Brazilian. Despite this, he is still a major threat in the division and I'd love to see a bout with Rousimar Palhares in his return from injury to see whether his contender status is correct. Perhaps avoiding Chael due to injury could work out for the better, as Munoz has more time to prepare for a no.1 contender bout.
4. Michael Bisping: If I had told myself on Friday night that I'd be putting Bisping as no. 4 in a list of top-10 middleweights, I'd have asked what my Mum put in my dinner the night before. But this is not even arguable now. Bisping was absolute brilliant against Chael, and anyone who disagrees is nothing short of an idiot. He stuffed many takedowns from the best P4P wrestler in the sport, and showed superior boxing against Sonnen. He may not be liked personality-wise, but he damn well earned a hell of a load of respect from the fight. I've learned that there is a big difference between respect and favouritism, and even Chael showed a great deal of respect towards the Brit after the fight. Hats off to him.
3. Vitor Belfort: Two in a row with wins over Rumble Johnson and Yoshihiro Akiyama proved that Belfort deserved his shot at the belt afterall. If he wins impressively against Wanderlei, expect another fight against Anderson Silva in the near future - unless Sonnen has beaten him beforehand. His record is remarkable, his hand speed is impressive to say the least and he's been in the octagon with the best in the world. I predict that we'll see a good 5 years more from the Brazilian, with possibly another belt around his waist in the meantime.
2. Chael Sonnen: I wasn't impressed with Chael against Bisping. There, I said it. However, he has all the credentials to dismantle Silva (again?) and the third round of the Fox bout reiterated that. Furthermore, he looked very good against Brian Stann at 136 after a long and hard layoff. He deserves another shot, that's for sure. One thing that's different about Bisping to Silva, is that Bisping has a great wrestling background and is arguably more well-rounded whereas Silva is stick thin and would struggle to get up if he is held down by the much larger guy in Chael. I think he will be champ by the end of 2012. It's just meant to be.
1. Anderson Silva: Needn't I say more?