Welterweight Division Update- How much longer will GSP Reign?


GSP recently made comments on the Joe Rogan Experience revealing “I don’t do much cutting…”It would be easier for me to go fight at 155 than fighting at 185. I would be more at my weight naturally at 155.”

Johny Hendricks, who has deservedly earned his shot at GSP, now anxiously await confirmation that he will be the next to fight GSP.

While many fans would love to see GSP in a super fight with Anderson Silva, this is definitely not a welcome proposition for Johny Hendricks.

There is also a huge line up of talented fighters within the welterweight division edging closer towards title contention. Listed below is a breakdown of some of the top fighters in the division, where they currently stand in the win column, and their next opponents.

Welterweight Fighters on the Rise

1. Johny Hendricks -6 straight wins (next title shot unconfirmed) 29 years of age

2. Matt Brown – 5 straight wins (32 years of age) Faces Thiago Alves next August 17 Fox 1 card.

3. Rory MacDonald – 4 straight wins (23 years of age) Faces Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fox 8.

4.Tarec Saffiedine-4 straight wins (26 years of age) (Strikeforce product)  (Tarec lost to Tyron Woodley in 2011 due to effective takedowns and clinch work) Tarec will be making his UFC debut against heavy handed veteran Robbie Lawler at UFC on Fox 8.

5. Demian Maia-3 straight wins (35 years of age). According to Ariel Helwani, Maia was looking for a fight against Nick Diaz in Brazil. Demian is now rumoured to be fighting Josh Koscheck in Brazil at UFC 163.

6. John Hathaway-3 straight wins (25 years of age).

7. Mike Pierce-3 straight wins (32 years of age) UFC 162 fighting David Mitchell.

8. Mike Pyle-3 straight wins (37 years of age) UFC 160 fighting Rick Story

9. Colton Smith-TUF 16 winner (25 years of age) 1st official UFC win against Mike Ricci.  Faces Aussie TUF product Robert Whittaker at UFC 160.

10. Tyron Woodley (31 years of age) (Strikeforce product) Faces Jake Shields next at UFC 161 (promising talent) strong wrestling pedigree. Only loss on record to Nate MarquardtNCAA Division I All-American (2003, 2005). Scored a 1st round KO in UFC Debut.

11. Nah Shon Burrell-(23 years of age) 1st official UFC win against Yuri Villefort.

12. Patrick Cote-(33 years of age) after dropping to Welterweight enjoyed decision win against Bobby Voelker.

13. Gunnar Nelson-(24 years of age) undefeated record 11-0-1(recent injury -blown out knee) Black belt under Renzo Gracie. 2 straight wins in the UFC

14. Rick Story-(28 years of age) won his last fight by KO (Faces Mike Pyle at UFC 160.

15. Dan Hardy (30 years of age) (won his last two fights) Serious concerns over his health after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Future is in limbo as he waits for second medical opinion (as reported by mmajunkie.com).

16. Robbie Lawler-(31 years of age) Veteran who has blasted into the welterweight division with a massive KO of Josh Koscheck at UFC 157. Next fight against Tarec Saffiedine FOX 8 card. Some fans have called for a rematch with Nick Diaz who spectacularly knocked Robbie Lawler out at UFC 47.


1. BJ Penn-–(34 years of age) 3 straight losses –Retirement?

2. Josh Koscheck– (35 years of age) 2 straight losses Rumoured to be fighting Demian Maia at UFC 163

3. Nate Marquardt-(34 years of age)   2 straight losses last fight lost by TKO

4. Carlos Condit– (29 years of age)   2 straight losses by decisions

5. Nick Diaz-(29 years of age)   2 straight losses by decision

6. Paulo Thiago-(32 years of age)   2 straight losses Fighting Michel Prazeres at UFC Fox 8

7. Jake Shields-(34 years of age) last fight -No contest due to positive drug test. Facing Tyron Woodley at UFC 161

8. Mike Swick-(33 years of age):  lost last fight by KO to Matt Brown (injury prone)

9. Thiago Alves (29 years of age) 2-4 in last six fights (next fight Matt Brown FOX 1 card)

10. Martin Kampmann-(31 years of age)   lost his last fight by KO to Johnny H.

11.Amir Sadollah-(32 years of age) coming off a loss to Dan Hardy.  

12. Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson (30 years of age) coming off a loss to Matt Brown

13. Brian Ebersole-(32 years of age) coming off a loss to James Head. Previously on a five fight win streak.

As fans of the sport, who are you most impressed with in the welterweight division behind Johny Hendricks that you see as a serious threat? What matchups would you also like to see?



  • Personally, I'm really only interested in two more fights for The Champ @ 170, Hendricks and Maia. If he can pull that off, then he will have accomplished all that a Champ can in a division. He will have cleaned it out twice. That said, the only other person on the list I'd like to see / makes sense would be Ellenberger.

    As to 155, if he could take that belt…great. I would love to see it.

    Either way, GSP has been an awesome Champ and has ruled over an incredible division. No matter what happens, his legacy is secure. He's the greatest 170 fighter of all time.

