Ranking the Entire UFC Welterweight Division

Kevin HessAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2011

Ranking the Entire UFC Welterweight Division

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    The fourth installment of ranking the UFC divisional roster has found its way to one of Zuffa's most entertaining divisions.

    The Welterweight division is the UFC's largest division, boasting an amazing 59 fighters on its roster.

    The division is host to some of the best pound-for-pound fighters and has a great mixture of up-and-comers and veterans, making the Welterweight division one of the most exciting divisions in all of mixed martial arts.

    The same rules apply from the prior articles. I hope you enjoy.

    For rankings of the other divisions, click the corresponding links below.

    Middleweight

     

    Light Heavyweight

     

    Heavyweight

59: Keith Wosniewski

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     Keith Wisniewski (28-12) is getting a second opportunity inside of the UFC.

    Wisniewski's best win came against Jorge Santiago in 2003, but he has struggled against almost every level of competition during his career. He can thank a six-fight win streak over three years for why he's back in the UFC.

    Wisniewski will probably be remembered mostly for being the guy that had his arm broken by Shinya Aoki.

58: Che Mills

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    Che Mills (13-4) is getting his first chance to be involved under the UFC banner.

    Mills will find himself pitted against Chris Cope and like many other new fighters, he'll want to make a statement because his first fight could be his last with Zuffa.

57: Chris Cope

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    Chris Cope (5-1) was a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter that featured Lesnar and Dos Santos.

    Though Cope didn't win the show, he was kept on the roster and scored his first UFC win on the show's finale.

    Cope could find himself on thin ice if he fails to pull off a victory against Che Mills in his next fight.  

56: John Maguire

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    John Maguire (16-3) has been residing in Ultimate Challenge MMA, where he vacated his Welterweight Championship that he defended three times to take his shot with the UFC.

    Maguire now will face Justin Edwards at UFC 138 and look to continue to continue his success on the biggest stage of all.

55: DeMarques Johnson

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    DeMarques Johnson (12-9) has a deceptive record as he owns a 3-3 UFC record.

    Johnson has struggled against most competition but is a good gatekeeper for the back half of the rankings.

    Beating Johnson basically means you belong in the UFC.

54: Papy Abedi

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    Papy Abedi (8-0) is a striker with an impressive physique. Of his eight victories, five have resulted in knockouts.

    Abredi will be welcomed into the UFC against a very tough challenger in Thiago Alves, who finds himself coming off of some losses to top-tier competition.

    A win for Abedi would end his days in the rear of the rankings.

53: Matthew Riddle

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    Matthew Riddle (5-4) has a win over DeMarques Johnson and Greg Soto.

    Riddle, who has spent his entire career with the UFC, is currently riding a two-fight losing streak and has claimed one Fight of the Night bonus already.

52: Sean Pierson

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    Sean Pierson (11-5) is a 35-year-old fighter who is coming off a knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger.

    Prior to his loss to Ellenberger, he was riding a six-fight winning streak and will now look to get back to that trend, as I heavily doubt he wants to continue on the one he has now.

51: Lance Benoist

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    Lance Benoist (6-0) has never lost an MMA bout, professionally or amateur.

    Benoist was given a tough task against Matthew Riddle for his first UFC challenge and came out victorious. On top of that he also earned Fight of the Night honors.

50: Daniel Roberts

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    Daniel "Ninja" Roberts (12-3) is on a two-fight losing streak and will have his career in the UFC placed in jeopardy if he doesn't win his next fight against Brian Foster at UFC Fight Night.

    Look for Roberts to get the fight to the ground where he can implement his submission skills, as he owns nine wins via tap out.

49: Luis Ramos

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    Luis Ramos (19-7) faltered in his first fight in the UFC against Erick Silva.

    Ramos isn't much of a finisher and I have serious doubt that he will be in the UFC for more than two more fights.

48: James Wilks

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    James Wilks (7-4) is going to get a very tough task against Dong Hyun Kim in the first show to be held on Fox.

    Wilks owns a 2-2 UFC record. A loss could very well be the end of the road for him in the UFC.

47: Mike Stumpf

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    Mike Stumpf (11-3) has seven submission wins during his mixed martial arts career.

    Stumpf lost his first UFC fight against TJ Waldburger and he could be on a short leash is he loses again.

