SB Nation middleweight rankings: Changing of the guard

USA TODAY Sports

Two guys enter the Octagon. One is the UFC middleweight champion, the other his challenger. The fight ends with the challenger knocking the champion cold. The guy who entered the fight as challenger leaves with the title.

The new champion is thus first in the new middleweight rankings. It's so simple, even a sportswriter can get it. Such was the case in the new SBNation middleweight rankings.

Chris Weidman, who, in case you've been sleeping for the past week, knocked out Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 162 to end the longest title reign in major mixed martial arts history, claimed first place in the latest 185-pound poll. Weidman took five of six first-place votes to finish with 59 out of a possible 60 points. Silva took the other first-place vote and five seconds to take the second spot with 55 points.

There was unanimity as to who ranks third: Vitor Belfort, who took all six third-place votes for 48 points. With Silva and Weidman getting set for an eventual rematch, Belfort should get comfortable with placing third for the foreseeable future.

Beyond that, Mark Munoz was the month's biggest winner. His impressive win over Tim Boetsch in his first bout in nearly a year bumped him up from ninth place to sixth, with 27 points.

All in all, there's minimal disagreement on who belongs in the 185-pound top 10 in and of itself, as each of the top nine finishers placed on all six ballots.

Mw_rankings_medium

(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. This does not affect any middleweight fighters under consideration at the moment).

1. Chris Weidman (10-0, 59 points): Since Weidman is going to hear for months from some quarters how he got lucky, the new champion clearly wants the bout as much as anyone else.

2. Anderson Silva (33-5, 55 points): You knew when Silva said in the cage that he didn't want a rematch, that he'd come around eventually. The fact he came around in a matter of days says it all.

3. Vitor Belfort (23-10, 48 points): Belfort can protest and campaign all he wants, but he's not getting a title shot any time soon.

4. Yushin Okami (29-7, 40 points): Okami's up for another challenge after three straight wins. A bout with "Jacare" Souza on Sept. 4 in Brazil fits the bill.

5. Michael Bisping (24-5, 35 points): Bisping returns home to Manchester, England in October to meet Mark Munoz.

6. Mark Munoz (13-3, 27 points): Looked like a reborn fighter in his UFC 162 win over Tim Boetsch as he masterfully mixed his wrestling and striking. A consequential fight with Bisping is up next.

7. Ronaldo Souza (18-3, 1 NC, 17 points): Former Strikeforce champ has his biggest career bout against Okami.

8. Costa Phillippou (12-2, 1 NC, 20 points): The winner of five straight fights is still waiting on his next fight after an injury.

9. Luke Rockhold (11-2, 23 points): Still nothing on tap after his may knockout loss to Belfort.

10. Tim Boetsch (15-7, 6 points): A game competitor, but Boetsch's career may have peaked.

Votes for others: Alexander Shlemenko 1, Cung Le 1.

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