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411 MMA Rankings 03.19.13: Welterweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 03.19.2013





Some dislike Nick Diaz, others have grown to hate Georges St-Pierre, perhaps it's a good thing last weekend's UFC 158 did nothing to upset the apple cart.

Welcome to this edition of the 411 MMA Rankings as we finally update our welterweight list for the first time in about two months. It seems every welterweight this side of The Sahara has been in a cage somewhere in the world since 2013 started. Three nights ago, Georges St-Pierre handily retained his UFC welterweight championship yet again in his bout with Nick Diaz. Whether you're part of the group that can't stand the Canadian's style which puts a heavier emphasis on security and not finishes, or if you overlook that because of his dominance, GSP has entered that realm that Anderson Silva was in a few years back (after his abominable performances against Thales Leites, Patrick Cote and Demian Maia).

Diaz had a plethora of "excuses" for his loss ranging from not training with wrestlers to not adjusting to the time zone difference in Montreal (this makes no sense) and of course, the rules in modern MMA which gives an edge to takedowns. Put it all together, and nobody should be shocked he lost the fight, or that his brother Nate lost his lightweight title fight in December to Benson Henderson. It's ironic that despite training with Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez forever, Nick and Nate's weaknesses persistently show up against wrestlers.

Speaking of wrestlers, Johny Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit in an early contender for fight of the year and appears to be next in line for GSP. Unlike your prototypical takedown artists, the Oklahoman possesses a deadly left hand which gives some reason to believe he's as big a threat as any to the crown.

The welterweight division looks stacked at the moment with Rory MacDonald, Demian Maia and Jake Ellenberger each laying claim to be in the UFC title mix. A step beneath them are the likes of Dong-Hyun Kim and former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine, but where does that leave a guy like Tyron Woodley who debuted in the UFC by smashing Jay Hieron last month?

Although he insists he can beat GSP, reigning Bellator champion Ben Askren will not have that opportunity anytime soon. Despite that, he was able to retain his gold earlier this year by smashing "Psycho" Karl Amoussou to the point a doctor had to stop the fight.

What do you think about the hypothetical match-up between the former Olympic wrestler and the greatest welterweight of all-time?




Rankings From One Year Ago
02.07.12


1. Georges St-Pierre

2. Carlos Condit

3. Jake Ellenberger

4. Nick Diaz

5. Josh Koscheck

6. Johny Hendricks

7. Jon Fitch

8. Diego Sanchez

9. Jake Shields

10. Martin Kampmann

11. Rory MacDonald

12. Thiago Alves

13. Ben Askren

14. Charlie Brenneman

15. Douglas Lima






411's MMA Ranking Rules

- Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.

* denotes statistical tie




411's Official MMA Rankings


Welterweight Division




1) Georges St-Pierre (24-2)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: May 19, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nick Diaz - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Carlos Condit - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Jake Shields - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields - April 30, 2011

- vs. Josh Koscheck - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 - December 11, 2010

- vs. Dan Hardy - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy - March 27, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Some may continue to criticize GSP for what's considered a safe style to fighting, but how can you argue with the dominance he still displays in the cage? While he may not be the same exact fighter as he was pre-ACL injury, he's older and was noticeably tired in the later rounds this weekend, who can touch him? GSP was not perfect with his wrestling against Nick Diaz, but even when the fight turned into a kickboxing match, St-Pierre was landing effective punches and kicks.




2) Johny Hendricks (15-1)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: September 12, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Carlos Condit - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Martin Kampmann - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Josh Koscheck - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Jon Fitch - Win via KO (punches) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Mike Pierce - Win via decision (split) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Big Rig did it again, knocking off a top contender. In a fight of the year candidate, he and Carlos Condit stole the show in Montreal with a back and forth three-round war. Hendricks injured his left hand in the first round so there's no telling how long he will need to recover, but expect him to finally fight GSP in the fall.

I believe he has a great chance, better than practically every previous GSP contender of late, to put the champion in danger. Yes, he'll have to improve his stamina and the fact he was outwrestled by Rick Story a few years back is something to worry about. Still, his left hand is overwhelmingly explosive and there will still be doubts as to whether GSP can control him with takedowns and top control. If not, we may be looking at a new UFC welterweight champion.




