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UFC middleweight rankings: Sean Strickland defends top 10 spot at UFC Vegas 76

RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Israel Adesanya24-2W-L-W
#2Alex Pereira7-2L-W-W
#3Robert Whittaker25-6W-L-W
#4Jared Cannonier17-6W-W-L
#5Marvin Vettori19-7-1L-W-L
#6Sean Strickland26-5W-L-L
#7Dricus Du Plessis19-2W-W-W
#8Paulo Costa14-2W-L-L
#9Derek Brunson23-9L-L-W
#10Roman Dolidze12-2L-W-W

The UFC middleweight rankings have been a place where many of the best MMA fighters over the last decade have resided. From Rich Franklin to Anderson Silva, and on to Israel Adesanya, the 185-pound division has been a place where many legendary competitors have plied their trade.

Here you will be able to find the most update to date look at the 10 best middleweights on the UFC roster, and who they will be facing next.

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10. Roman Dolidze (12-2) 

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Roman Dolidze entered UFC Orlando as a short-notice replacement and sizable betting underdog to established top-10 star Jack Hermansson. However, he stunned the UFC fan base when he employed a technique rarely seen in the company and dismantled a talented fighter in little over a round.

Related: UFC tonight – Fight card, odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC event

“The Caucasian” won four straight, and six of seven before coming up short in his biggest test yet, Marvin Vettori, at UFC 286. While the loss was a major and definitive setback, Dolidze is still a highly dangerous talent in the division.

  • Next Fight: TBD 

9. Derek Brunson (23-9)

Derek Brunson has been a stalwart of the UFC middleweight rankings for the last few years. After a hot streak, “Blond Brunson” was derailed from a path to a title fight by Cannonier in February. The rankings stalwart entered his UFC 285 matchup with Dricus Du Plessis as an underdog, and early on that seemed like a bad bet.

However, the rising star asserted himself in the second and pummeled Brunson to the point that his corner ended up throwing in the towel. Where he goes next from here is unclear, but retirement certainly seems possible.

  • Next Fight: TBD

8. Paulo Costa (14-2)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Paulo Costa earned a victory in a must-win scenario in August 2022. However, he did not look very good competing in the Salt Lake City elevation. It added to what has been a steep decline in performance over his last three fights. However, he is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC middleweight division and is a tough out for anyone.

The Brazilian will get to prove that again when he takes on rising 185-pound talent Ikram Aliskerov in a high-risk, low-reward clash at UFC 291 in July.

  • Next Fight: vs. Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 on July 29

7. Dricus Du Plessis (19-2)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Dricus Du Plessis has put South African MMA on the map during his four fights in the UFC. The 29-year-old has been victorious in all four, and three has seen him stop his foes within the distance. His win over Darren Till in Dec. solidified that he is a rising star in the division.

At UFC 285 he faced the challenge of rankings stalwart Derek Brunson, and while it wasn’t looking good early, Du Plessis showed why he has so much potential and deserves respect by battering the veteran into a fight-ending finish that saw his corner thrown in the towel.

In July, he faces a boss-level threat in former division king Robert Whittaker, with a title fight later this year reportedly on the line.

  • Next Fight: vs. Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 on July 8

6. Sean Strickland (26-5)

Wildman Sean Strickland was right on the cusp of a title opportunity heading into his fight with Alex Pereira. However, a bad performance in a first-round loss cost him a ton of momentum. That fall from contention continued with a very competitive defeat to Jared Cannonier in December.

Instead of regrouping and finding the right next fight, Strickland jumped into a short-notice catchweight fight at UFC Vegas 67 against fast-rising talent Nassourdine Imavov, looking to right the ship. Mission accomplished, as the 31-year-old scored a much-needed decision win over a respected foe.

Now, “Tarzan” will be back in action in July to face KSW and PFL veteran Abus Magomedov.

  • Next Fight: vs. Abus Magomedov on July 1

5. Marvin Vettori (19-7-1)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Vettori is one of the most underappreciated fighters in the UFC middleweight rankings. He is a skilled grappler, a solid boxer, and as tough as any of his top 10 contemporaries. He constantly seems right on the cusp of title contention and is a tall task for any fighter at 185 pounds.

However, he suffered a major setback in June when he came up short against Jared Cannonier. He was soundly defeated, and in a battle between a pair of former title challengers, he showed he still has some work to do if he hopes to compete for the division crown in the near future.

Next Fight: TBD

4. Jared Cannonier (16-6)

Jared Cannonier is not the flashiest fighter in the UFC middleweight rankings, but he is as well round as any competitor in the division. “The Killa Gorilla” had his shot to take down the two-time weight class king last year and came up short. But he kept himself in contention with a big win over Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 66 and then another at UFC Vegas 75 over Marvin Vettori.

While the victory won’t get him a title shot next, he is among the top contenders in the division and could be a win away from forcing his way into a championship fight early next year.

  • Next Fight: TBD

3. Robert Whittaker (25-6)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Whittaker will go down as one of the greatest UFC middleweights ever. Unfortunately for him, he competes in an era with the man some see as the best 185-pounder ever in Adesanya. After falling short to the champ twice, “Bobby Knuckles” rebounded last year with a dominant win over former title challenger Marvin Vettori.

“While he may not be the champ, Whittaker still remains one of the very best middleweight fighters on the planet. “Reaper” will get a chance for a third fight with Adesanya at UFC 290 when he takes on fast-rising star Du Plessis in a title eliminator clash.

  • Next Fight: vs. Driscus Du Plessis at UFC 290 on July 8

2. Alex Pereira (7-2)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Due to Adesanya’s greatness, past heat, and a recent hot streak, Alex Pereira vaulted into a title opportunity at UFC 281 that he probably didn’t deserve. But with that fast-track chance, the Brazilian made the most of it with a shocking come-from-behind win over one of the best fighters of his generation. Moving his combat sports record to 3-0 over Adesanya.

However, vengeance was had for “Izzy” at UFC 287 and the Brazilian was quickly dethroned by his great rival. Now, with plans to move to light heavyweight to face former champion Jan Blachowicz, a victory will likely mean a permanent stay at 205 and a likely removal from these UFC middleweight rankings.

  • Next Fight: vs. Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291 on July 29

1. Israel Adesanya (24-2)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya is not only one of the best UFC middleweights ever, but when all is said and done, he will be viewed as one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the Octagon in general. However, even legends have off nights and opponents that are their kryptonite. Alex Pereira has become that after scoring a third straight fight sports win over the champ at UFC 281, and in come-from-behind fashion.

The loss changed the New Zealander by way of Nigeria’s legacy, but at UFC 287 he was able to reset his legendary timeline with a second-round KO over his boogeyman Pereira. Now, the middleweight king is back and the division should be very worried.


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