B/R MMA Official Rankings for February: Top 10 Welterweights in MMA

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IFebruary 7, 2012

B/R MMA Official Rankings for February: Top 10 Welterweights in MMA

0 of 10

    UFC 143 came to a close this weekend, and just like that, the welterweight rankings had lost one of its premier competitors.

    While most fans and analysts alike feel that Nick Diaz will eventually return to create some havoc on the rest of the welterweight division, due to his announced retirement, we have no choice but to eliminate him from this month’s rankings.

    Now that the dust has settled on one of the most important welterweight fights in recent memory, it’s time to take a look and see where top level athletes settle in, and more importantly, it’s time to see whether Georges St-Pierre was able to hold off Carlos Condit and retain his spot atop the division.

    These rankings are the combined effort of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try to provide you with the best content on the web.

10. Martin Kampmann

1 of 10

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 18-5

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Rick Story at UFC 139

    Next Scheduled Fight: Thiago Alves at UFC on FX 2

    More than any other fighter, Martin Kampmann is the poster boy for Dana White’s “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” speech.

    Kampmann just recently got back on the winning track in November, where he won a tough fight against Rick Story, but prior to that bout, Kampmann lost some very controversial decisions to Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields.

    As he was unable to score the big win in those fights, Kampmann is still looking for that big name to put on his resume, and he may get it if he can take out Thiago Alves in early March.

9. Diego Sanchez

2 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 23-4

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 3

    Next Scheduled Fight: Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FUEL TV 1

    Now known as “The Dream,” Diego Sanchez is still a nightmare opponent for most fighters at 170 pounds.

    His willingness to keep coming forward despite taking a beating and his non stop motor make him a fan favorite and a formidable opponent for anyone in the division, and his decision win over Martin Kampmann last March was one of the greatest displays of heart ever seen inside the cage, regardless of what most fans think of the outcome.

    Sanchez will get a chance to knock off a top contender and possibly put himself in the mix for a title shot if he can defeat Jake Ellenberger on Feb. 15.

8. Jon Fitch

3 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Promotion: UFC 

    MMA Record: 23-4-1

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Johny Hendricks at UFC 141

    Next Scheduled Fight: N/A

    2011 was the first year since 2004 that Jon Fitch failed to record a victory inside the Octagon, as a draw with BJ Penn in February and a knockout loss to Johny Hendricks in December surrounded an injury-filled year.

    Other than the loss to Hendricks, Fitch has been one of the most successful fighters in UFC history, as he currently holds a 13-2-1 record in the promotion.

    Fitch has long been considered one of the best fighters the UFC has to offer, and despite a rough year, he is still considered among the 170-pound elite.

7. Jake Shields

4 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 26-6-1

    Most Recent Fight: Lost to Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25

    Next Scheduled Fight: Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144

    Much like Fitch, Jake Shields began 2011 as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the sport, riding a wave of momentum and a six-year win streak into a bout with GSP for the welterweight title.

    However, like pretty much everyone else before him, Shields was unable to stop the cyborg that is GSP, and he ended up on the wrong side of a decision.

    A few months later, Shields headlined UFC Fight Night 25 against Jake Ellenberger, and in less than 60 seconds found himself on a two-fight losing streak, as Ellenberger came out looking to make a statement and did so at Shields’ expense.

6. Rory MacDonald

5 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 12-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Mike Pyle at UFC 133

    Next Scheduled Fight: Che Mills at UFC 145

    Most would call him the best young prospect in the sport, and Rory MacDonald has done everything asked of him to earn that title.

    After looking impressive in his UFC debut, MacDonald was matched up against Carlos Condit at UFC 115, and for the better part of the fight, MacDonald looked like he would pull off the upset.

    However, Condit showed the grit that would eventually lead to him becoming champion, as he scored a come-from-behind TKO victory in the closing seconds of the fight.

    After the setback against Condit, MacDonald has looked better than ever, winning two straight bouts against Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle. He is looking to become a contender in 2012.

5. Johny Hendricks

6 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 12-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Jon Fitch at UFC 141

    Next Scheduled Fight: N/A

    Johny Hendricks played Matt Serra to Jon Fitch’s Georges St-Pierre back at UFC 141, as Hendricks “shocked the world” by smashing Fitch’s face with a beautiful left hand.

    The knockout victory instantly made Hendricks a contender in the insanely competitive welterweight division, and now it seems like the bearded warrior is setting his sights on the top of the division and an eventual shot at the belt.

    After becoming the first man in the Octagon to finish Fitch, and the only fighter other than GSP to even defeat the AKA veteran, Hendricks now finds himself incredibly close to realizing his dreams.

4. Josh Koscheck

7 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 17-5

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Mike Pierce at UFC 143

    Next Scheduled Fight: N/A

    It wasn’t the prettiest performance of his career, but Josh Koscheck got just enough done to squeak by Mike Pierce at UFC 143 and in turn, held his spot in the top five.

    Koscheck is without a doubt the most well known of all the competitors looking to get a crack at Carlos Condit while GSP is stuck waiting on the sidelines, and he may have gotten that opportunity if he had been able to finish the durable Pierce.

    Now Koscheck is likely another win away from getting his second chance at UFC gold, and by that time, a familiar foe in St-Pierre might already be back and waiting for him.

3. Jake Ellenberger

8 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 26-5

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 25

    Next Scheduled Fight: Diego Sanchez at UFC on FUEL TV 1

    Suddenly, the only loss of Jake Ellenberger’s UFC career came at the hands of the champion.

    Ellenberger’s performance against Carlos Condit in his UFC debut back in 2009 was impressive to say the least, but the judges weren’t on his side that night and he ended up having to work his way into title contention the hard way.

    Now five wins later, Ellenberger is sitting in a fantastic position in the welterweight rankings, and if he is able to get past Diego Sanchez in his hometown of Omaha, Neb., in a little over a week, he has a good chance at getting a rematch against Condit with much more on the line.

2. Carlos Condit

9 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 28-5

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Nick Diaz at UFC 143

    Next Scheduled Fight: N/A

    Ladies and Gentlemen: Your NEW UFC interim welterweight champion!

    It’s wasn’t the brawl that we were hoping for, but Carlos Condit came in with the perfect game plan to counter Nick Diaz’s hyper-aggressive attack, and he used it to perfection and earned himself a decision victory.

    Now that he is finally in possession of UFC gold, it will be interesting to see if Condit is willing to risk a fight with GSP (and a big pay day) in order to stay active, as there are plenty of challengers at 170 itching for a title opportunity.

1. Georges St-Pierre

10 of 10

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Promotion: UFC

    MMA Record: 22-2

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129

    Next Scheduled Fight: N/A

    Let's be honest, you didn’t really believe anyone else would be ranked here did you?

    GSP has been arguably the most dominant fighter in the UFC over the last few year, dispatching everyone put in front of him with relative ease and holding on to the welterweight title for almost five years running.

    While his recent injury has made him almost an afterthought in the minds of fans, the B/R voters still believe he is the top welterweight in the world and awarded him with the top spot in the rankings.

    Hopefully when he returns in late 2012, he will be able to take on whoever is the interim champion and try to become the outright champion once again.