    Trained by Jeff Curran, Stumpf will look to rebound in his next fight.

46: Rich Attonito

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    Rich Attonito (10-4) is a tough fighter to gauge.

    He holds wins over Daniel Roberts and Rafael Natal, but a loss to Dave Branch leaves you scratching your head.

    Maybe he can give some better insight on where he stands against Claude Patrick.

45: Claude Patrick

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    Claude Patrick (14-1) is riding a 13-fight winning streak and a 3-0 record inside of the UFC.

    Patrick has trained with Georges St-Pierre, Mark Bocek and Sean Pierson, so he is getting the proper training.

    A win over Rich Attonito may allow him to take a large step up in competition.

44: Matt Brown

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    Matt Brown (12-10) is a gritty fighter who has shown the inability to defeat an upper-echelon fighter.

    Even though he struggles, he continues to get fed to better competition. Speaking of which, he recently filled in for an injury to fight John Hathaway in November.

43: David Mitchell

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    David Mitchell (11-2) has suffered his first two career losses inside of the UFC.

    Mitchell needs to rebound and start winning before he again is attempting to earn his way back into the UFC.

42: Brian Foster

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    Brian Foster (15-5) is 3-2 inside of the UFC, with his losses to Rick Story and Chris Lytle.

    Foster is well-rounded with knockout power and submission skills.  

    Foster is a great test against fighters attempting to break into the top half of the division.

41: Jorge Lopez

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    Jorge Lopez (11-2) is a 22-year-old who lost his first fight in the UFC against Justin Edwards.

    Primarily a striker, Lopez has plenty of time to improve while competing with the premier MMA organization.

40: TJ Waldburger

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    TJ Waldburger (14-6) holds career victories over Brian Foster, David Mitchell and Mike Stumpf.

    Waldburger has an impressive 11 submission victories but has been knocked out five times.

39: James Head

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    James Head (7-2) scored a win over former UFC fighter Gerald Harris and was signed by the UFC, where he faltered in his first fight to Nick Ring.

    Head has since sustained an injury and is recovering.

38: Justin Edwards

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    Justin Edwards (7-1) hold wins over Jorge Lopez and former UFC fighter Josh Rafferty.

    Edwards is another submission specialist already piling up five victories by making opponents tap out.

    Edwards' next fight will take place at UFC 138 against John Maguire.

37: Clay Harvison

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    Clay Harvison (7-2) is 1-1 in the UFC with a win over Justin Edwards.

    Harvison was an Ultimate Fighter 13 competitor who has remained with the UFC since the show completed.

36: Seth Baczynski

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    Seth Baczynski (14-6) has shown that, if given a second opportunity, he could succeed.

    In his return to the UFC, he defeated Clay Harvison and earned himself yet another fight in the UFC, where he has already made a longer stay.

35: Erick Silva

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    Erick Silva (13-1-1) is on a 10-fight unbeaten streak and made a successful debut in the UFC with a first round TKO win over Luis Ramos.

    Silva should get some decent competition in his next fight.

34: Mark Scanlon

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    Mark Scanlon (7-1) was put up against another undefeated fighter in Pascal Krauss in which he suffered his first defeat.

    Scanlon will look to improve his status and get back on track in his next fight.

33: Amir Sadollah

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    Amir Sadollah (5-3) is another fighter who has had his entire professional career take place inside of the UFC.

    Sadollah is best known for representing Team Forrest while winning The Ultimate Fighter competition, defeating Gerald Harris, Matt Brown and CB Dollaway in the finals.

    Sadollah's three losses have been to solid competition and has proven he can defeat the back half of the division.

32: Josh Neer

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    Josh Neer (31-10-1) is only 28 years old and is already a veteran of the sport.

    He is currently riding a four-fight win streak and this makes his fourth separate time he has fought for the UFC.

    Neer holds some notable wins over Melvin Guillard, Mac Danzig and Joe Stevenson.

31: Duane Ludwig

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    Duane Ludwig (21-11) is a powerful striker who has scored 10 knockouts.

    On the downside, Ludwig is an up-and-down fighter and lacks the consistency to be a top threat to competitors in the UFC.

