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411 MMA Rankings 01.21.14: Welterweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 01.21.2014





The last time we checked in on the welterweight division, is was Thanksgiving week and my, how things have changed since.

Welcome to the latest edition of the 411 MMA Rankings as we examine the 170-pound weight class and a very different welterweight group stares us in the face this week.

Three of the top fighters are on versions of self-imposed sabbaticals. The greatest welterweight of all-time, Georges St. Pierre is enjoying life away from fight training. He has even taken up the cause of improving MMA drug testing as he publicly rails against UFC brass for not doing as much as he believes they should. Vacating his championship in the process, there's absolutely no timetable to expect his return and most debate centers around whether we'll even see him ever return again.

A similar issue revolves around Nick Diaz. Stockton, California's famous fighting son has not been in the octagon in over 10 months and shows no signs that that will change anytime soon. He has turned down fights (most recently, a proposal to fight Carlos Condit) and is pursuing other interests. Meanwhile, we have heard Joe Riggs and Roy Jones Jr. each state their interest in boxing Diaz, so that should give you a sense of the cloud of confusion on that front. For all intents and purposes, Diaz is "retired" until he decides to get another big payday.

Elsewhere, Martin Kampmann recently announced his decision to take a prolonged absence from the sport, too. He cited the grind of fighting often (four times in about 17 months) and the long training camps necessary for each bout. Plus, he has expressed concern with concussions and a desire to pursue other business ventures as well.

So, these three fighters are out of the mix in the rankings below. What does this mean? FRESH OPPORTUNITIES!

That's what the tagline for UFC 171 should be, too. Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields, Hector Lombard and other welterweights before and after March are all in prime position to see their stock rise rapidly.

The anti-Ben Askren, you may say. The former Bellator champion is waiting to find out who he will fight first under the One FC banner in Asia and he publicly talks about knowing there are no other "top" fighters besides himself. Why he is not a UFC fighter has less to do with Ben Askren's abilities or style and more to do with money. It certainly sucks, but business is a fickle bitch.

Ironically, the only welterweight champion in "major" MMA is Steve Carl, the reigning World Series of Fighting champ. The UFC will wait until March to see their next top dog crowned. Bellator will also wait until a yet to be announced time to find out who will succeed Ben Askren as their champion. If you want to stretch it out further, One FC will crown their guy in March (more on that below), too. What the hell happened to 170?





Rankings From One Year Ago
11.13.12


1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Carlos Condit

3. Martin Kampmann

4. Johny Hendricks

5. Jake Ellenberger

6. Jon Fitch

7. Josh Koscheck

8. Nate Marquardt

9. Demian Maia

10. Rory MacDonald

11. Ben Askren

12. Siyar Bahadurzada

13. Dong Hyun Kim

14. Erick Silva

15. Karl Amoussou






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.



411's Official MMA Rankings


Welterweight Division




1) Johny Hendricks (15-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: September 12, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Georges St. Pierre - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Robbie Lawler - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014

Comment: With the former champion now out of the picture, the class of the welterweight division is Johny Hendricks. Sure, it may not be how an athlete wishes to become #1 in their sport, but circumstances are forced upon you sometimes. He'll have his opportunity to prove he's deserving in March in Dallas when he fights Robbie Lawler for the vacant UFC championship, in a match-up he's favored to win.




2) Carlos Condit (29-7)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: April 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Martin Kampmann - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann 2 - August 28, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Tyron Woodley - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014

Comment: Due to Matt Brown's injury, Condit lost out on a chance to fight last month. He's now signed to fight wrestler Tyron Woodley in March, where he'll look to cement his status as the next top championship contender. It would be tough to argue otherwise, with a win, that Carlos should not receive a fight with the Hendricks/Lawler winner later in 2014. Plus, it's safe to say the majority of folks believe "The Natural Born Killer" is a better overall MMA fighter than Woodley is. Frankly, there's no reason to believe otherwise at the moment.




3) "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (22-9, 1 NC)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: March 20, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Rory MacDonald - Win via decision (split) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Bobby Voelker - Win via KO (head kick) - UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga - July 27, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Johny Hendricks - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014

Comment: Wow! If anyone suggested at the start of 2013 that within a year, Robbie Lawler would be booked to fight for the UFC welterweight championship, they would have been scorched as a blowhard. Yet, here we are and yes, "Ruthless" is going to compete to become the top 170-pounder in the world in two months.




4) Jake Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: January 9, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Demian Maia - Win via decision (split) - UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields - October 9, 2013

- vs. Tyron Woodley - Win via decision (split) - UFC 161 - June 15, 2013

- vs. Ed Herman - No Contest (win overturned due to drug test failure) - UFC 150 - August 11, 2012

- vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Hector Lombard - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014

Comment: UFC 171 in Texas is slated to be a huge welterweight show (not quite like the all-heavyweight PPV a few years back), but some important match-ups will take center stage. Joining Hendricks/Lawler and Condit/Woodley is a bout between grappling ace Jake Shields and Hector Lombard. On the surface, it's a tough matchup for Shields because while Lombard holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he's famous for his knockout power. However, Shields has resurfaced over the past years as one of the top contenders at welterweight with wins over Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. A win over Lombard puts him in the discussion with the names above him on this list, without a doubt.



