How to Rescue the UFC Middleweight Division

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How to Rescue the UFC Middleweight Division

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Credit: #UFC212 via Twitter.

How to Rescue the UFC Middleweight Division

There are some divisions in the UFC that have seen truly great champions. The middleweight division most certainly falls into that category with Anderson Silva, who dominated the division for seven years. With the current champion Michael Bisping struggling with injury and Yoel Romero due to take on Robert Whittaker for the interim title, can the division hope to regain its glory days?
Anderson Silva held the UFC Middleweight title for 2457 days between 2006 and 2013. Chris Weidman had an 888-day reign between 2013 and 2015 before injury ended his run, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the title to regain its former prestige.

Injury Hits Bisping Title Reign

The UK’s Michael Bisping finally won a world title when he defeated Luke Rockhold to win the middleweight strap in June of last year. He’s hardly set the division alight though with just a rematch win over Henderson last October. He was supposed to be taking on former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 213 but that’s been postponed with the challenger saying he won’t be ready until at least October. Bisping vs. Yoel Romero was the next plan but then the champion announced he had a knee injury so the middleweight division finds itself in a total mess.
The UFC plans to get itself out of the predicament it finds itself in by going down the aforementioned interim title route, with Yoel Romero taking on the Australian Robert Whittaker. It's a fight with the potential to reignite interest, not least amongst those looking to place bets on the contest: Romero is 8/13 at present to win the title and then set up that unification match with a fit-again Bisping, with St-Pierre likely to face the winner. That gives the division a decent plan for the next year.

Challengers on Unbeaten Runs

Romero is the current number one challenger to Bisping. His record is an impressive one with eight wins out of eight in UFC and his only MMA defeat was in his first bout to Rafael Cavalcante in Strikeforce six years ago. His most recent win was a third-round victory at UFC 205 against former middleweight champion Chris Weidman. That’s his only trip to the Octagon since December 2015, though.

Australian Robert Whittaker is currently ranked number three by the UFC and has won nine of his 11 UFC contests (19-4 overall). He’s on a seven-fight winning streak since a first round loss to Stephen Thompson at UFC 170 in February 2014, which was his second loss in a row. He’s certainly made a great comeback since those couple of defeats, though, and most recently beat Ronald Souza in April. His second-round win won "Bobby Knuckles" the performance of the night award.

The middleweight division has certainly seen better days but fighters of the calibre of Anderson Silva don’t come along that often. It's going to be a struggle getting back to the levels that the division was at a few years ago. In the current pound-for-pound UFC rankings, Bisping is at number ten. Sadly, injuries do occur and they're affecting the title reign of "The Count". Building up a Bisping versus Romero unification title fight looks to be the way that UFC boss Dana White sees the middleweight division being rejuvenated. We can but hope that will be the beginning of a return to the good old days at 185 lbs.

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