This past weekend, at UFC 158, was a significant one for the world welterweight rankings. Arguably the four best welterweights on the planet competed on the same night to decide the future of the division.
Georges St-Pierre is still the champion, Johny Hendricks is still the number one contender, and Nick Diaz is still talking trash. There are a few changes, but what has remained the same is that the welterweight division is the most stacked division on the planet.
Check out my rankings for the welterweight division for March 2013:
'Rush' is still the boss at welterweight. Although many feel his style may be boring, he is a superb athelete, has excellent wrestling, good boxing and is unbeaten since April of 2007. I don't know how many fights Georges has left in him, but if he is able to beat the next guy on the list I will be placing GSP with Anderson Silva at the top of the p4p list.
'Bigg Rigg' is on a hot streak in the welterweight division right now. He has had possibly the hardest route to a title shot in the history of the UFC, defeating Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit in his last four fights. Other noteworthy names on Hendricks' record include TJ Waldburger, Mike Pierce, TJ Grant and Amir Sadollah.
'The Juggernaut' showed on Saturday how much his speed and footwork have improved. He utilized timing, speed and accuracy to knock Nate Marquardt within one round. Ellenberger has only lost once in the last three years, to Martin Kampmann, and is making a good case to be selected for the next number one contender match.
Despite being on a two-fight losing skid, I'm still going to give Condit the number four spot. His two afformentioned losses came at the hands of the current champion and number one contender, and not to mention his five prior fights were wins over guys like Nick Diaz, Kim Dong Hyun, Dan Hardy, Rory Macdonald and Jake Ellenberger.
After reinventing himself at welterweight, Maia has had a 3-fight win streak. The Brazilian submission specialist has beaten Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and most recently Jon Fitch. I see a good future for Maia at 170.
Although coming off a loss to current number one contender Johny Hendricks, I feel Kampmann should still be on the edge of the top five. Wins over Jake Ellenberger, Rick Story and Thiago Alves showed us the Dane is deserving of his nickname "The Hitman".
The Canadian Prodigy is making a great name for himself, at the young age of 23 Macdonald has already beaten some big names. His last four wins have come over Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle, Che Mills and BJ Penn. MacDonald's success at welterweight may depend on how long GSP remains champion, as the two have expressed that they would not fight each other.
The bad boy image and trash talk aside, Diaz is a great fighter. He has superb striking and unique BJJ skills. Many may disagree with me choosing Diaz at all in this list due to his inactivity and his two-fight losing skid. Losing two fights in six years to the champion and number one contender in the UFC is still pretty impressive.
During his time in the UFC, Fitch was compiled 14 wins. Note worthy names include Erick Silva, Paulo Thiago, Ben Saunders, Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves (twice) and Mike Pierce to name a few. Although his fortune lately has not been as positive, I feel Fitch still deserves a place in my top 10.
'Funky' may not have big names on his record, but the Bellator champion has done just enough during his 11-0 career to earn a spot in my top 10 list.
Following UFC 158 I feel that the match we need to see is Demian Maia vs Jake Ellenberger for the number one contender spot. I also feel that now would be a good time to see Condit vs. Macdonald. In my opinion, MacDonald is ready for a top five fight, and Condit was originally scheduled to fight Macdonald at UFC 158 before Macdonald was injured. As for the top half of the list, it all depends on if the champion can overcome the next big challenge in Johny Hendricks. If GSP can defeat 'Bigg Rigg,' who is going to have the next best chance to beat the long-time champion?