B/R Official Rankings for June: The Top 10 Welterweights in MMA
The welterweight division is a dichotomy.
On one hand, it is one of the most stable divisions in MMA, led by UFC champion and MMA megastar Georges "Rush" St-Pierre.
Conversely, the division is in a state of turmoil.
Outside of GSP and UFC interim champion Carlos Condit, arguments can be made supporting a range of fighters' worthiness for a title shot, and that creates problems for matchmakers and fans alike.
In the midst of this chaos, let's take a look at the current welterweight division and see if we can establish order among the madness.
These rankings are the combined efforts 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: Ben Askren
Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Douglas Lima at Bellator 64.
Next Fight: Will face winner of Bryan Baker vs. Karl Amoussou at a date to be determined.
Previous Ranking: No. 9
Wrestlers tend to win fights in MMA, and Ben Askren is perhaps the best wrestler in the sport's welterweight division.
While he possesses an impressive unbeaten record, Askren's fights have been...umm...lackluster, to say the least.
Despite his talents and incredible wrestling pedigree, Askren will not crack the top five of his division until he starts finishing fights and proving that he can do more than just blanket opponents.
That said, going 10-0 in an unpredictable sport like MMA is an achievement worth noting, and for that he kicks off our list at No. 10.
9: Diego Sanchez
Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger.
Next Fight: N/A
Previous Ranking: No. 10
If you need any indication to how awesome Diego Sanchez is, just check out this slide.
His most recent fight was a loss, but he still moved up a spot on the congested welterweight ladder. That, my friends, says something about "The Dream's" heart, determination and effort inside the Octagon.
Never out until he's unconscious, Sanchez is one of the toughest dudes in all of MMA and, even in defeat, he is always impressive and fun to watch.
While he has noted a move back to lightweight may be in his near future, Sanchez stays at No. 9 on our list thanks to his well-rounded skill-set and relentless attitude.
Can a man get a...YES!
8. Rory MacDonald
Most recent fight: TKO victory over Che Mills at UFC 145.
Next fight: N/A
Previous ranking: No. 6
Rory MacDonald left MMA fans thirsting for more after devouring Che Mills in April at UFC 145, but at the moment we do not know what is next for the young phenom.
His inactivity has caused him to slide slightly down the rankings, but an impressive victory in his next outing will put him right back into the top-5 status we all expect him to achieve.
7. Jon Fitch
Most recent fight: TKO loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 141.
Next fight: N/A (pulled out of UFC on Fuel TV 4 bout against Aaron Simpson due to injury)
Previous ranking: No. 7
Jon Fitch is a top-10 stalwart, and he can thank his dominating wrestling base for that distinction.
Despite being, in this writer's eyes, one of the most boring fighters under the UFC banner, Fitch's skills cannot be denied, and he has amassed one of the most impressive resumes of any welterweight fighter in the world.
A wet blanket he may be, but darn it if he isn't the best wet blanket in town.
6. Jake Ellenberger
Most recent fight: TKO loss to Martin Kampmann at TUF 15 finale.
Next fight: N/A
Previous ranking: No. 3
Ellenberger's recent loss to Martin Kampmann cost him three spots in the welterweight division, and, as competitive and crowded as the division is, the defeat really put "The Juggernaut's" future in jeopardy.
He has proven that he can hit hard and wrestle with the best of them, but until he finds some consistency amid his mile-high potential, we may never see him challenge for the title.
Once at the cusp of a title shot, Ellenberger will now have to swim through the shark tank that is the UFC's welterweight division (again) if he wants to capture gold.
5. Josh Koscheck
Most recent fight: Split decision loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC on FOX 3.
Next fight: N/A
Previous ranking: No. 5
Another month, another spot at No. 5 for "Kos."
With incredible wrestling and a dynamite right hand, Koscheck has become a fixture at the top of the UFC's welterweight division and always shows up ready to throw down on fight night.
I am not sure if the judges made the right call in his most recent split-decision loss to Johny Hendricks, but it was certainly close enough to talk about, and for that, Koscheck has only himself to blame for not finishing the fight or coming out in a more dominating fashion.
"Kos" has mentioned that he wants big names and big money in the future, so look for him to be a part of marquee matchups with no title implications to round out his impressive career inside the Octagon.
4. Martin Kampmann
Most recent fight: TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger at TUF 15 finale.
Next fight: N/A
Previous ranking: No. 8
If Diego Sanchez is the No. 1 toughest fighter in the welterweight division, Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann has to be No. 1-b.
Lesser men would have been down and out after the barrage Ellenberger laid on him in Round 1 of their TUF 15 finale matchup, but Kampmann survived and returned the favor in Round 2, earning a stellar comeback victory (which I predicted, just sayin').
Riding a three-fight winning streak with two incredibly impressive finishes, Kampmann finds himself on the brink of a title shot. Add in that he is the lone blemish on interim champ Carlos Condit's UFC resume, and it is clear that "The Hitman" is ready to strike gold in the 170-pound division.
3. Johny Hendricks
Most recent fight: Split decision victory over Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3.
Next fight: N/A
Previous ranking: No. 4
Johny Hendricks and his amazing beard are rapidly heading toward title contention in the UFC's welterweight division.
With one of the best wrestling pedigrees in MMA and the type of power that can end fights with one swift swing, Hendricks is a tall task for anybody in the weight class.
Coming off a controversial split-decision victory over Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3, Hendricks' future likely holds a bout with either Martin Kampmann or the GSP-Condit winner.
Whichever way the winds may blow, Hendricks has officially arrived, and he has earned a spot as a top-3 welterweight fighter on our list.
2. Carlos Condit
Most recent fight: Unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 143
Next fight: Georges St-Pierre (date to be determined)
Previous ranking: No. 2
Interim champion Carlos Condit is one of the main causes of the logjam in the UFC's welterweight division.
Fight fans and matchmakers want to see Condit defend his title while waiting for GSP to recover from knee injury. But Condit and his camp seem content to wait on the sidelines until they get a shot at the king.
It's hard to blame him for that, but this sport is built on fighting, not waiting. If he is truly the best in the world, a warmup bout to hold serve should be no problem.
I love Condit's fighting style and the weapons he brings to the Octagon, but he needs to understand the paralysis of the division and step up to face Hendricks or Kampmann while GSP fully recovers from his injury.
If this wish doesn't come to fruition, though, a matchup with GSP figures to be next on "The Natural Born Killer's" plate.
1. Georges St-Pierre
Most recent fight: Unanimous decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129.
Next fight: Interim champion Carlos Condit (date to be determined)
Previous ranking: No. 1
Who else could it be?
Georges St-Pierre has owned the welterweight division since recapturing his title in December 2007, and his vast skill-set and dedication to the sport will allow him to maintain control for quite some time.
One big question mark with "Rush," however, is how he will come back from injury. Will he be the same explosive and dominant fighter we've seen in the past, or will he be a shell of his former self?
Time will tell, and a likely matchup with interim champion Carlos Condit will look to answer this question in what could be his toughest title defense to date.
GSP is still the king, but the wolves are circling. With guys like Kampmann, Hendricks and MacDonald coming on strong, we may see a changing of the guard in the near future in the welterweight division.