5) Rory MacDonald (15-2)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: July 22, 1989

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Robbie Lawler - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Jake Ellenberger - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga - July 27, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Demian Maia - UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann - February 22, 2014

Comment: Now, with his buddy Georges St. Pierre out of the picture, there's nothing stopping Rory MacDonald from chasing the UFC championship. But, he'll have to string together another winning streak to get there. The lackluster performance against Lawler in November threw a wrench in those plans and now, he'll have to start over when he fights Demian Maia in four weeks.




6) Demian Maia (18-5)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: November 6, 1977

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jake Shields - Loss via decision (split) - UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields - October 9, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rory MacDonald - UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann - February 22, 2014

Comment: Like MacDonald, Maia was a budding title contender before suffering a loss in the fall. Now, only one of them will get back on the horse while the other is saddled with a losing streak.




7) Ben Askren (12-0)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: July 18, 1984

Currently Fighting With: One FC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Andrey Koreshkov - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 97 - July 31, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: We're waiting to find out when Askren will officially debut for One Fighting Championship in Singapore and while we expect him to jump right into a title fight, that doesn't help us in determining who his opponent may be (the inaugural champ will be decided on March 14 when Brock Larson fights Nobutatsu Suzuki). Stay tuned.




8) Matt "The Immortal" Brown (18-11)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: January 10, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Mike Pyle - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen - August 17, 2013

- vs. Jordan Mein - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2013

- vs. Mike Swick - Win via KO (punches) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Luis Ramos - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. Stephen Thompson - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (back)

Comment: Although Matt Brown has been in the news more so of late due to his distain for women's MMA, the reason for that is he's not fighting. A back injury cost him a fight with Carlos Condit last month and while he has avoided surgery, he's not expecting to be back in the octagon until May or June.




9) Dong Hyun "Stun Gun" Kim (18-2-1, 1 NC)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: November 17, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Erick Silva - Win via KO (punch) - UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields - October 9, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. John Hathaway - UFC TUF: China Finale - March 1, 2014

Comment: Stun Gun will put his three-fight win streak up against Hathaway and the Brit's own three-fight win streak in the main event of the upcoming TUF: China Finale in March.




10) Jake Ellenberger (29-7)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: March 28, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Rory MacDonald - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga - July 27, 2013

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured (hamstring)





11) Douglas Lima (25-5)


Height: 6'1

Birthday: January 5, 1988

Currently Fighting With: Bellator MMA

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ben Saunders - Win via KO (head kick) - Bellator 100 - September 20, 2013

- vs. Bryan Baker - Win via KO (punch) - Bellator 90 - February 21, 2013

- vs. Michail Tsarev - Win via TKO (leg kicks) - Bellator 86 - January 24, 2013

- vs. Jacob Ortiz - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 79 - November 2, 2012

- vs. Ben Askren - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 64 - April 6, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Rick Hawn - Bellator - 2014

Comment: Lima, Bellator's season 8 tournament winner will meet season 9 tourney winner Rick Hawn to decide the new welterweight champion. Douglas has been a machine since his loss to Ben Askren just short of two years ago, winning four consecutive bouts by KO or TKO.




12) Tarec "Sponge" Saffiedine (15-3)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: September 6, 1986

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Hyun Gyu Lim - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim - January 4, 2014

- 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

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: FINALLY~! Tarec made his UFC debut earlier this month and looked great in his five-round win over Hyun Gyu Lim. $50,000 richer thanks to a Fight of the Night bonus, here's hoping "Sponge" can stay active throughout the year.




13) Hector Lombard (334-1)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: February 2, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nate Marquardt - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 166: Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 - October 19, 2013

- vs Yushin Okami - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on Fuel TV 8: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Rousimar Palhares - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson - December 14, 2012

- vs. Tim Boetsch - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Trevor Prangley - Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 58 - November 19, 2011

- vs. Jesse Taylor - Win via submission (heel hook) - Australian Fighting Championship 2 - September 3, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Jake Shields - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014

Comment: After a shaky run at his native weight at 185-pounds in the UFC, Hector cut down to 170-pounds and started off with a bang in October. He knocked out Nate Marquardt in under two minutes and will now see top-5 ranked Jake Shields in Texas in March. Built like a brick house, Lombard should be the betting favorite against Shields who will almost assuredly be looking to attack exclusively with takedowns and ground control.



14) Tyron Woodley (12-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: April 17, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Josh Koscheck - Win via KO (punches) - UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks - November 16, 2013

- vs. Jake Shields - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 161 - June 15, 2013

- 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. Carlos Condit - UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - March 15, 2014




15) Steve Carl (21-3)


Height: 6'0

Birthday: December 20, 1984

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Josh Burkman - Win via technical submission (triangle choke) - WSOF 6 - October 26, 2013

- vs. Tyson Steele - WIn via submission (rear naked choke) - WSOF 3 - June 14, 2013

- vs. Ramico Blackmon - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - WSOF 1 - November 3, 2012

- vs. Andrew Trace - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Madtown Throwdown 28 - August 11, 2012

- vs. Vic Hall - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Extreme Challenge 216 - July 28, 2012

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: There is no update as to when we may see Carl defend the WSOF title against Jon Fitch, although that does appear to be the route the organization will go.



Final Notes: Rick Hawn, Rick Story, Josh Burkman and Mike Pyle received additional votes.





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