3) Carlos Condit (28-7)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: April 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Johny Hendricks - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Georges St. Pierre - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Nick Diaz - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Dong Hyun Kim - Win via KO (flying knee) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber - July 2, 2011

- vs. Dan Hardy - Win via KO (punches) - UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama - October 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: There's a reason Carlos Condit is on many people's lists for their favorite fighters. He is almost always fighting to win and rarely, if ever, involved in a boring fight. Unfortunately, like many, his wrestling defense is a significant weakness and it cost him Saturday night. He acknowledged it in the post-fight press conference but we'll see how well he can improve in that area at this point in his career.

As for his next opponent, depending on Rory MacDonald's health, he could still be an option. If not, don't be surprised if they look at a rematch with Nick Diaz.




4) Jake Ellenberger (29-6)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: March 28, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Marquardt - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Jay Hieron - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot - October 5, 2012

- vs. Martin Kampmann - Loss via KO (knees) - TUF 15 Finale - June 1, 2012

- vs. Diego Sanchez - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger - February 15, 2012

- vs. Jake Shields - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger - September 17, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Ellenberger was considered a top welterweight last year coming off wins against Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez. He dropped a fight to Martin Kampmann, but he looks to be back near the top of the division after finishing Nate Marquardt Saturday night in Montreal. While Johny Hendricks looks to be set as the next contender, Ellenberger may be one win away from earning his first UFC championship fight .




5) Rory MacDonald (14-1)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: July 22, 1989

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. B.J. Penn - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Che Mills - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

- vs. Mike Pyle - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

- vs. Nate Diaz - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields - April 30, 2011

- vs. Carlos Condit - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin - June 12, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (neck)

Comment: Rory aggravated his neck while in the gym recently and there's no timetable as to when we can expect to see him back in the octagon.




6) Demian Maia (18-4)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: November 6, 1977

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jon Fitch - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Rick Story - Win via submission (neck crank) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Dong Hyun Kim - Win via TKO (injury) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Chris Weidman - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

- vs. Jorge Santiago - Win vía decisión (unanimous) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: One of the reasons the welterweight division looks to stacked right now is because of fighters like Maia. Demian impressed everyone with his performance last month, physically controlling Jon Fitch for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory. It was something we haven't seen with the exception of when GSP dominated Fitch in 2008. Maia has been perfect since dropping to welterweight and his ascent up the ladder continues.




7) Nick Diaz (26-9)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: August 2, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Georges St-Pierre - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz - March 16, 2013

- vs. Carlos Condit - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. B.J. Penn - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz - October 29, 2011

- vs. Paul Daley - Win via TKO (punches) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley - April 9, 2011

- vs. Evangelista Santos - Win via submission (armbar) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg - January 29, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. IRS - TBA

Comment: Where to begin? Diaz had a terrible opening two rounds against GSP, routinely put on his back. Then, he was able to have some success keeping the fight standing but even then, aside from marking up the champion's face, he didn't land any significant strikes. There were two instances where he tried to slap/hit/punch Georges after the bell ended a round and even though referee Yves Lavigne was in his right to deduct a point, he warned him after the second offense and threatened to disqualify him if the behavior persisted. Still, after the fight, both men were respectful of one another…momentarily.

At the press conference later Saturday night, Diaz went on another diatribe talking about everything from not being happy with his training to wanting a rematch with GSP to the fact (according to him) he has never paid income taxes to wanting a match with Anderson Silva.

Imagine that, Silva getting to brawl with Diaz. How long do you think that fight would last?




8) Martin Kampmann (20-6)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: April 17, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Johny Hendricks - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Jake Ellenberger - Win via KO (knees) - TUF 15 Finale - June 1, 2012

- vs. Thiago Alves - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann - March 3, 2012

- vs. Rick Story - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Diego Sanchez - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann - March 3, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





9) Ben Askren (11-0)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: July 18, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Karl Amoussou - Win via TKO (doctor stoppage) - Bellator 86 - January 24, 2013

- vs. Douglas Lima - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 64 - April 7, 2012

- vs. Jay Hieron - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 56 - October 29, 2011

- vs. Nick Thompson - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 40 - April 9, 2011

- vs. Lyman Good - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 33 - October 21, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Andrey Koreshkov - Bellator - TBA

Comment: After being on the receiving end of trash talk which disparaged his fighting ability, Askren pounded on Karl Amoussou so bad, the ringside doctor called an end to the fight after three rounds. Up next for the Bellator champion is a title defense against Russia's Andrey Koreshkov who ran through Jordan Smith, Marius Zaromskis and Lyman Good last year to earn the spot.




