Over the course of the 2010’s, the middleweight division noticed a number of figures reign over the division. The primary identify that involves the thoughts of followers for middleweight dominance is Anderson Silva, the long-reigning kingpin of the UFC from 2006-2013. Nonetheless, he largely floundered for the remainder of the last decade. The person who dethroned him, Chris Weidman, did the identical factor after he dropped the belt to Luke Rockhold. Are you able to guess what occurred to Rockhold? Yep, he floundered after dropping the belt too. Some could even argue probably the most dominant middleweight of the last decade by no means held gold as Yoel Romero continues to strike the worry of God into mere mortals. Or might Israel Adesanya be thought of the dominant determine of the last decade regardless of coming into prominence late within the decade? All I can promise is main disagreement with my rankings as a result of lack of ability of anybody to differentiate themselves over the course of the last decade.
1. Anderson Silva: Silva’s decline was speedy, solely displaying flashes of what made him so particular throughout his record-setting title run. And solely half of that run got here in the course of the 2010’s… however what a run it was! Even when the Demian Maia combat was depressing to observe, it was dominant. Then there’s the Hail Mary submission of Chael Sonnen, the entrance kick to the face of Vitor Belfort, the toying of Yushin Okami, and the deconstruction of Sonnen of their rematch. It’s troublesome to call the same run towards a excessive degree of competitors that was so spectacular. Some would say his lone victory after he misplaced the title – over Derek Brunson — was undeserved, however simply as robust of an argument might be made that he KO’d Michael Bisping in the course of their contest that in the end went in favor of the Brit. Regardless, what Silva lacks when it comes to longevity – for the last decade, not total – he makes up for with a mode and air of invincibility solely he’s able to.
2. Luke Rockhold: Like many others on the checklist, Rockhold had a steep decline, profitable a single combat after dropping the belt to Bisping. Nonetheless, his run over the last decade is likely one of the most understated of the last decade. He took the Strikeforce belt from Jacare Souza earlier than efficiently defended it towards Keith Jardine and Tim Kennedy. After dropping his UFC debut to Belfort – the TRT model — Rockhold devoured his opposition in spectacular style on his method to the title. When you don’t keep in mind his physique kick to Costas Philippou or his kimura of Tim Boetsch, I extremely advocate checking them out. Plus, the beating he placed on Weidman to assert the title was one of many worst beatdowns in MMA historical past. For some motive, Rockhold couldn’t seize the MMA viewers the best way his skills would have indicated.
3. Jacare Souza: As a result of Jacare has by no means been probably the most vocal determine, he tends to get ignored. Want proof? Regardless of an eight-fight win streak, the UFC did not award him a well-deserved title shot at any level. That doesn’t imply he wasn’t a champion, claiming the Strikeforce middleweight title in 2010 over Kennedy and defending it towards Robbie Lawler. Over the course of the last decade, Jacare claimed wins over Okami, Belfort, and Weidman as properly. Relying on how one would qualify Demian Maia, Jacare has a case as the very best BJJ practitioner within the historical past of the division as properly, securing seven of his fifteen wins over the last decade through submission. It’s potential Jacare is amongst probably the most underrated fighters within the historical past of the game.
4. Chris Weidman: Weidman ensured he’d have a distinguished place within the annals of MMA when he not solely ended the dominant reign of Silva, however efficiently defended the belt within the rematch. Some could say it was a fluke as Silva broke his leg, nevertheless it was a Weidman kick test that did the job. Subsequent title defenses towards Lyoto Machida and Belfort proved his legitimacy earlier than the wheels got here off following the brutal loss to Rockhold. Weidman’s chin went MIA, shedding 5 of his final six to shut the last decade, all by KO/TKO. The skid ensured Weidman’s legacy wouldn’t strategy the person he dethroned, however his run to open his profession – together with a horrific KO of Mark Munoz — was probably the greatest in historical past.
5. Michael Bisping: Bisping was by no means probably the most dominant determine within the division at any level of the last decade, not even when he was the reigning UFC champion. His 12-7 file isn’t the stuff of legends. Nonetheless, Bisping was all the time there. It might even be said he was all the time the man. Who was it everybody was all the time calling out? Bisping. He all the time made weight. He overcame the lack of an eye fixed to develop into champion. It’s not like he was shedding to unheralded expertise both. All his losses got here towards title challengers of main organizations sooner or later of their careers, as long as we’re together with interim titles. Plus, his win over Rockhold to assert the title was one of many biggest upsets in MMA historical past. Consistency has to rely for one thing and Bisping was probably the most constant middleweight competitor of the 2010’s.
