UFC Middleweight Division: Results, Ranking, History, Fighters to Watch



UFC Middleweight Division: Results, Ranking, History, Fighters to Watch

The UFC middleweight division is home to some of the best fighters in the promotion. Featuring the likes of Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, and many other legendary fighters, this weight class never ceases to entertain. From precision takedowns to devastating strikes, this division has it all.

In this article, we’ll give you a complete rundown on everything related to the UFC middleweight division. That includes a complete list of the top fighters right now and the fighters to watch out for, along with the most anticipated games coming up soon.

UFC Middleweight Division Explained

The middleweight division in the UFC consists of fighters who compete at 185 pounds. This weight class features a blend of dynamic athletes with varied fighting styles.

Some fighters come from boxing and kickboxing backgrounds and look to keep fights standing. Others have strong wrestling fundamentals and aim to get opponents to the mat. There are also submission specialists with high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills.

Due to the blend of styles and the high finishing rate among its fighters, the UFC’s middleweight division delivers some of the best fights across any weight class on a consistent basis.  Many of the all-time greats like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Israel Adesanya have competed in this division. 

Middleweight title fights tend to feature lots of drama and unexpected outcomes. Blending high-level striking exchanges and grappling battles this weight class always manages to entertain and keep the audience locked at the edge of their seat.

Championship fights in the middleweight division have frequently ended in dramatic knockouts and thrilling back-and-forth wars. The championship title in this division changes hands more rapidly than any other weight class. 

The combination of talent and stylistic diversity ensures the UFC's middleweight division continues to deliver outstanding entertainment value for fans.

Recent UFC Middleweight Results

The UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria pay-per-view event showcased two exciting middleweight bouts on Saturday, February 17th. Here’s a quick recap of what went down:

  • Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa –  Whittaker won via unanimous decision
  • Brendan Allen vs Chris Curtis – Allen won via unanimous decision

The fight between Whittaker and Costa was an exciting one. Whittaker started strong right from the get-go with excellent leg kicks and blocks. Costa recovered quickly and fought back hard with some powerful jabs of his own. When round 3 came to a close, Whittaker was crowned the victor via unanimous decision.

However, the bout between Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis on April 6 was one of the best middleweight fights we've seen in some time. These two rematching warriors duked it out for five rounds, and both were exhausted by the time the fight ended. Ultimately, Allen emerged the victor, and will likely now receive a title eliminator fight.  

Upcoming Notable UFC Middleweight Fights

  • Robert Whittaker vs Khamzat Chimaev  
  • Sean Strickland vs Paulo Costa (UFC 302)

Two massive fights between huge names in the UFC's middleweight division have been made in recent weeks. The first one is between Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev, which will headlien the UFC's first fight in Saudi Arabia on June 22. This is a major middleweight fight with massive stakes.

Another notable fight is a recent matchup made between top contender Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa. This fight will take place on June 1, at UFC 302. Both of  these know how to talk a big game and back it up with their fists, so there's no question this one will be exciting.

Who is the Current UFC Middleweight Division Champion?

The title of UFC Middleweight Champion currently belongs to Dricus du Plessis after he secured the victory against the defending champion Sean “Tarzan” Strickland in a controversial split decision. 

Dricus du Plessis has had an impressive rise to the UFC Middleweight Championship. After making his promotional debut in October 2020, he needed just six fights to earn a title shot.

His run to the belt included impressive wins over quality opponents like Darren Till, Derek Brunson and former champion Robert Whittaker. At UFC 297, du Plessis added Sean Strickland to his list of victims, defeating him via split decision to capture the title.

Strickland had shocked the world by defeating dominant champion Israel Adesanya for the belt in his previous fight. Many expected Adesanya to defeat Strickland and eventually face du Plessis in a title bout. Instead, Strickland pulled off the big upset only to lose to du Plessis in his first defense.

Du Plessis has stated he was focused on winning the title, not on facing any particular opponent. With the belt now around his waist, a possible showdown with Adesanya could be on the horizon. Adesanya remains the division's biggest star and UFC 300 coming up in April provides an opening for a blockbuster championship clash.

Adesanya has not confirmed a date for his return but intends to fight again in 2024. Regardless of his next foe, du Plessis sits atop the middleweight division and all contenders will be vying to dethrone the new champion. His meteoric rise to a UFC title has been impressive and his reign could just be getting started.

UFC Middleweight Rankings in 2024

Here are the top 15 middleweight fighters in MMA pulled straight from the UFC middleweight ranking leaderboard:

  • Champion – Dricus du Plessis
  1. Sean Strickland
  2. Israel Adesanya
  3. Robert Whittaker
  4. Jared Cannonier
  5. Marvin Vettori
  6. Brendan Allen
  7. Paulo Costa
  8. Nassourdine Imavov
  9. Roman Dolidze
  10. Jack Hermansson
  11. Khamzat Chimaev
  12. Anthony Hernandez
  13. Paul Craig
  14. Caio Borralho
  15. Chris Curtis

Following the controversial split-decision defeat of Sean Strickland on UFC 297 on January 24, Dricus du Plessis claimed the title of Middleweight Champion. Other than that, the top 5 fighters on the leaderboard are pretty much everyone that you’d expect to see here.

