Agree or disagree, these ranking were compiled in a completely unbiased manner based on several decisive contributing factors to the decision making process. There will be no delusional (hopefully) or political slants to these rankings
The different factors taken into account when considering the placing of the various top ten listers included, among a variety of other variables:
A) Recent activity at the weight class. Basically the deciding factor was that if you have competed your last two fights or more at a given weight, that’s your division.
For example, Some are going to be upset to see that Hendo and Rich Franklin aren’t considered for 205 due to the fact that neither have competed at the weight class in two or more bouts. Although a case could be made for either man jumping right into the top ten as soon as they return to the weight.
A guy like Anderson Silva is going to be ranked in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions due to the fact that he consistently bounces back and forth between divisions.
B) Activity. I could make a very strong case for putting Tito Ortiz in the 205 top ten, but he hasn’t been fighting. Someone like Alistair Overeem that hasn’t fought in over ten months also takes a significant hit for not competing.
C) Level of competition faced in the past
D) Recent wins over top contenders
Like always, we invite you to post your own personal rankings, and agree or disagree with us in a loosely respectful manner in the comment section below.
1. Anderson Silva: Not much to explain on this one.
2. Nate Marquardt: Marquardt has really found his groove lately. Outside of a defeat at the hands of Anderson Silva and a “loss” to Thales Leites, Nate hasn’t seen his opponents hand raised in victory since 2003, compiling wins over guys like Kazuo Misaki, Dean Lister, Demian Maia, Martin Kampmann and Wilson Gouveia along the way.
3. Dan Henderson: Henderson is as established a bad a** as they come. Outside of the top level competition he has consistently faced and done well against throughout the course of his career, Hendo’s recent win over a top contender in Michael Bisping, and a previous victory over the always dangerous Rousimar Palhares make his spot on this list an easy choice to make.
4. Vitor Belfort: A pair of vicious knockouts over the likes of Matt Lindland and Rich Franklin (195 or not, you can’t discredit the way Belfort dismantled the former UFC middleweight champion) make it hard for me to justify placing someone like Okami or Maia above Belfort being that Maia just got bounced in seconds by Marquardt and Okami’s last defeat was at the hands of the previously noted Rich Franklin.
5. Yushin Okami: Wins over guys like and Jason MacDonald aren’t going to push Okami much higher than the #5 spot on this list. I personally feel like Okami is a bit overrated, and will continue to think so until I see him defeat a legit, top flight middleweight. Regardless, these rankings have nothing to do with personal feelings, and as such, Okami can have the middle spot for now.
6. Demian Maia: The only reason Maia is as low as #6 on this list is because of the way he got blown out in his last fight. On top of the fight with Marquardt not even being close, I feel like Demian revealed a huge chink in his armor that night. However, one loss to a guy like Marquardt definitely doesn’t cancel out Maia’s accomplishment in the Octagon entirely by any means.
7. Nick Diaz: Outside of the TKO due to cuts at the fists of KJ Noons and a 2002 TKO via Jeremy Jackson, Nick Diaz hasn’t been dominated by anyone in the fight game during the course of his professional career. If you take a look at the names on his resume, Nick’s ability to avoid being embarrassed by anyone he has faced is quite astounding. Although recent wins over guys like Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith were legit, this pick was more based on overall talent level more than anything else.
8. Jake Shields: Shields is one of those funky characters that will end up ranked in two weight classes based on the fact that his last two fights have been at both welterweight and middleweight. Although one win over Robbie Lawler wouldn’t normally justify a fighter a spot in the top ten, Shields background in the sport makes this an easy choice to make.
9. Jorge Santiago: I’m a little surprised to have the same guy that got clipped by Chris Leben and kicked in the mug by Alan Belcher on this top ten list, but Santiago has done a fantastic job of reinventing himself since those back to back defeats in 2006, putting together nine consecutive wins over top level middleweights.
10. Michael Bisping: Sure, Bisping received a spanking at the hands of Dan Henderson, but three prior consecutive wins at the weight class, and previous victories at 205 pounds over guys like Matt Hamill and Red Schafer leave Bisping on the very edge of the top ten at 185 pounds.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Cote, Nate Quarry, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Ricardo Almeida, Kazuo Misaki, Chael Sonnen, and Dan Miller.