In three weeks’ time, Georges St. Pierre will return to the cage again, with sights on solidifying his spot as the greatest Welterweight in UFC history, and one of the top Pound-for-Pound fighters in the sport today. St. Pierre’s path of destruction is a long list of top UFC 170-pounders, making the French-Canadian one of the most dominant champions in UFC history.
Welterweight is arguably one of the most stacked weight classes in the UFC. St. Pierre’s run of six consecutive title defenses made it a one man’s kingdom.
Here are the top 5 Welterweights in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, from BJ Penn to Georges St. Pierre:
1. Georges St. Pierre
Reigning UFC Welterweight champion. The man, the myth, the legend – Georges “Rush” St. Pierre. Carlos Condit will be a serious threat to break the hearts of millions MMA fans around the world, but still, GSP is a clear favorite to win this fight. Condit lives up to his name as a “Natural Born Killer” with an impressive highlight reel of KO/TKO finishes. St. Pierre is often criticized by fans and the media for not showing the killer instinct he had in fights with Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, but on a night like this, 18 months after his last fight, anything can happen. With six consecutive title defenses, and 2 victories over the #2 in this list, GSP is without a doubt the greatest Welterweight in UFC history.
2. Matt Hughes
I think it’s safe to say that Matt Hughes passed the torch to GSP back at 79. GSP has more consecutive title defenses than Matt Hughes, but the UFC Hall of Fame member is leading with a total of seven title defenses. If St. Pierre is victorious against Carlos Condit, he will only tie Hughes’ incredible record. Hughes himself stated in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that he considers Georges St. Pierre to be the greatest Welterweight in UFC history, simply because the French-Canadian beat him twice.
3. Pat Miletich
Miletich is a true pioneer of this sport. The Croatian Sensation was the first ever UFC Welterweight champion, with four consecutive title defenses. Pat Miletich a new type of fighting inside the Octagon, with elite grappling skills and effective striking. This knowledge eventually contributed to Miletich’s status as one of the top coaches in the game. That was an era of fighters like Bas Rutten, Ken and Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and other legends that helped to build the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
4. Jon Fitch
Jon Fitch is simply unlucky for being in the same division with Georges St. Pierre. He never won the UFC Welterweight title, but his record speaks for itself. Eight consecutive victories between 2005 and 2008, and another five (one no contest) between 2009 and 2011. The only fighters to ever beat Jon Fitch in the UFC are GSP and Johny Hendricks, who will fight at UFC 154 against Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann. Fitch got himself back on track against Erick Silva, but only time will tell if he still has what it takes to make another run for a shot at the title.
5. BJ Penn
Just like Pat Miletich, BJ Penn is one of the originals. Stripped off his title following the move to K-1, Penn wasn’t able to maintain consistency in the division, similar to Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre. There are many other fighters who could be at #5 – Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann, and many others. The truth is, BJ Penn‘s Octagon presence, and the fact that he was moving up from Lightweight to fight those wars with GSP (well, sans UFC 94), Matt Hughes and Nick Diaz, just prove that he’s definitely one of the greatest fighters to ever compete at this weight class.