Bleacher Report’s official December’s MMA rankings are in and this section will cover the Welterweight division of the sport, a division that has had few changes over the last month.
With top fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz and Jon Fitch leading the division, it can only be described as one of the deepest in MMA, and with many of the top fighters set to face off in early 2012 these rankings will be shaken up considerably in the next few months.
"These rankings are the combined effort of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try and provide you with the best content on the web."
Last Fight: Defeated Rick Story at UFC 139
One of the more naturally gifted fighters in the UFC, Kampmann possesses technical striking skills, an underrated ground game and the ability to hang with any fighter in the world.
Kampmann has been near title contention for most of his UFC career, but recent losses to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez have hurt his stock in the division.
While his win over Rick Story at UFC 139 has helped him earn some momentum back, Kampmann will need to beat Thiago Alves in early 2012 to entrench himself in the title picture.
Last Fight: Defeated Martin Kampmann at UFC Live 3
The original Ultimate Fighter, Diego Sanchez has been one of the staples of the UFC’s welterweight division since he entered the UFC way back in 2005.
Sanchez has put on some of the more entertaining fights in UFC history and owns wins over top contenders Nick Diaz and Martin Kampmann.
Sanchez is looking to finally earn a title shot in his natural weight class, and he could if he can get past Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fuel 1.
Last Fight: Defeated Mike Pyle at UFC 133
When you think about the future stars in MMA, Rory MacDonald is one of the first to come to mind.
Already one of the most well-rounded welterweights alive, MacDonald has looked impressive in every single one of his UFC fights and has wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle.
Other than a tough third round against Carlos Condit that ended up costing him his first career defeat, MacDonald has been unstoppable in the UFC and is widely regarded as the future of the sport.
Last Fight: Lost to Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night: Shields vs Ellenberger
Jake Shields was a pound-for-pound-ranked fighter and a Strikeforce champion when he entered the UFC back in late 2010, but things have gone downhill since entering the organization.
After defeating Martin Kampmann, Shields has lost back-to-back fights to Georges St-Pierre and Jake Ellenberger and is in desperate need of a victory.
If he can get past Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144 in Japan, it will do wonders for his confidence and get his UFC career back on track.
Last Fight: Defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 135
He loves to play the villain and the UFC fans love to hate him.
Josh Koscheck is one of the top fighters in the welterweight division and has been in the UFC for nearly his entire career.
While he has fallen short in his bouts against Georges St-Pierre, he has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with and he can use his wrestling and heavy hands to turn any fight in his favor.
Koscheck is set to fight Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in February in a fight that could possibly earn him another title shot with a win.
Last Fight: Defeated Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night: Shields vs Ellenberger
One of the hottest rising prospects in the sport, Jake Ellenberger has been knocking out everyone in his path to achieve UFC glory.
Ellenberger has won five straight fights in the UFC, four of which came by knockout, including a huge victory over former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields in his last bout.
Now getting closer to a UFC title fight, Ellenberger is set to fight Diego Sanchez in early 2012 in a fight that will move the winner into title talks.
Last Fight: Defeated Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 132
Carlos Condit had his welterweight title fight snatched away from him due to the excellent trash talk of Nick Diaz.
Condit was originally set to fight GSP at UFC 137 in October, but an injury to the champ ended up costing him the fight all together, as Diaz beat down BJ Penn and was awarded the shot.
Now looking to earn another title shot, Condit will fight Josh Koscheck at UFC 137 in February.
Last Fight: Fought to a draw with BJ Penn at UFC 127
He may not be known as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, but few fighters get their desired result as often as Jon Fitch.
The knock on Fitch is that he has only fought a few of the top fighters in the division, but his wins over Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves have proved that he has what it takes to hang with the best in the division.
Fitch will fight later this month at UFC 140, where he will work to win his 6th fight since dropping his title fight to St-Pierre in 2008.
Last Fight: Defeated BJ Penn at UFC 137
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Nick Diaz is one of the most talented fighters in the sport.
No one foresaw the absolute beating that Diaz put on BJ Penn at UFC 137, and when he called out welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre after the fight it became obvious that he was next in line for a shot at UFC gold.
A win over GSP will solidify Diaz’s spot as one of the top fighters in the sport and earn him the big paycheck he feels he deserves.
Last Fight: Defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129
The king of the division for several years, Georges St-Pierre has looked unbeatable since he took the welterweight title back from Matt Serra in 2008.
With wins over Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields in his current title run, it is pretty clear that GSP is the cream of the crop in one of the toughest divisions in MMA.
He is next scheduled to fight Nick Diaz on Super Bowl weekend, and if he wins he will be even closer to clearing out the welterweight division.
View all Bleacher Report MMA Rankings for December 2011