Breaking Down the UFC Middleweight Division

The Champion: Anderson Silva

The Top Contender: ?

The Next Tier:

·         Yushin Okami

·         Nate Marquardt

·         Michael Bisping

·         Dan Henderson

·         Demian Maia

·         Thales Leites

·         Patrick Cote

·         Chael Sonnen

 

On the Rise: 

·         Demian Maia

·         Michael Bisping

 

Other Notables:

·         Denis Kang

·         Rousimar Palhares

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Chris Leben

·         Ricardo Almeida

·         Nate Quarry

·         Jason MacDonald

·         Wilson Gouveia

·         Goran Reljic

·         Dan Miller

·         Dean Lister

·         Kendall Grove

·         Alan Belcher

·         Ed Herman

·         Jorge Rivera

·         Alessio Sakara

·         C.B. Dolloway

·         Mike Massenzio

·         Matt Horwich

·         Jake Rosholt

·         Amir Sadollah

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister at UFC 92 on December 27

·         C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93 on January 17

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva

·         Thales Leites vs. Rousimar Palhares

·         Demian Maia vs. Michael Bisping

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The UFC Middleweight division is very, very underrated!  I believe it is because of Anderson Silva’s dominance.  The middleweight division does not have a clear number 1 contender, but from top to bottom I would put this division with any.  Albeit, the UFC’s competitors have some middleweight talents in the likes of guys like Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, Vitor Belfort, Matt Lindland, Jorge Santiago,and  Kazuo Misaki.  Not to mention the few solid middleweights from EliteXC such as Robbie Lawler, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Benji Radach.  The UFC is sure to pick some of those guys up

·         Rumor has it the UFC is in negotiations with top middleweight Yoshihio Akiyama.  I do not know if they call pull him away from DREAM and Sengoku, but that would be a huge add. 

·         The middleweight division is growing with adds like signing Denis Kang, the move of WEC’s division which will add Chael Sonnen and Jake Rosholt as well as guys like Aaron Simpson and Danillo Vilefort likely to come over.

·         Paulo Filho will not be in the UFC…yet.

·         TUF 9 will feature middleweight coaches with Michael Bisping being a lock.  The other names being thrown around are Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and even Demian Maia

UFC News: Mike Massenzio Signs With the UFC

The UFC has signed former IFL middleweight fighter Mike Massenzio to a four fight contract.  It also appears that Massenzio will debut at UFC Fight Night 15 in September against the tough Drew McFedries.  Massenzio was a former college wrestling star who turned to mixed martial arts.  He boasts a 10-2 record in MMA with notable wins against Dan Miller and Dante Rivera.  Massenzio enters into a heavy second tiered middleweight divison.  Perhaps he will be a good addition to the UFC, but Drew McFedries is a tough welcome for him.

UFC News: Zuffa Buys IFL

It has been rumored for a few weeks that Zuffa was going to buy the International Fight League (IFL), now it seems offifical.  we assumed it was going to happen with several clues.  First, came the announcment that the IFL was for sale for $1,000,000 and that Zuffa was the leading suitor.  Then came the July 19th card featuring IFL fighters such as Reese Andy, Brad Blackburn and Rory Markham.  Also, during the SPIKE telecast of the UFC Fight Night 14 card IFL footage was used and talked about openly, something the UFC had not done before.  Then came the rumor that  the UFC signed Jim and Dan Miller.  Here is a word from IFL Senior Vice President of Communications Joe Favorito:

I apologize for this mass email but I wanted to take a second to let you know that as of July 31 my role at the IFL will be no more as the company goes into its final stage of being sold and/or closed down. We are very proud of what we did here in just over two years, building a brand from nothing into something that people in the industry and outside of the industry actually noticed, and I enjoyed working with so many different people and helped tell some great stories. At the end of the day sometimes the finances don’t make sense, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The good news is I think we have gotten all our good junior people placed in some great spots, so we are pretty proud of that. Even our interns landed in good places

That is nothing shocking.  Again, the focus now will be where do the 10-15 top guys from the IFL land.  There is some news on that front.  The IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz seems to have landed with World Victory Road, as he is slated to appear on their Sengoku 4 card, which is a lightweight grand prix.  That is a pretty good indicator that he will not land with Zuffa.  Also, MMAjunkie says that Chris Horodecki is in negotions with the American Fight League.  I am sure ZUffa will sign more fighters and they will go between the UFC and WEC.  I would imagine that means that the UFC will focus on Roy Nelson, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Jay Hieron, while the WEC has to crave Waggney Fabiano at 145 lbs.

UFC News: UFC Signs Dan and Jim Miller

This will fuel more speculation about the UFC’s purchase of the IFL.  It seems like a done deal.  The only question is where will the prized fighetrs fall.  It appears that Jim and Dan Miller will land in the UFC. 

International Fight League reigning middleweight champion Dan Miller (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and IFL lightweight Jim Miller (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have both signed multi-fight deals with the UFC.  The AMA Fight Club’s Mike Constantino, the manager and one of the trainers for the fighters and brothers,  today confirmed the signings with MMAjunkie.com  Both of the fighters signed four-fight exclusive contracts, though financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Constantino declined to comment on the particulars of the negotiation process, and he had no comment on the UFC’s rumored purchase of the IFL. Constantino said no definitive dates have been determined for the Miller brothers’ UFC debuts, but he said they will be available any time the UFC needs them.  “If they told us to fight in two weeks, we’d be ready,” Constantino said. “We’ll fight as soon as possible. The guys are always in shape and in the gym all the time helping their teammates. We have about 20 guys at the gym who fight in pro organizations, so someone always has a fight coming up, and Dan and Jim are always there helping them out.”

Dan Miller is the IFl middleweight champion.  He recently took the belt from Ryan McGivern.  Jim Miller is a promising lightweight fighter, who was rumored to be on the cast of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  His lone loss was to UFC lightweight contender Frank Edgar. 

Both these guys should be a bolster to their respective divisons and we will inform MMA Blog readers of their debut as soon as we know of it.  Also, stay tuned for news of more IFL fighters.  It looks like they will fall between the UFC and WEC unless their contracts are non-transferable. 

Guys to look for:

1. Waggney Fabiano

2. Chris Horodecki

3. Jay Hieron

4. Vladimir Matyyshenko

5. Roy Nelson

6. Ryan Schultz

7. Matt Horowich

8. Ryan McGivern