* CHAMPION GEORGES ST PIERRE
1 Johny Hendricks (#1 UFC)
Hendricks has finally earned his shot against the champ in their upcoming fight at UFC 167 in Vegas. His reckless style is heavily armored by a strong wrestling base, and constantly evolving striking game. These days he promises to turn this one in to a dog fight and make Georges St. Pierre fight for once.
That’s a tall order for anyone to deliver against GSP, who’s signature move involves taking fighters out of their comfort zone, neutralizing their skill sets, and imposing a very dull, yet super effective brand of MMA dominance.
2 Rory MacDonald (#3 UFC)
Rory has proven he is the most technical fighter in the welterweight division since picking apart Jake Ellenberger at last night’s UFConFOX8 event. He has said before he doesn’t want to fight training partner GSP, but like Dana White said in the post-fight presser last night, everyone knows he wants to fight the champ for the belt. Of course he might not have to make such a difficult decision if Johny Hendricks has anything to say about it at UFC 167.
3 Carlos Condit (#2 UFC)
Condit is locked in to a main event five rounder against Martin Kampmann next month at UFC Fight Night 27. They have fought before and oddly enough, the higher ranked Condit actually lost that one. But that’s the story of Kampmann’s entire career. He wins fights he probably shouldn’t.
Ironically, this situations is what Condit was robbed of against Johny Hendricks when they threw down in the co-main event at UFC 158. After three rounds of back and forth brawling, that one should’ve went for another two. Unfortunately it was the co-main event, and we’ll never know what Condit had left in him.
That’s why this one should be good. Both men have a penchant for changing the direction of a fight, and five rounds will hopefully be enough to establish a clear winner. If Condit wins, he may have to fight in another rematch against Rory Macdonald, of whom he stole a come from behind win in their first fight together.
4 Jake Ellenberger (#4 UFC)
Ellenberger may have dropped a loss last night, but he’s still capable of taking apart anyone in the division, and would be heavily favored against any of the competition below him on this list.
Future matchup’s for him are very enticing these days since he’s capable of becoming a strong gate keeper for anyone looking to break in to the top ten or even the top five at this point.
5 Demian Maia (#5 UFC)
Maia has been crushing it in the welterweight division since dropping down from middleweight. He absolutely ran through Dong Hyun Kim (TKO), Rick Story (submission), and Jon Fitch (unanimous decision).
Just think of the way he out wrestled Fitch or literally choked the blood out of Story’s nose (pictured above!). This guy is looking for a top contender fight and will be gunning for the belt very soon.
6 Martin Kampmann (#7 UFC)
Kampmann has thrown up more than a few hail-mary submissions and knockouts throughout his career. If anyone embodied the mantra of ‘a punchers chance,’ it would be Kampmann. Where he has earned this place on the list, he will either fall down a few notches or propel himself upwards if he can get past Condit.
7 Robbie Lawler (#9 UFC)
Where did Lawler come from? With two devastating knockout wins in his return to the UFC against Bobby Voelker and long-time top contender in Josh Koschek, he’s riding a ton of momentum at the moment.
Yet in this specific division, contenders can fall as quickly as they can rise. If Lawler plans on sticking around near the top, he will have to become more consistent than he’s proven to be in the past.
8 Erick Silva (unranked UFC)
If anyone is under rated, over rated, or about to become ranked altogether by most of the world, it’s this man. He’s currently unranked on most lists, but believe it or not, he’s about to make a strong run for the title. If Johny Hendricks or Rory Macdonald can’t dethrone GSP, it may come down to this man.
Of course even though he is one of the least likely fighters to allow a fight to make it out of the first round, he hasn’t fought enough top competition yet to earn a clear spot on this list. Hopefully he has made a few adjustments since dropping a FightOfTheNight loss to Jon Fitch, and will start putting contenders away like hot cakes on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
9 Nick Diaz (#6 UFC)
If you can’t wrestle, you wind up this far down the list in the UFC, but still hold a strong position near the bottom. Diaz is a great fighter, but will have to regain his winning ways to move back up near the top. In the case of the UFC granting him a #6 spot, they should be ashamed.
10 Josh Koscheck (#10 UFC)
KOS was recently dramatically upset in Robbie Lawler’s UFC debut. He was winning that fight with his solid brand of wrestling grindage, right up until Lawler reversed him in to the cage and dropped multiple fight ending bombs in to the side of his head.
With his well-rounded repertoire and strong winning resume among the welterweights, he still has a strong argument for contention on this list. Look to see him rebound in the division near the end of the year.
Unranked on my list ~ Tarec Saffiedine (#8 UFC)
Tarec Saffiedine has only fought Nate Marquardt. He’s gotta do better than that to make this list. Of course the UFC feels differently for some reason. But time will tell how much Saffiedine has to offer since the men definitely get separated from the boys in this division.