Top 10 Welterweight Rankings

nullThis week I turn my rankings to the welterweight division.

Like my middleweight rankings, the No. 1 spot is quite obvious and everyone else isn’t really all that close.

Still, here is my take. If you need to go back and find my pound-for-pound, heavyweight, or light heavyweight rankings, click on the links.

1. Georges St. Pierre (21-2) – GSP is the clear leader of this group and close to being the best fighter in any weight class. I would argue that St. Pierre is the most complete fighter in all of MMA as he exhibits diverse striking, superior wrestling, and solid submission skills. The beauty of GSP is, he is always looking for ways to evolve and stay ahead of the game and I am curious to see how he attacks his UFC 129 fight with Jake Shields this Saturday.

2. Jon Fitch (23-3-1) – Fitch is the fighter that can do no right. All he does is win, for the most part, but he isn’t able to do it in a flashy fashion, so he is often overlooked. He dominated B.J. Penn in the third round of their fight in February, but a slow start forced a draw and unfinished business. If St. Pierre is to beat Shields and move up to middleweight, I would suspect that Fitch is the favorite to become the new 170-pound champion in the UFC.

3. Jake Shields (26-4-1) – I am still a little unsure of what to think about Shields. He has some impressive wins, but I think he is kidding himself if he thinks getting St. Pierre to the ground is going to be a walk in the park. He is a world-class grappler, but I would dare say he is one of the worst strikers in the division. You would think a guy of his talents would really work at striking to become a complete fighter, but he still clerly lacks in that department. A win over St. Pierre on Saturday would be an upset, but it would surely catapult him to the top of my rankings.

4. Josh Koscheck (15-5) – Koscheck has had some bad losses in his career, but I still think he is one of the best welterweights in MMA. He has great wrestling ability, which he is starting to use more, and he has big power in his hands. If Koscheck can become more technical with his striking and use his wrestling more often, I think he is a very dangerous opponent for anyone.

5. Nick Diaz (25-7) – Like Shields, I am unsure of Diaz as he hasn’t beaten a lot of top competition. He has dominated Strikeforce and their welterweights, but wins over guys like Paul Daley and Scott Smith don’t really impress me. Diaz is entertaining and he is a warrior, but I think he would struggle against the strong wrestlers that make their home in the octagon.

6. Thiago Alves (18-7) – Alves is making his way back up the ladder after losses to GSP and Fitch and he is still one of the most powerful strikers in the division. His leg kicks may be the best of any welterweight, and he has a good strong jab. Alves needs to improve on his wrestling, as his clear flaw is being able to stay off his back against the top-level grapplers.

7. Carlos Condit (26-5) – I like what Condit brings to the table because he is fearless and he will let the fight go wherever it will and still be confident that he can be better than his opponent in that area. Condit is slowly making his way up the UFC ladder and another win may put him into top-5 status. A win at UFC 131 over strong grappler, Dong Hyun Kim, will be another big notch in his belt.

8. B.J. Penn (16-7-2) – I think we can all safely say that B.J. Penn is not the phenom he once was. Frankie Edgar handled him in the lightweight division and he moved up to welterweight where he beat an aged Matt Hughes. While he did fight to a draw with Fitch, the third round showed that Fitch was the better fighter. Penn just isn’t able to dominate like he used to and not doing anything to change up his game. He did surprise me by trying to takedown Fitch, but that strategy won’t get him far against bigger opponents.

9. Martin Kampmann (17-5) – I respect Martin Kampmann a lot and I think he has been on the raw end of some recent decisions. I thought he clearly beat Diego Sanchez back in March and I think he should have beaten Jake Shields at UFC 121 in October, but didn’t make the best decisions to help himself win that fight. Kampmann is well rounded but not outstanding in any one area. He reminds me of Nate Marquardt in the middleweight division in terms of his ability to beat some of the best, but not be able to get past the elite fighters in his division.

10. Dong Hyun Kim (14-0-1) – Has anyone realized that Kim is undefeated? He holds wins over some respectable opponents too, including Nate Diaz and Amir Sadollah. The burly wrestler has been very tough for his opponents to figure out. He is comparable in his style to Yushin Okami, but he has a judo background that makes him even more dangerous in the clinch. Kim can really breakout at UFC 131 by beating Condit, but that will be no small task.


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