The welterweight division doesn’t have gatekeepers so much as they have veteran fighters still fighting for a paycheck—guys who aren’t looking to climb the ladder or prevent the best up-and-comers from climbing it themselves. All that is left for them are marketable matches, at the moment mostly with each other.
Matt Hughes (16-5) has nothing left to prove inside the octagon and if he retired today he would be a lock for the UFC hall of fame. If it weren’t for the two beat downs he took from St-Pierre, he would be considered the best welterweight of all time without any debate.
Given that Hughes can no longer compete with guys like St-Pierre or Thiago Alves but doesn’t want to play gatekeeper to a younger generation, nor retire, he is left to take “interesting” fights.
The first appears to be a battle with an incoming Renzo Gracie at UFC 112. Can Hughes make it 2-0 against the Gracie family?
Matt Serra (6-6) secured his place in UFC lore when he took the title away from George St-Pierre at UFC 69 to record one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. He quickly gave the belt back at UFC 83, but for a brief moment in time Serra was on top of the world.
Serra would likely be more competitive at 155, a division he once fought BJ Penn at, but this Italian’s love affair with pasta keeps him at a weight where he can no longer remain viable at.
Coming off his decision loss to top dog on the senior circuit, Hughes, Serra will take on Frank Trigg at UFC 109 in a fight that we can all just sit back and enjoy for what it is.
Frank Trigg (2-4) always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Trigg will best be remembered for his two fights against Matt Hughes, where he chocked—literally. He also fought St-Pierre at UFC 54, chocking again.
Despite never being a champion, Trigg has the lively type of personality that keeps him around, if barely. Trigg was scheduled to be axed by Dana White after his loss to Koscheck at UFC 93, but fans wanted him to get one more chance.
That chance will come in the form of a fight with fellow senior circuit member Matt Serra at UFC 109.
Marcus Davis (8-4) went from a top 10 welterweight to gatekeeper to senior circuit in notable fashion. He let Dan Hardy get in his head for their UFC 99 fight, dropping a contested split decision. He followed it up by letting Ben Saunders nearly knee his head off.
It was rumored that Marcus Davis would be taking on another senior circuit colleague in Phil Baroni but “The New York Badass” has since decided to revaluate his career, leaving Davis without opponent for now.
Chris Lytle (6-9) may have the worst octagon record for a fighter still garnering some limelight. Most fighters would have been cut long ago, but Lytle is a likable fighter that puts on entertaining fights, and is willing to fight anyone at anytime.
Lytle will serve as “gatekeeper” to upstart Brian Foster at UFC 110. Win or lose, look for Lytle to be back in action, possibly against Serra, Trigg, a rematch with Marcus Davis, or anyone else the UFC needs him to fight.