Brenden Allen moved up the leaderboard snatching the 6th spot from Paulo Costa while Jack Hermansson moved up to the 10th position.

Fighters to Watch in the UFC Middleweight Division

The UFC middleweight division has given rise to many prominent fighters in the MMA world. Here are the top fighters to watch in 2024 other than the reigning champ Dricus du Plessis:

1. Sean Strickland

The former UFC Middleweight Champion, Sean Strickland, may have lost the title, but whether it will extinguish his flame remains to be seen. If you’ve seen him fight, you know that the man is a warrior. His unorthodox fighting style, blending precise technical skill and unwavering aggression, has earned him admiration from fans and critics alike.

He holds a career record of 28 wins with six losses, including his championship defeat against Dricus du Plessis. He has yet to make an appearance following his defeat. But we’re excited to see whether this experience pushes him to step up his game going into the season.

2. Israel Adesanya 

The 34-year-old Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya is considered one of the all-time best strikers in the sport. His flawless striking, combined with extreme precision and agility, makes him fully worthy of his nickname “The Last Stylebender.”

He had a five-year run as the UFC Middleweight Champion, defending his title successfully against the likes of  Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Robert Whittaker. His career record sits at an impressive 24 wins and three losses, two of which came from title defenses. At 34 years of age, he is still geared to achieve more in his career. 

3. Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker, aptly called “The Reaper,” is a fighter who does it all. With devastating strikes, unbreakable grapples, and endurance to fight for days, he has earned multiple victories in his career, including a UFC championship title.

He currently holds a career record of 25 wins and seven losses. If his last game against Paulo Costa serves as any indication, we can expect great things from this fighter this coming season. He has the potential to challenge the title this season, and we’re keeping our eyes on him to see what else he has in store for us this year.

History of the UFC Middleweight Division

The UFC middleweight division has a rich history that has made it one of the most competitive and entertaining weight classes in mixed martial arts. Let’s take a deep dive into the history of the weight class and see how far they’ve come over the years.

1. Early Years

During the early years of UFC, weight classes weren’t as defined as they are today. However, as the sport matured, it became clear that a structured approach was necessary to keep the playing field even. The UFC first introduced the middleweight division in UFC 33 where Dave Menne was crowned the first Middleweight Champ after defeating Gil Castillo.

2. Rise of Icons

The early 2000s saw the emergence of iconic fighters who left a lasting impact on the UFC middleweight division. Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, and Chris Leben were among the pioneers who showcased their skills and laid the foundation for the division’s prestige.

3. Anderson Silva's Dominance

Anderson Silva, widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, dominated the Middleweight Division for an unprecedented period. From 2006 to 2013, Silva defended his title 10 times, setting a record for the longest title reign in UFC history. His dynamic striking and elusive style made him a force to be reckoned with.

3. Competitive Rivalries

The middleweight division became a hotbed for intense rivalries, adding to its excitement. Battles between fighters like Michael Bisping, Dan Henderson, and Vitor Belfort captivated audiences, showcasing the depth of talent in the weight class.

4. International Flavor

The division’s global appeal expanded as fighters from various countries made their mark. Fighters like Israel Adesanya (Nigeria/New Zealand), Robert Whittaker (Australia), and Yoel Romero (Cuba) brought diverse styles and backgrounds, further elevating the division's international prestige.

5. Evolving Skill Sets

Middleweight fighters continued to evolve, showcasing well-rounded skill sets that encompassed striking, grappling, and submission capabilities. This further contributed to the division's reputation for producing technically capable fighters who showcased extreme versatility.

6. Competitive Balance

While the middleweight division had a rocky start, overtime it became a well-balanced weight division with a vastly varied talent pool. There hasn’t been a long-reigning champion for a while now. New talents and contenders continue to rise giving the viewers a constant flow of fresh and exciting matchups.

7. Modern Era

The Middleweight Division remains at the forefront of the UFC in the present day. With a mix of established veterans and emerging talents, the division continues to deliver high-stakes bouts and maintain its status as one of the most exciting and competitive weight classes in the UFC.

With rising superstars continually jostling for the throne, we can expect more shocking upsets, highlight-reel KOs and submissions, along with nail-biting five-round wars. The spectacle is far from over on the greatest stage in the world!

UFC Middleweight FAQs

1. Who is the UFC Middleweight Champion?

Dricus du Plessis currently holds the title of UFC Middleweight Champion.

2. What is the Weight Limit in UFC Middleweight?

In the UFC middleweight division, the maximum weight limit is 185 pounds or 85 kg.

3. Who is the Best UFC Middleweight Fighter?

Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya is currently considered the best middleweight fighter in history, with a career record of 24 wins and three losses.

Bren Gray is our resident Kiwi, and has been writing about sports since he could first string words together. He first fell in love with boxing when David Tua took on Lennox Lewis in 2000, and hasn't looked back since.