30: Pascal Krauss

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    Pascall Krauss (10-0) is a 24-year-old fighter that has scored seven submission wins to date.

    Krauss won his first UFC fight by defeating Mark Scanlon by decision, earning Fight of the Night honors.

29: Mike Pierce

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    Mike Pierce (12-4) is 4-2 in the UFC with his losses coming to Johny Hendricks and Jon Fitch.

    Pierce is a quality opponent that has the skill to improve his ranking in the division with half of his wins coming by knockout.

28: Carlos Eduardo Rocha

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    Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-1) suffered his first career loss to Jake Ellenberger by split decision.

    Rocha does have a victory over Kris McCray via kneebar and with his close fight against Ellenberger, he shows a lot of promise to be able to climb up the rankings.

27: Mike Pyle

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    Mike Pyle (21-8-1) has recorded 16 wins by submission.

    Pyle was recently destroyed by Rory MacDonald in a first-round knockout loss. Before the loss, Pyle was on a three-fight win streak over the likes of Ricardo Almeida and John Hathaway.

    Pyle did face a big set back but has the skills to improve his position. At 36 years of age, however, time is against him.

26: Dennis Hallman

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    Dennis Hallman (50-14-2, 1 NC), a veteran of mixed martial arts, has been competing since 1996.

    Hallman is best known for defeating Matt Hughes on two separate occasions but never could obtain UFC gold.

    Actually, he is probably most known for wearing a speedo at UFC 133 in a losing effort.

    Regardless, he is a good stepping stone if you think you can compete with the division's best fighters.

25: Johny Hendricks

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    Johny Hendricks (11-1) has a fantastic opportunity to leapfrog the majority of the division if he can defeat his next opponent, Jon Fitch on December 30th.

    Hendricks is a capable opponent with wins over Amir Sadollah and Charlie Brenneman but he will be a heavy underdog against Fitch.

    Hendricks' lone loss came to Rick Story.

24: Yoshihiro Akiyama

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    He might be in a funk of late, losing his last three fights, but make no mistake, Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4) can be a serious contender in the 170-pound division.

    If he can focus on using his Judo a little more, Akiyama could find himself on a fast track to the top of the division.

    Age might not be on his side (36) but he is a very marketable fighter and always seems to put on a good fight.

23: Mike Swick

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    Mike Swick (14-4) was a top contender just a couple of years ago and since has been diagnosed with medical problems that have kept him out of action since February of 2010.

    Swick recently sustained a knee injury which has again delayed his return to the Octagon.

22: Dan Hardy

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    Dan Hardy (23-10) is on a four-fight losing streak and seemingly has lost that confidence that made him a dangerous opponent.

    The one thing going for Hardy is that he is an exciting fighter and has lost to high-level competition during this period.

    Anyone matched up against Hardy will most likely go for takedowns because his ground game is remarkably weak.  If you stand with him, you are playing into his strength and will likely find yourself walking away with the loser's purse.

21: Anthony Johnson

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    Anthony Johnson (9-3) has been inside of the UFC for the majority of his career, posting a record of 6-3 in that time.

    Johnson is a huge welterweight that is known to cut nearly 60 pounds for each of his fights and has been known to miss weight on occasion.

    Johnson has excellent wrestling ability and with his size helping, has a lot of strength to go along with it.  

20: Nick Diaz

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    Shocker...think again.

    Yes, Nick Diaz (25-7) is riding a 10-fight win streak against fighters who total a win/loss record of 201-101 and that is inflated with wins over fighters well past their primes: Hayato Sakurai (35 wins)—who was considering retirement—and Frank Shamrock (23 wins), who came out of retirement to fight. Of all those fighters, you will not find a single fighter in the current top 25 either. Matter of fact, it is rare that Diaz scores a win over a fighter ranked in the top 25.

    Diaz has amazingly never defeated a fighter ranked inside of the top 10 and has been defeated every time he has tried.

    The sad part is that Nick Diaz does have excellent skills, but fans rarely get to see them on display against an opponent on, near or above his level.

    Diaz's biggest wins are over Robbie Lawler, KJ Noons and Paul Daley. Don't forget Hayato Sakurai and Frank Shamrock...if you want to include them as relevant wins. He also beat Chris Lytle by split decision in 2002 when Lytle was 9-6-5, if you want to try to help Diaz's cause.

