After Kelvin Gastelum shook up the division, many fans are wondering what is in store for the rest of the top 10 UFC middleweights. We’ll take a look at some of the big bouts coming up, and also what the future might look like at 185 lbs.
Top 10 UFC Middleweights (according to UFC Official Rankings)
Champion – Michael Bisping
- Yoel Romero
- Luke Rockhold
- Jacare Souza
- Chris Weidman
- Gegard Mousasi
- Robert Whittaker
- Anderson Silva
- Derek Brunson
- Vitor Belfort
- Kelvin Gastelum
Side note: How is Gastelum ranked below Belfort when he just knocked him out last Saturday?
Upcoming Fights for Top 10 UFC Middleweights
#4 Chris Weidman vs #5 Gegard Mousasi – UFC 210 (April 8)
First up on the calendar is a very exciting bout between two top five fighters. Weidman is trying to bounce back from his 0-2 skid while Mousasi is looking to build on his current win streak. I think Mousasi could enter title contention with an impressive win while Weidman is simply fighting to stay in the mix. Nevertheless, a very intriguing match up.
#3 Jacare Souza vs #6 Robert Whittaker – UFC on FOX 24 (April 15)
Jacare Souza is doing everything he can do get a title shot. Many believed his fight with and Yoel Romero at UFC 194 should have been a title eliminator, but also a draw. Souza’s recent streak is usually enough to warrant a tite shot, but not when the division is so backlogged. Whittaker on the other hand has a 6-fight win streak, but with only one win over a top 10 UFC middleweight. If he can beat Souza, it will spring him up to the front of the pack.
#7 Anderson Silva vs #10 Kelvin Gastelum – UFC 212 (June 3)
After his sensational win over Belfort, the young Gastelum is now 2-0 in the UFC. Some are coining his middleweight endeavor as a”retirement tour” since both Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort are eyeing retirement. Anderson Silva could be next. This will be by far Gastelum’s toughest test, but it’s an exciting fight nonetheless. If he wins, Gastelum could seriously be the next big thing at 185.
(c) Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre – TBA (TBA)
Without a date or event set, we know middleweight champ Michael Bisping will be defending his belt against GSP. We haven’t seen the Canadian St-Pierre is over three years. Last he left off, he was hands down the best welterweight of all time. He defended his belt nine times before embarking on a hiatus. This bout between Bisping and GSP will surely be of epic proportions, it’s just a shame that it backs up the entire division.
Potential Fights for Top 10 UFC Middleweights
While most of the top 10 is booked, there are four fighters who are not: Vitor Belfort, Derek Brunson, Luke Rockhold, and Yoel Romero.
Let’s start with Belfort
Obviously, Belfort just fought and will likely not be able to return until the summer. He has voiced that he wants his next fight to be his retirement, and he wants it in Brazil. Unfortunately, the UFC doesn’t have anything coming up in Brazil other than UFC 212 in June; this may be too soon for someone who just got KO’d. A nice retirement fight for him could be someone also on the tail end of his career. Tim Boetsch, Rashad Evans, Dan Kelly, or Johny Hendricks would all make great opponents. I can see Belfort headlining the next Fight Night in Brazil for his swan song.
Moving on to Derek Brunson
After losing a close split decision to Anderson Silva, it’s clear that Brunson can give anybody in the top 10 fits. He’s a tough fight for anybody even though he’s not beating everybody. I think an opponent like Elias Theodorou would be a great opponent for him. I think this would be a great fight to stick as a co-main event on June 6, the Thursday Fight Night during International Fight Week leading into UFC 213.
And don’t forget about Lyoto Machida!
Machida’s two-year USADA suspension will be up July of this year. There has not been any word on who, where, or when he will be fighting, but he certainly could jump right into the mix.
Let’s talk Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold now
As I see it, Romero is the clear #1 contender in the middleweight division, but Georges St-Pierre cut in line and scored the big fight with Bisping. Seeing as how that fight doesn’t even have a date yet (GSP has said September), you can expect it’ll be November-ish before the middleweight belt is up for grabs again. That’s a very long time to sit out if you’re Romero, even though Romero has gone on record saying his plan is to do exactly that (according to Ariel Helwani).
I would personally like to see Yoel Romero face Luke Rockhold, potentially even for an interim middleweight belt (ugh, yes, I know). Rockhold was supposed to fight Jacare Souza to headline a Fight Night in Australia, but injured his knee and had to pull out. Rockhold is eyeing July for his return, which would work for Romero. However, if Romero is still committed to waiting for his title shot (nothing wrong with that), then Rockhold vs the winner of Jacare/Whittaker for the next title shot (after Romero) would make the most sense.
Hopefully this article brings a bit of clarity to the 185 lb clusterfuck! If you liked it, share it! Stay tuned for more MMA coverage.
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