I’ve gone on the record in the past to say that the UFC didn’t have much depth in its middleweight division. I’ve even said that I think middleweight is the weakest division on the roster. I’d like to take both statements back.
First, the UFC does have a very good middleweight division. Outside of Anderson Silva, you also have legitimate top ten middleweights such as Yushin Okami, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, and Nathan Marquardt.
There also also a lot of prospects such as Thales Leites, Ed Herman, Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia.
It occurred to me how much depth that the UFC middleweight division has when I tried to compile a top 30 to get a better understanding of what might lie ahead for Silva. Below is the top 30 that I compiled.
* Current Champion
** Record according to Sherdog.com
MMA = Lifetime MMA Record
UFC = Lifetime UFC record
Some people are going to try and debate my rankings, which they are welcomed to do but that’s not why I am posting this top 30. I’m also aware that I’m missing a few middleweights such as Rob Yundt.
I am posting it to illustrate that the UFC really does have a deep middleweight division, it’s just a situation where, with the exception of Okami, Silva has already dominated the best the division has to offer.
Silva is not an opportunistic fighter. He’s the king of the deepest middleweight division in all of MMA. His reign is legit. Parity is an element that exists in most of the UFC’s weight classes, except for 185 lbs. But how can the UFC remedy the situation?
Once you get past the top tier of guys like Henderson, Franklin, and Marquardt, you have a second tier of guys like Leben, Herman, Leites, etc. In the case of Leben, Silva has already destroyed him. But when you look at the other second-tier guys, are there any names that you’d really be excited about if they were matched up with Silva? Maybe Bisping if he can beat a couple of top guys, but for right now, that’s it.
Fedor was pretty dominant but there was still a matchup against Josh Barnett that never took place so it’s tough to suggest that he cleaned out the PRIDE heavyweight division. Once Silva beats Okami, he will legitimately have cleaned out a division and there will be no one on the horizon for him that’s currently in the UFC.
Is it possible for a fighter to be too dominant for his own good?