    I find it difficult to rank him ahead of fighters who compete in relevant fights and against top competition as I find Nick Diaz to be the biggest fraud in MMA and the most over-ranked fighter in the world.

19: Matt Serra

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    While Matt Serra (11-7) is fast approaching the end of his career, he has notched wins over Frank Trigg, Chris Lytle, and is responsible for the biggest upset in MMA history when he finished Georges St-Pierre in the first round to win the UFC Welterweight Championship.

    Serra now looks to finish out his career with fan-friendly fights that allow him to have a little fun inside of the cage.

18: Matt Hughes

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    Matt Hughes (45-9) is an MMA legend and will be remembered with the best Welterweights throughout history well into the future.

    Hughes is known for his dominant wrestling and big slams which helped him to defend the Welterweight Championship a record seven times, a title he has held on two occasions.

    He is only fighter to be able to say he has defeated both BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre.  

17: Paulo Thiago

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    Paulo Thiago (14-3) started off his UFC career with stunning wins over Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick.

    His magical run came to an end with losses to Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez, but his level of competition has been extremely difficult for anyone.

    Thiago won his last fight and will look to continue to improve his status in the Welterweight division.

16: Brian Ebersole

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    Brian Ebersole (48-14) did every MMA fan—and anyone who watched his match with Dennis Hallman—a huge favor by dispatching Hallman in the first round, saving the eyesight of millions of fans worldwide.

    Ebersole has been on a roll of late, riding a nine-fight winning streak and defeating Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. Ebersole next has to face one of the most impressive young fighters in December, Rory MacDonald.

15: Thiago Alves

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    Thiago Alves (18-7) has had a rough stretch of late, only posting a record of 1-3 in his last four fights, but his losses are to Rick Story, Jon Fitch and Georges St-Pierre.

    Alves remains a a viable threat to any contender and at any time could make a run back into the top 10. He holds impressive wins over Chris Lytle, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.

14: Dong Hyun Kim

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    Dong Hyun Kim (14-1-1, 1 NC) was stopped by Carlos Condit in the first round of his last fight, making it his first loss in both the UFC and his career.

    Kim's strength is his Judo, as he uses effective strikes and takedowns to secure his victories. The only knock on Kim is that he isn't known as a finisher while being a UFC competitor, winning only his first match by strikes.

13: Martin Kampmann

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    Martin Kampmann (17-5) could easily be 19-3 with his last two losses being very close; it's debatable with how close they were.

    Kampmann is a very tough customer and has great all-around skills, making him a difficult fight for anyone on the UFC roster.

    Even after losing his last two fights, don't expect Kampmann to get any drop in competition as he is still considered a viable contender.

12: Rick Story

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    Rick Story (13-4) was seemingly on a fast track to acquiring a Welterweight title bout with Georges St-Pierre after he dismantled Thiago Alves and took a fight against Nate Marquardt for a UFC Live on Versus show in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on very short notice.

    The problems began the day of the fight when Marquardt had to pull out of the fight and was replaced by home-town hero, Charlie Brenneman, who subsequently defeated Rick Story.

    Though Dana White said that it wouldn't effect his ranking, in reality it does, but not horribly.

11: Charlie Brenneman

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    Charlie Brenneman (14-2) soared up the rankings with his win over Rick Story and now sets his sights on proving he belongs at the top of the division.

    Brenneman has to now face the Welterweight monster Anthony Johnson on October 1st. Johnson will hold a distinct size advantage in this fight and Brenneman will have to employ a lay-and-pray strategy if he hopes to pull out a win.

10: Diego Sanchez

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    Diego Sanchez (23-4) is one of the strangest and most likable characters on the UFC roster. Displaying a relentless, forward-moving warrior strategy, Sanchez almost always puts on a great show for fans.

    "The Dream" suffered a nightmare after missing out on an opportunity to fight Matt Hughes after breaking his hand and now remains idle in the rankings.

9: John Hathaway

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    John Hathaway (15-1) is a 24-year-old that has the talent to go far in the UFC.

    Hathaway has already notched wins over Rick Story and Diego Sanchez but sustained a loss to injury replacement Mike Pyle that really left fans debating on where he should fall.

    Sometimes fighters have a bad fight and that is what I am marking that loss up to.

