Here’s a look at my updated power rankings for all UFC middleweights. These ratings are based on my proprietary statistical model and are based on the following statistics (identified by the model as being the best predictive factors): significant strikes, knockdowns, takedowns, age, and Fight Matrix rating.
Anderson Silva checks in at #5 following his decision victory against Nick Diaz, and I feel like that’s being a bit generous. It’s unlikely to matter much, since Silva’s positive drug test for anabolic steroids is likely to take him out of active competition for the better part of a year. I said it before Silva fought Chris Weidman – the statistical trend was that Silva was absorbing more strikes than he had been before. He was on the receiving end of 77 significant strikes from Diaz, and while that’s easily more than Silva has ever been hit in a fight before, it’s worth pointing out that Diaz is always able to land strikes, no matter who he’s fighting. Still, Silva’s career trend is definitely downward, and any idea that he could challenge Weidman again should be out the window at this point.
As for Diaz, the model rates him shockingly low at -0.15. I definitely feel like Diaz is getting underrated here, but the low rating is almost certainly a byproduct of the fact that Diaz hasn’t won a fight since October 2011. I certainly would favor Diaz against the Nick Catones of the world, but if he’s going to keep fighting, he needs to go back to fighting appropriate opponents and not the top tier of the sport.
The top two fighters on this list shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. Chris Weidman is on top with a rating of 3.65 and Lyoto Machida is a distant second at 2.64. What’s a little more surprising is that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is third, not Luke Rockhold, who ranks surprisingly low at sixth. I personally think Rockhold is a bit better than these rankings give him credit for. He’s only had 13 minutes of fight time in the UFC, so the model hasn’t collected enough data on Rockhold to give him the credit he deserves… in my humble opinion.
I’m also surprised to see Tim Kennedy ranked lower than Michael Bisping. In my mind, Kennedy is the better fighter, although his Fight Metric statistics in the UFC haven’t quite been dazzling (148-104 significant strikes, 1-2 knockdowns, 7-5 takedowns). Kennedy gets downgraded a bit for being 35 years old, but he’s the same age as Bisping.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Dan Henderson (-0.23). His stats have recently morphed from middling to awful, with a series of losses against tough competition. At 44 years old, Henderson has been getting knocked down routinely in recent fights. Nobody respects Henderson more than me, but it’s hard to justify his continued presence on UFC fight cards. One of the most important things for combat sports athletes is to know when to call it quits.
The top prospects to watch here: Elias Theodorou, Sean Strickland, and Josh Samman.
||Antonio Braga Neto
||James Te Huna
||Antonio Dos Santos