The Last Stylebender’s second clash with ‘Bobby Knuckles’ will serve as the main event of UFC 271 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on February 12.
Adesanya, 32, currently reigns supreme over one of the UFC’s most historic divisions. But who is the best middleweight of all time?
Here, GiveMeSport ranks every UFC middleweight champion from best to worst, based almost entirely on statistics and nothing else…
1. Anderson Silva – 2,457 days, ten title defences
Who else? And not only the best middleweight of all time, but arguably one of the greatest fighters, pound-for-pound, the world has ever seen.
Nicknamed The Spider from Brazil, he successfully defended his belt a record ten times before being released from his contract aged 45 in 2020.
2. Chris Weidman – 889 days, three title defences
Chris Weidman might be one of the most underrated middleweight champions of all time.
He won the title by knocking out the legendary Brazilian back in December 2013 and defended it three times before finally losing in December 2015 to Luke Rockhold.
3. Israel Adesanya – 858 days, three title defences
Last time out, Adesanya comfortably outclassed Marvin Vettori to secure a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards.
Will he jump above Weidman into second place by the end of the week? We’ll have to wait and see.
4. Rich Franklin – 497 days, two title defences
Rich Franklin, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in April 2019, is fourth ahead of Michael Bisping.
Franklin, from Cincinnati, turned pro in 1999 and took the title with a 2005 hammering of Evan Tanner.
He also bears an uncanny resemblance to Hollywood actor Jim Carrey.
5. Michael Bisping – 518 days, one title defence
Bisping, 45, famously became the first UFC champion from Britain back in June 2016.
The British MMA legend and UFC Hall of Famer flattened Rockhold with a looping overhand left in the main event of UFC 199 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
6. Murilo Bustamante – 267 days, one title defence
Not a household name, but a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the great Carlson Gracie – Murilo Bustamante.
Beaten by greats Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson, ‘Bust A Move’ retired with a record of 15-8.
7. Robert Whittaker – 660 days, zero title defences
Some will argue Whittaker deserves to be much higher up on this list on account of everything that he has accomplished in his career.
But despite being upgraded to undisputed champion, he never actually managed to defend the belt.
Of course, that’s not completely his fault, as Romero missed weight ahead of their rematch at UFC 225 in June 2018.
8. Luke Rockhold – 175 days, zero title defences
In 2015, Rockhold knocked out Weidman to capture the UFC middleweight title at UFC 194.
However, in his first title defence Rockhold was put to sleep in the first round by Bisping after being hit with a barrage of punches.
9. Georges St Pierre – 33 days, zero title defences
Georges St-Pierre JUST about – but only just – makes it into the top ten.
The Canadian came out of retirement to fight Bisping at Madison Square Garden in November 2017 before retiring again a few months later.
10. Evan Tanner – 119 days, zero title defences
A college wrestler, the American fought from 1997 to 2008 and had two wins against Phil Baroni.
Tanner, who died in 2008 aged 37, taught himself how to fight in MMA after watching video tutorials on television.
11. Dave Menne – 105 days, zero title defences
Dave Menne from Minnesota competed in a wide range of different organisations in various countries all over the world from 1997 to 2012.
He also had the honour of becoming the inaugural UFC middleweight champion in 2001 at UFC 33.
However, it was all downhill from there, as he lost the belt to Bustamante