  • Fed up of these debates…GSP, Aldo, Anderson and Jones are not going to lose till they either move up in weight which tbh their all big for their weight class or they compete for too long and age gets the better of them!

  • Three guys I want to see GSP fight and perhaps 4 if the fight with MacDonald becomes possible.
    If not then the 3 guys are the obvious Hendricks and then Maia and Ellenberger.

    Hendricks and Ellenberger are similar threat to GSP – great wrestlers with some of the best P4P punching power in MMA and unlike Koscheck they actually set up their strikes well.
    Maia posses a similar threat to Jake Shields but to a much more deadly degree. Maia is by far the greatest and most dangerous grappler GSP will have ever faced and likely ever will. The question is can Maia actually initiate the grappling exchanges because if not, like Shields, it will be an exhibition of GSP's striking. Maia's ability to take the fight down is quickly improving but we will likely find our question in his fight with Kos.

    If GSP manages to stay on top and fights these 3 guys, I think he is by far the greatest champion of all time.
    I think Anderson is the best fighter ever but the consistency of the elite of the elite GSP has faced along side the possible cleaning out of 3 generations of his division would be perhaps never seen again.

    • @ Keith

      Nicely put. The last paragraph in particular. Those three fights, "if" The Champ could win them and that's a big if IMO, he will have faced down some truly great talent and serious threats.

      Of the three, I see Hendricks as the biggest threat. I believe if The Champ can win that fight, he'll win the other two, should the fights come to fruition of course. If Rory beats Jake there goes that fight and if Kos beat Maia, there goes that match, too. As GSP and Rory will not fight, it's just not going to happen, GSP will then move on or retire. It will be one and done, if MacDonald and Koscheck win. We will be looking at a new 170 Champ.

      As a GSP fan, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Even if GSP fights Hendricks loses, gets an immediate re-match (which he would), win or lose that fight, GSP would be done @ 170. If he loses he retires. If he wins he moves on or retires, without risking The Belt, exiting as Champion.

      These are very heady and exciting time with the Welter-Weight Division.

  • Johny Hendricks will be knocking GPS out ASAP…..remember The Hate told ya 1st just like I told ya Cain was robbed in the first Dos Santos fight due to an early Fox Channell safety stoppage & will dogg him in the rematch.

  • The only person I see having more than a punchers chance is Damian Maia. No one can stop enough of his take downs to keep it standing so if GSP thinks that you have the potential to beat him there you are going on your back. Damian Maia doesn't care about that. Georges has to fight him the same way he fought Shields and he didn't look great in that fight. Damian can hit harder and better than Jake and he has some ways of getting it to the ground too. I don't know who would win that fight but I think Maia has the real best chance.

    • I should have read your post before putting mine in.lol. I feel the same way.

  • The only guy I see beating GSP without a lucky shot is Maia. I think Maia is far better at striking then Jake was and he is more likely to get a td as well. Although we are yet to see if Maia can keep pace with GSP he showed a very convincing run against Fitch. Forget Hendricks and his punchers chance and Ellenberger and his cardio, both those guys are not likely to stop a takedown from GSP and Maia can stop one just by being in the cage and GSP knowing how dangerous it is down there. Maia can also strike decently now and is not going top be backed up by GSP strikes. I feel GSP is backpedaling this fight and eventually goes to take him down to his own demise. I don't think Maia is better p4p but it is a stylistic nightmare for GSP IMO. Hendricks and Ellenberger are serious threats for a good punch but other than that they are better in no area while Maia is certainly better downstairs and can also throw with GSP. GSP has a 4 inch reach advantage but Maia is a come forward fighter and unless GSP keeps running back I dobt he takes this style to style fight.

    • I think Maia can beat every fighter in The Division and would stand a serious threat to The Champ's title.

      • Maia needs to fight Mac Donald or Condit before he has a crack at GSP. He was most impressive against Fitch, and he seems to have a physical advangtage which he utilises very well and his striking has improved considerably from 2 years ago so he has a good chance against whoever he faces, but if he can't beat either of them I doubt he warrants a crack at GSP.

        • PS: I would like to see Condit get another shot at GSP sometime as well as all the other potential fights possible. He beat hendricks IMO and made it a far closer fight than most do against GSP and I think he would have learned so much from their first encounter he'd make it even closer next time.

    • The only thing I disagree with you about is the striking. I stated that Damian hits harder than Shields, implying that he is more dangerous there than Shields is and I stand by it. That said I don't think he will be backing GSP up alot. While I give the power nod to Maia slightly, I think GSP is the better technical striker. Maia on the other hand can hang with GSP long enough to set up the take-down and might be able to score a sub. I think this fight is very close. I would probably take Maia in the picks but I would not be at all surprised to see Georges take the W.

      • I agree GSP is the better technical fighter, hence why he will be backing up to Maias trodding down approach to him. I feel GSP will feel he is on the losing side if he keeps backing up and will go for a takedown here or there to keep the judges eyes happy and find his demise on the mat.

        • I would love it if it worked out that way. GSP is the man but I am ready to see a new champ.