This is part four of a five part series examining each of the most common weight classes including lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. See how your favorite fighters will rank and offer your own opinions. Let the debate begin.
Welterweight Rankings – 170 lbs.
1) Georges St. Pierre (UFC) – (15 – 2) MMA Record, Interim UFC Welterweight Champion, Former UFC Welterweight Champion
St. Pierre is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters currently in all of MMA. He has set out to avenge his fluke loss to Matt Serra and he will have his home crowd in Montreal, Quebec, Canada behind him on April 19 for the fight.
St. Pierre is constantly evolving into an even more dangerous fighter. He already has K-1 talent with his legs and is a very respectable striker with his hands as well.
Over the past few months, St. Pierre has coupled those skills with an improved ground game. His ground game is now a huge part of his style.
He has largely out-wrestled two of the best wrestlers in all of MMA over his last two fights in Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck, leading the MMA world scratching its head trying to find a weakness.
Expect St. Pierre to beat Serra via knockout in April and to subsequently knockout Jon Fitch in the near future, as well. The sky is the limit for this extremely talented fighter.
Fitch is currently the No. 1 contender at this weight class in the UFC and should get the winner of the Serra/St. Pierre fight. Fitch’s only two losses were at the light heavyweight level, and he has not lost since 2003.
He is on a 15-match winning streak, and has earned the right to get a title shot. His 15 straight victories are over a host of talented fighters including Diego Sanchez, Chris Wilson, Thiago Alves, and Josh Burkman.
Fitch has paid his dues over the last five years and deserves more respect for what he has accomplished up to this point.
3) Josh Koscheck (UFC) – (10 – 2)
In the UFC, Koscheck is essentially the fighter that everyone loves to hate. I can’t explain it. It could be his ridiculous bleach blond, curly hair or his cocky attitude. Who knows ?
What I do know is that he is a talented, well-rounded, and extremely underrated fighter. He is one of the few fighters on this list that is well above average on his feet and on the ground. His stand up has improved tremendously since the inception of his career and this was evident in his fight against Diego Sanchez.
During his fight with St. Pierre, he was overwhelmed by St. Pierre’s overall strength. St. Pierre was able to control the wrestling as well, which was unexpected, and is considered Koscheck’s greatest strength.
Koscheck may have overtrained with his stand up and taken his wrestling for granted leading up to the fight. I would still take Koscheck over any fighter ranked below.
4) Matt Hughes (UFC) – (41 – 6), Former UFC Welterweight Champion
Hughes is the best UFC Welterweight of all time, but he is showing signs of slowing down. He has expressed interest in fighting Matt Serra in the future if Serra loses his championship fight.
However, he has nothing left to prove in the UFC or to the MMA community. He will go down as one of the greats. I would not be surprised if he hangs it up sometime in the near future.
5) Diego Sanchez (UFC) – (18 – 2)
Sanchez is another fighter, like Koscheck, who I believe is slightly underrated. Both of Sanchez’ losses are extremely respectable coming at the hands of Koscheck and Fitch. He has notable victories over Karo Parisyan, Kenny Florian, and Nick Diaz.
Sanchez is a ground fighter by trade with a background in wrestling and gaidojutsu. Exactly half of his victories have come via submission. He is also only 26 years old and will only improve.
6) Karo Parisyan (UFC) – (18 – 4)
Parisyan, like Sanchez, has extremely respectable losses to Sanchez, Sean Sherk twice, and to St. Pierre. He is a ground specialist like Sanchez and has won nine times via submission. He has beaten the likes of Serra, Nick Diaz, Nick Thompson, and Josh Burkman.
7) Matt Serra (UFC) – (9 – 4), Current UFC Welterweight Champion
Serra orchestrated the greatest upset in UFC history when he defeated St. Pierre via knockout to win the UFC Welterweight Title at UFC 69. That victory was the first in Serra’s career via knockout and his first over a top welterweight.
The bottom line is his victory over St. Pierre was a fluke. This will be proven at UFC 83 where I expect him to lose via knockout to St. Pierre.
I am ranking Serra behind Parisyan because he lost a head-to-head. Sanchez has beaten Parisyan and has a better resume.
Fitch, Koscheck , and Hughes all have more impressive resumes as well. Serra is a good fighter, he’s just not a great fighter and doesn’t belong in the top tier of the welterweight discussion.
8) Jake Shields (Elite XC) – (20 – 4 – 1)
Shields has nine straight victories including wins over Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit. He has not lost since December 2004. Shields’ strength is his ground game and his wrestling and his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt level skills.
On the other hand, he is still raw as a striker. Only three of his 20 victories have come by way of knockout. Shields will be challenging Drew Fickett for the Elite XC Welterweight Championship at the end of March.
9) Marcus Davis (UFC) – (14 – 3)
Davis has rolled off 11 straight victories since 2006. He is a well-rounded fighter with seven wins via submission and five via knockout.
However, arguably his biggest victory is over Shonie Carter. Davis has been largely untested. Expect to see Davis getting tougher opponents on a regular basis in the near future. He can start by defeating Mike Swick at UFC 85 in London, but that is easier said than done
10) Carlos Condit (WEC) – (22 – 4), Current WEC Welterweight Champion
Condit is an extremely talented up-and-coming fighter at the ripe age of 23. He is undefeated in his four WEC fights and has an impressive submission victory over Frank Trigg on his resume from 2006. He is an extremely well-rounded fighter and can only improve with age.
Condit believes he belongs in the upper echelon of welterweight fighters in the world. He recently expressed interest in unifying the UFC and WEC welterweight belts in order to fight the best crop of welterweights in the world. It’s safe to say he’s not lacking any confidence at this point in his young career.
- B.J. Penn moving up to welterweight to challenge Georges St. Pierre to a rematch would be a great fight.
- Anderson Silva moving down from middleweight to challenge St. Pierre could be the best fight ever put on by the UFC.
- There are no pictures of any of the fighters ranked above to choose from. Frank Trigg is the only skilled welterweight fighter in the archive and so he is pictured above.