Josh Gross
Wednesday April 22nd, 2009

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva isn't bored. Nor is he frustrated. About his decision win over Thales Leites at UFC 97 on Saturday, Silva is said to be satisfied. And criticism following the contest, in which Leites refused to engage while trying anything he could to avoid the champion's infrequent attacks, has fallen on deaf ears.

"[Anderson]'s not paying any attention to it," said Ed Soares, Silva's manager. "He feels he went out there, did his job and did it well."

Until recently, Silva's job description included vicious attacks that chopped down talented challengers. Yet, for as frustrating as it was to watch Leites stall and flop his way through the most important fight of his career, it has been Silva drawing much of the post-fight ire from fans and media.

Why?

Over 25 minutes, Silva connected on 83 of 179 strikes, according to CompuStrike. Nick Diaz needed one round against Frank Shamrock to rack up an almost identical tally. Yes, Soares was correct when he said it takes "two to tango," but a one-man show would have been more than enough for those who took the time to watch UFC 97.

Unlike Miguel Torres or Fedor Emelianenko, champions who seem to relish fighting to opponents' strengths, Silva doesn't see a point in messing around. The champion wants to stand and counter, of course, and unless he's made to do something different, he won't. And why should he? If there's a fighter out there at 185 who wants the belt, Silva and his camp have a simple retort: "come and take it."

Outside of Demian Maia, whose style is rooted more in jiu-jitsu than Leites', potential challengers appear to be versatile and aggressive enough to take Team Silva up on the offer. Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson are real tests in rematches of bouts Silva easily won. Yushin Okami is beyond deserving of a title shot. And Michael Bisping -- should he upend Henderson -- could make for the best action versus Silva out of any other contender in the UFC.

If styles make fights -- and we know they do -- several middleweights outside the UFC would fit the bill very well.

Robbie Lawler would charge forward and give Silva an opportunity to counter. Gegard Mousasi could kickbox and trade submissions with Silva. Jorge Santiago has enough experience that he wouldn't walk into the fight like Leites, completely psyched out. And Vitor Belfort, the mystery that he is, could be one guy who brings the best out in the UFC champ.

"They want to see an exciting fight, then bring a complete fighter," said Soares, critiquing Silva's recent opponents in the UFC. "These guys are one-dimensional fighters they're putting him against."

Backing away for a moment, Soares regrouped and articulated the message he tried to get across.

"People should be focusing on the good things that happened," he said. "Anderson broke a record. He has nine consecutive wins in the UFC. No one has done that in 15 years."

• This is the first list I've cobbled together that doesn't include Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva or Tito Ortiz among the top 10 at light heavyweight. Not sure anyone would have thought this a couple years ago, but Ortiz, it appears, has the best chance in the group to re-establish himself.

• Karo Parisyan was removed after testing positive for banned painkillers. He received a nine-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and an ouster from the poll, as would any disciplined fighter.

• Nearly three-quarters of the 60 mixed martial artists ranked here are under contract to the UFC or WEC.

• Newcomers: Shane Carwin, Luiz Cane, Martin Kampmann, Joseph Benavidez and Jon Fitch (on pound-for-pound list).

• Ousted: Sergei Kharitonov, Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Atsushi Yamamoto and Shinya Aoki (pound-for-pound list).

• The final fighter cut out of the top 10 was featherweight Rafael Assuncao. A thorough handling of Jameel Massouh earlier this month was enough to put Assuncao (13-1) on the radar, however undefeated Wilson Reis remains at No. 10.

Heavyweight

1. Fedor Emelianenko (Russia) 2. Josh Barnett (U.S.) 3. Frank Mir (U.S.) 4. Andrei Arlovski (Belarus/U.S.) 5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Brazil) 6. Brock Lesnar (U.S.) 7. Randy Couture (U.S.) 8. Tim Sylvia (U.S.) 9. Alistair Overeem (Holland) 10. Shane Carwin (U.S.)

Others receiving consideration: Jeff Monson, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell, Mirko Filipovic, Junior dos Santos

Light Heavyweight

1. Rashad Evans (U.S.) 2. Quinton Jackson (U.S.) 3. Lyoto Machida (Brazil) 4. Forrest Griffin (U.S.) 5. Dan Henderson (U.S.) 6. Mauricio Rua (Brazil) 7. Keith Jardine (U.S.) 8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Brazil) 9. Luiz Cane (Brazil) 10. Renato Sobral (Brazil)

Others receiving consideration: Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Thiago Silva, Jon Jones

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva (Brazil) 2. Yushin Okami (Japan) 3. Nate Marquardt (U.S.) 4. Robbie Lawler (U.S.) 5. Gegard Mousasi (Holland) 6. Dan Henderson (U.S.) 7. Jorge Santiago (Brazil) 8. Frank Trigg (U.S.) 9. Thales Leites (Brazil) 10. Vitor Belfort (Brazil)

Others receiving consideration: Rich Franklin, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Yoshiro Akiyama, Paulo Filho

Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre (Canada) 2. Jon Fitch (U.S.) 3. Thiago Alves (Brazil) 4. Jake Shields (U.S.) 5. Matt Hughes (U.S.) 6. Paulo Thiago (Brazil) 7. Josh Koscheck (U.S.) 8. Martin Kampmann (Denmark) 9. Carlos Condit (U.S.) 10. Nick Thompson (U.S.)

Others receiving consideration: Matt Hayato Sakurai, Matt Serra, Dustin Hazelett, Jay Hieron, Mike Swick

Lightweight

1. B.J. Penn (U.S.) 2. Shinya Aoki (Japan) 3. Sean Sherk (U.S.) 4. Joachim Hansen (Norway) 5. Kenny Florian (U.S.) 6. Eddie Alvarez (U.S.) 7. Gesias Cavalcante (Brazil) 8. Josh Thomson (U.S.) 9. Gray Maynard (U.S.) 10. Satoru Kitaoka (Japan)

Others receiving consideration: Frank Edgar, Tyson Griffin, Gilbert Melendez, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri

Featherweight

1. Mike Thomas Brown (U.S.) 2. Urijah Faber (U.S.) 3. Wagnney Fabiano (Brazil) 4. Hatsu Hioki (Japan) 5. Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Japan) 6. Masakazu Imanari (Japan) 7. Takeshi Inoue (Japan) 8. Leonard Garcia (U.S.) 9. Jose Aldo (Brazil) 10. Wilson Reis (Brazil)

Others receiving consideration: Marlon Rafael Assuncao, Marlon Sandro, Josh Grispi, Abel Cullum, Yuji Hoshino

Bantamweight

1. Miguel Torres (U.S.) 2. Brian Bowles (U.S.) 3. Masakatsu Ueda (Japan) 4. Takeya Mizugaki (Japan) 5. Will Ribeiro (Brazil) 6. Akitoshi Tamura (Japan) 7. Damacio Page (U.S.) 8. Dominic Cruz (U.S.) 9. Rany Yahya (Brazil) 10. Joseph Benavidez (U.S.)

Others receiving consideration: Marcos Galvao, Chase Beebe, Yoshiro Maeda, Manny Tapia, Eduardo Dantas

Pound-for-pound

1. Fedor Emelianenko (Russia) 2. Georges St. Pierre (Canada) 3. Anderson Silva (Brazil) 4. Miguel Torres (U.S.) 5. Rashad Evans (U.S.) 6. Quinton Jackson (U.S.) 7. Mike Thomas Brown (U.S.) 8. B.J. Penn (U.S.) 9. Urijah Faber (U.S.) 10. Jon Fitch (U.S.)

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