B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 20 Welterweights in Mixed Martial Arts

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B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 20 Welterweights in Mixed Martial Arts
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

For the first time in years, the welterweight division is wide open. After almost a decade on top, Georges St-Pierre has finally relinquished his death grip on the weight class, leaving the sport and his championship belt in the wake of injury and discontent. 

While we'll miss one of the sport's all-time greats, his departure allows a new crop of fighters to contend for UFC gold. Before his body betrayed him and his interest waned, St-Pierre was like MMA's David, the perfect prototype of what a professional fighter should be. 

He was spectacular standing and tactically brilliant, with the best wrestling in the sport's short history and a bevy of slick submissions. His heirs, the men who are now contending for the top spot, lack his polish. They might equal or exceed him in certain areas, but no one is the total package the way the Canadian star was. 

It's those flaws that make things so interesting. When St-Pierre was at his best, the result of a title fight was a foregone conclusion. Today you can see the title being passed around like a hot potato. Right now it's in Johny Hendricks' hands—but there are several guys who are more than capable of taking it away.

Whether that resonates with the fans remains to be seen. The transcendent St-Pierre was MMA's best box-office attraction. The promise of compelling fights between lesser lights has, thus far, not proven up to the challenge economically. The first pay-per-view championship fight between his successors—UFC 171's showdown between Hendricks and veteran journeyman Robbie Lawlerwas a bust with the fans.

Keep in mind that this list is not a ranking based on past performance. Instead, these ratings are a snapshot of where these athletes stand right now compared to their welterweight peers. We've scored each fighter on a 100-point scale based on their abilities in four key categories integral to MMA success. In the result of a tie, our team decided subjectively where to place a fighter in the rankings. You can read more about how the ratings are determined here

Disagree with our order or analysis? Let us know about it in the comments.

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