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UFC middleweight rankings: A new No. 1 is rises at UFC 281

Jason Burgos
ufc middleweight rankings
RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Alex Pereira7-1W-W-W
#2Israel Adesanya23-2W-W-W
#3Robert Whittaker25-6W-L-W
#4Marvin Vettori18-6-1L-W-L
#5Jared Cannonier15-6L-W-W
#6Derek Brunson23-8L-W-W
#7Paulo Costa14-2W-L-L
#8Sean Strickland25-4L-W-W
#9Jack Hermansson23-7W-L-W
#10Andre Muniz23-4W-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.

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

10. Andre Muniz (23-4)

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

After winning a contract on an August 2019 episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, Andre Muniz has been on an absolute tear. Five straight wins — three by finish — land him a spot in the top 10 and a deserved opportunity against one of the division’s elites in his next scrap. The question is, which middleweight star will step up to the test?

  • Next fight: TBD

9. Jack Hermansson (23-7)

Jack Hermansson is in a very weird place in his career, as he has alternated wins and losses for seven straight fights. Just when he takes a big step forward, he takes another two back. It has severely hampered his championship aspirations for the last few years. Nevertheless, he remains a legit top-10 185-pounder and will get to prove it again versus Derek Brunson in December.

  • Next Fight: vs. Derek Brunson on Dec. 3

8. Sean Strickland (25-4)

Wildman Sean Strickland was right on the cusp of a title opportunity heading into his fight with Alex Pereira in July. However, a bad performance in a first-round loss cost him a ton of momentum. In December he will get a main event opportunity against recent title challenger Jared Cannonier. A win could be huge in regaining that lost momentum.

  • Next Fight: vs. Jared Canonnier on Dec. 17

7. 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. 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. In Feb. he will get a chance to rise quickly up the UFC middleweight rankings if he can defeat the former champ, Robert Whittaker.

  • Next Fight: vs. Robert Whittaker on Feb. 11

6. Derek Brunson (23-8)

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. He will be back on Dec. 3 with a chance to score a sixth win in his last seven when he faces fellow UFC middleweight rankings talent Jack Hermansson.

  • Next Fight: vs. Jack Hermansson on Dec. 3

5. Jared Cannonier (15-6)

Jared Cannonier is not the flashiest fighter on 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 weight class king in July and came up short. Now he must climb back to the top, and that journey begins against Strickland in December.

  • Next Fight: vs. Sean Strickland on Dec. 17

4. Marvin Vettori (18-6-1)

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.

  • 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” remains one of the best fighters of his generation that is stuck in the shadow of “The Last Stylebender.”

  • Next Fight: vs. Paulo Costa on Feb. 11

2. Israel Adesanya (23-1)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Jessica Alcheh-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 the third straight fight sports win over the champ at UFC 281, and in come-from-behind fashion.

This loss will sting for years because it was the second straight fight between the two where “The Last Stylebender” looked to be headed to a unanimous decision win before some last-minute heroics ended his night early. A fourth fight is likely since these two are so evenly matched.

1. Alex Pereira (6-1)

ufc middleweight rankings
Credit: Jessica Alcheh-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.

Pereira is now 3-0 versus Adesanya in combat sports. While there are still some big questions about how he will handle the elite grapplers of the sport, you definitely have earned being the No. 1 competitor in our UFC middleweight rankings when you knock out the division king.

  • Next Fight: TBD