Please note the rankings are voted on by a panel of MMA Freak writers. Also note the previous rankings (1/3/15) are listed in parenthesis:

1) Robbie Lawler (1)

Robbie Lawler currently has nothing scheduled but is expected to defend his title first against Rory MacDonald sometime later this year.

2) Johny Hendricks (2)

Looking for a rebound since his disappointing loss to Robbie Lawler, Johny Hendricks will face Matt Brown on March 14 at UFC 185. There are not any immediate plans for a trilogy match between Hendricks and Lawler anytime soon unless Hendricks earns it convincingly.

3) Rory MacDonald (3)

Rory MacDonald will probably face Robbie Lawler should he win against Hector Lombard on April 25th at UFC 186 in Canada. However, Lombard is by no means a slouch and MacDonald needs to be at his best if he hopes to maintain the title shot against Lawler.

4) Tyron Woodley (4)

After opponent Kelvin Gastelum missed weight, Tyron Woodley has agreed to fight just the same at a catch weight of 180lbs. tonight.

5) Hector Lombard (5)

Hector Lombard will be facing Rory MacDonald at UFC 186 on April 25th in what maybe a title contender match for Robbie Lawler. Despite his mediocre win against Josh Burkman, Lombard could launch himself into a title shot should he defeat MacDonald.

6) Matt Brown (8)

Following a loss to now champion Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown will now be facing former champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 185. A win against Hendricks could very well earn Brown a rematch against Lawler, except for a title shot this would be for the title.

7) Carlos Condit (6)

Carlos Condit is still out with a knee injury and unless he fights by March 15th, he will become ineligible for the rankings due to inactivity.

8) Ben Askren (7)

It has been mentioned that Ben Askren will be defending his title relatively soon but there is no concrete date or opponent from One FC. Askren has once again shown how vocal he can be on Dana White‘s actions and this time it’s against the Jon Jones situation.

9) Jake Shields (9)

Jake Shields will be facing Rousimar Palhares sometime this spring for the World Series of Fighting Welterweight Championship.

10) Kelvin Gastelum (10)

In an unfortunate turn, Kelvin Gastelum again missed weight for his fight tonight against Tyron Woodley overshadowing his rise. Missing weight by ten pounds is not something one wants advertised but Gastelum plainly has a problem in the weight cutting department.

Contenders 

The following fighter received votes for the rankings and as such is considered a contender in the welterweight division: Demian Maia.