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UFC middleweight rankings: Top spot on the line at UFC 287 Saturday

ufc middleweight rankings
RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Alex Pereira7-1W-W-W
#2Israel Adesanya23-2L-W-W
#3Robert Whittaker25-6W-L-W
#4Jared Cannonier16-6W-L-W-
#5Marvin Vettori19-6-1W-L-W
#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.

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“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. 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.

  • Next Fight: TBD

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. He is a force to reckon with at middleweight and will be getting a contender in his next bout.

  • Next Fight: TBD

7. Sean Strickland (26-5)

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. 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. A scrap with a fighter in our UFC middleweight rankings next seems deserved for “Tarzan.”

  • Next Fight: TBD

5. Marvin Vettori (19-6-1)

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.

The Italian was back in action for a high-risk clash with fellow ranked talent Dolidze. However, he showed why he is one of the best 185ers in the world by dominantly dispatching the red-hot talent and maintaining his top-five status.

  • Next Fight: TBD

4. Jared Cannonier (16-6)

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. But he kept himself in contention with a big win over Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 66.

While the victory over “Tarzan” was razor-thin and has been questioned by some, it was another victory over a top 10 fighter. And in the end, that is hugely important when trying to earn championship opportunities in the UFC.

  • 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 in September 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.

  • Next Fight: TBD

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.

“The Last Stylebender” will get a third chance to exercise the demons and finish the job in April when he once again faces Pereira in New York. This time the pair will headline UFC 287 inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

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.

The Brazilian will get a chance to move to 4-0 against the pound-for-pound superstar in a headlining MMA rematch again in New York. This time at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for UFC 287 in April.

  • Next Fight: vs. Israel Adesanya at UFC 287 on Apr. 8