10) Jon Fitch (24-5-1)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: February 24, 1978

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Demian Maia - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Erick Silva - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar - October 13, 2012

- vs. Johny Hendricks - Loss via KO (punches) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. B.J. Penn - DRAW - UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch - February 27, 2011

- vs. Thiago Alves - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen - August 7, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: After losing to Demian Maia last month, the UFC decided to cut him under the belief that his base salary (about $60,000) was not efficient for a fighter on the downside of his career (Dana White's words). Since then, he has signed with the World Series of Fighting and is expected to debut in June against either Aaron Simpson or Josh Burkman, whomever wins their fight on Saturday night (NBC Sports Network).




11) Tarec "Sponge" Saffiedine (14-3)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 6, 1986

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Marquardt - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine - January 12, 2013

- vs. Roger Bowling - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - August 18, 2012

- vs. Tyler Stinson - Win via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine - January 7, 2012

- vs. Scott Smith - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30, 2011

- vs. Tyron Woodley - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine - January 7, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Tarec has the distinction and honor of winning the very last fight in Strikeforce history (much as Anthony Pettis has for WEC and Jeff Monson with Pride). He tortured Nate Marquardt's legs for five rounds with some of the most brutal leg kicks I've seen in a long time. It was so bad that by the fifth round, Marquardt could barely walk properly. The final Strikeforce welterweight champion has no debut fight with the UFC scheduled just yet but Martin Kampmann is one man who has already called him out.




12) Dong Hyun "Stun Gun" Kim (17-2-1, 1 NC)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: November 17, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Siyar Bahadurzada - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC in Japan: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Paulo Thiago - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC in China: Franklin vs. Le - November 10, 2012

- vs. Demian Maia - Loss via TKO (injury) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Sean Pierson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem - December 30, 2011

- vs. Carlos Condit - Loss via KO (knee) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber - July 2, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





13) "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (20-9, 1 NC)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: March 20, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Josh Koscheck - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- vs. Lorenz Larkin - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy - July 14, 2012

- vs. Adlan Amagov - Win via TKO (flying knee and punches) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine - January 7, 2012

- vs. Tim Kennedy - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30, 2011

- vs. Jacare Souza - Loss via submission (rear nakaed choke) - Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg - January 29, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Lawler dropped back to welterweight for his return to the UFC and so far, so good. He finished Josh Koscheck even though some believed the stoppage to be too early, something only two men have done in the past (Paulo Thiago and Drew Ficket). Plus, Lawler signed a new multifight deal with the promotion.




14) Tyron Woodley (11-1)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: April 17, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jay Hieron - Win via KO (punches) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Nate Marquardt - Loss via KO (elbows & punches) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy - July 14, 2012

- vs. Jordan Mein - Win via decision (split) - Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine - January 7, 2012

- vs. Paul Daley - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strkeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson - July 30, 2011

- vs. Tarec Saffiedine - Win via decision (unanimous) - Strikeforce Challengers: Woodley vs. Saffiedine - January 7, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jake Shields - UFC 161: Barao vs. Wineland - June 15, 2013





15) Josh Koscheck (17-7)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: November 30, 1977

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Robbie Lawler - Loss via TKO (strikes) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- vs. Johny Hendricks - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller - May 5, 2012

- vs. Mike Pierce - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Matt Hughes - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

- vs. Georges St. Pierre - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 - December 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: At 35-years-old, Koscheck is on the first losing streak of his career. At this stage, he definitely appears to be more of a gatekeeper than anything remotely close to a title contender. For up-and-coming guys, he'll be a potential name to build their resume off. But, you have to wonder what his job security is like since he earned a base salary of $78,000 for the UFC 157 loss. Remember what happened to his buddy Jon Fitch when he was no longer considered a top contender.




Final Notes: Nate Marquardt, Thiago Alves, Erick Silva and Matt Brown received additional votes.







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