    Hathaway has since regained his winning ways by defeating Kris McCray and is expected to fight Matt Brown in November.

8: Rory MacDonald

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    The 22-year-old Rory MacDonald (12-1) has taken the UFC by storm.

    MacDonald, who trains with Georges St-Pierre, has dismantled his opponents, posting a 3-1 record in the UFC. I am one who thinks that he should be 4-0 if it wasn't for a horrible late stoppage against Carlos Condit (the fight was stopped with Condit not even throwing an offensive strike at the time).

    Regardless, MacDonald is on a fast track to earning himself a title shot—possibly in 2012—if he continues to be as destructive as he has shown he can be in 2011.

    Next up for MacDonald is Brian Ebersole in December.  

7: Jake Shields

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    Jake Shields (26-6) has taken a lot of heat from fans for being overrated and I for one agreed that he was since his arrival in the UFC. It's not because he isn't good, but I didn't see him as a top-five ranked Welterweight it may be impossible for him to defeat St-Pierre.

    Regardless, Shields is a very good fighter and has earned some huge wins in his career. I personally think that he will struggle against the wrestling-rich Welterweight division but he does have the talent to pull out a couple wins.

6: BJ Penn

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    BJ Penn (16-7) is a huge name in MMA, but I do not see him as a top five fighter in the Welterweight division.

    Penn, who struggled in two losses to Frankie Edgar, rebounded with a knockout win over Matt Hughes—a win that should have been seen from a mile away from any mild fan.

    Penn gained a very questionable draw with Jon Fitch, a match that I personally have the win going to Fitch at a score of 29-27.

    Penn now is scheduled to fight with Nick Diaz and hopefully his stamina is up to par and he doesn't let down the UFC by laying an egg in that fight.

    Needless to say, I am unsure of what to expect from BJ Penn when he fights.

5: Josh Koscheck

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    Josh Koscheck (16-5) is an elite Welterweight but has run into the roadblock named Georges St-Pierre on two occasions.

    Koscheck has had the most success against Georges St-Pierre, but like everyone else is completely outmatched when stepping into the Octagon with him.

    Koscheck recently defeated Matt Hughes, but it should be a long time for him to earn another title fight, if he ever is allowed to fight against GSP again.

4: Jake Ellenberger

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    Jake Ellenberger (26-5) is my personal pick to be the guy who defeats Georges St-Pierre as he blends some of the most powerful strikes with a tremendous wrestling game.

    Ellenberger's latest first minute knockout of Jake Shields shows that he is ready for shot as he rides a five-fight win streak, which should be a 10-fight win streak had there not been a very debatable split decision loss to Carlos Condit.

    It has been rumored that Josh Koscheck might be Ellenberger's next opponent, but don't rule out a title shot with Georges St-Pierre just yet.

3: Carlos Condit

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    Carlos Condit (27-5) is a top fighter in the Welterweight division, despite two wins over Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald that (I believe) were gift wrapped for him.

    Condit is the last WEC Welterweight Champion and looks to defeat Georges St-Pierre and become the next UFC Welterweight Champion at UFC 137 in Las Vegas after replacing Nick Diaz in the main event.

2: Jon Fitch

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    Jon Fitch (23-3, 1 NC) is 21-1-1 in his last 23 fights and his lone loss came at the hands of Georges St-Pierre.

    Fitch has been trying to earn himself a rematch but has been unable to do so because even though he has dominated his opponents, he has not been able to finish them.

    Fitch is also not too appreciated by Dana White not only for his fighting style, but his unwillingness to fight his teammates.

    No matter which way you want to cut it, Fitch is the second best welterweight in the world and deserves another title match against Georges St-Pierre.

1: Georges St-Pierre

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    Georges St-Pierre (22-2) has simply defeated every man he has stepped inside the Octagon with.

    St-Pierre, in my eyes, is the pound-for-pound greatest fighter on the planet and the best mixed martial artist in history.

    GSP has defeated the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world including Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, Matt Hughes (2x), BJ Penn (2x), Josh Koscheck (2x), Jake Shields and Jon Fitch. Not only did he defeat these fighters, he made them look like amateurs.

    St-Pierre has defended the Welterweight title a total of seven times, and currently six times consecutively.