6. Israel Adesanya: With out a number of skids amongst his competitors, Adesanya in all probability wouldn’t have made it this excessive given the brief period of time he spent within the highlight for the last decade. Nonetheless, it proved to be one of the crucial historic runs in MMA historical past, profitable his first seven UFC contests in path to claiming the middleweight title from Robert Whittaker lower than two years after Adesanya’s UFC debut. Alongside the best way, he defeated Anderson Silva on an evening the Brazilian managed to show again the clock and had an all-time basic with Kelvin Gastelum. For now, Adesanya stands as the simple favourite to be the dominant middleweight for the 2020’s.
7. Robert Whittaker: Whittaker had the same run to Adesanya to open up his middleweight profession within the UFC, taking his first eight contests. The Aussie launched himself into the highlight by being the primary to cease Jacare Souza in practically a decade, then claiming the interim title in a basic come-from-behind victory over Romero. Their second contest would have been Whittaker’s lone profitable title protection, however Romero missed weight to remove that notch on Whittaker’s belt. Names like Brunson, Uriah Corridor, Brad Tavares, and Rafael Natal aren’t fairly on the identical degree as among the different names Whittaker’s competitors on this checklist have taken down, nevertheless it is also said they had been all at their peaks when Whittaker beat every of them, most by no means to strategy these ranges once more.
8. Yoel Romero: I really feel like I’m committing a travesty by placing Romero this low. Regardless of being ranked at this spot, many would agree Romero could very properly be the scariest fighter within the historical past of the middleweight division, whatever the period. His flying knee KO of Weidman. The grounding out of Machida together with his elbows. The vicious end of Rockhold. It might even be argued the losses he suffered had been arguably wins. The issue is Romero tainted his legacy together with his lack of ability to make weight in direction of the top of the last decade, costing himself a possibility to assert an interim title. Romero’s lack of ability to unarguably declare to be the very best middleweight at any level – being unable to win the title — in the course of the decade hurts him too.
9. Gegard Mousasi: Had he spent the whole lot of the last decade at middleweight, Mousasi might need been in a position to climb increased. The transfer had a little bit of a rocky begin, dropping two of his first three contests at 185 to Machida and Jacare, just for the Dreamcatcher to rattle of ten wins in his subsequent eleven appearances, claiming the Bellator middleweight championship alongside the best way. The lone loss in that stretch, Uriah Corridor, was avenged with different subsequent victories coming towards Weidman, Belfort, and Rory MacDonald. Did I point out Mousasi additionally avenged his loss to Machida to shut out the last decade?
10. Vitor Belfort: A controversial determine ever since his UFC debut all the best way again in 1996, probably the most controversial interval of Belfort’s profession was additionally his most dominant. Belfort’s 2013 could have been the only greatest 12 months of any fighter, securing spotlight reel finishes over Bisping, Rockhold, and Dan Henderson. It’s not like Belfort’s 2013 was the one good 12 months both. Dominant wins over Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson got here previous to that. Belfort pale arduous after TRT was outlawed within the UFC, however TRT Vitor grew to become the stuff of legend. Right here’s how I take a look at it: Belfort did every little thing he might inside the guidelines to win. What he was doing exterior the foundations, I can’t say, however with out constructive information of criminal activity, I give all fighters – together with Belfort – the advantage of the doubt. In spite of everything, I rated Silva #1 and he had two PED suspensions….
Honorable Mentions: Lyoto Machida, Chael Sonnen, Hector Lombard, Alexander Shlemenko, Tim Kennedy
Machida spent the primary 4 years of the last decade at gentle heavyweight earlier than age and suspensions took their toll. Had he spent the whole lot of the last decade at 185, it’s an assurance he would have made the checklist. Sonnen got here thisnear dethroning Silva and is the best rival Silva ever had. Lombard was one of many scariest males in MMA throughout his reign as Bellator middleweight champion. The wheels fell off when he received to the UFC. Shlemenko was one of many busiest excessive profile opponents of the last decade, profitable 27 fights and defending the Bellator title 3 times, however lacked signature wins. Kennedy was a two-time Strikeforce title contender who was lively army all through his combating profession, however by no means received over the hump.