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How does the UFC Welterweight Division Shape up?

| September 20, 2011 | Reply

A Former Champion. A perennial number one contender. A Stockton Bad Boy. A former two-time NCAA National Champion at Oklahoma State. A former Division II wrestler and Marine. No folks, this isn’t the next cast for that next big reality show. The five described above to you, are the top of the food chain in the UFC’s welterweight division, looking for that opportunity to fight George St. Pierre for his title, or in the case of the former WEC welterweight Champion, Carlos Condit, looking to win it.

Having cleared out all challengers in the division, many are looking for GSP to make that jump to the middleweight division for the Superfight with current Middleweight Champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. While all hopes and prayers wait for that big match-up, the most any of us can do now, is sit back and enjoy the current picture in the UFC welterweight division. With Condit jumping in a spot that once belonged to former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz, other fighters including Jon Fitch, Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks and the aforementioned Diaz, await their chance at glory, or in the case of Fitch, a chance at redemption.

Each of the four fighters have made strong cases deserving of a title shot, each with dreams of having the strap put around their waist. The only question remains; Who deserves it more? Is it Ellenberger, the man who just recently took down the former Strikeforce Champion Jake Shields? What about Hendricks, while only riding a two fight win streak, has only dropped one fight to Rick Story and could raise his stock highly with a win over Fitch? Does Nick Diaz, who dropped himself from the Main Event of UFC 137 by missing several planned events, have enough say to earn himself another shot by beating BJ Penn? Or is the answer Jon Fitch?

When you break down the fighters, Johny Hendricks surely has the least amount of support when you look at his recent fights. Hendricks doesn’t have a top contender to his name, but could change that at UFC 141 if he defeats Fitch, which is the reason I think he could possibly be near the top the list, should that happen.

Widely considered to be the 2nd best welterweight in the sport, Fitch hasn’t lost in 6 bouts, winning 5 and going to a draw with Penn in his last outing. His only loss since 2002, has been to GSP, a span of 24 fights. Fitch is the New York Knicks of the welterweight division. And I don’t mean the current New York Knicks that couldn’t buy a spot in the playoffs, I’m referring to Ewing/Starks era Knicks. Why the comparison? For those of us that followed basketball, the Knicks were shutdown many times on their quest for a ring by Micheal Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. GSP; he is the Bulls. No GSP, more than likely means Fitch is currently holding that strap around his waist. While Fitch arguably deserves another shot at GSP, despite the last time the two fought, the only argument people can really give against him is his lack of finishes, having gone to a decision in his last eight wins. While this shouldn’t play out in his rankings, and for most, it doesn’t, it does play a factor when it comes to Dana White and the UFC, whether it should or should not.

Nick Diaz seems to be the fan favorite, whether you love him or hate him, to get the shot. He’s the Stockton Bad Boy for a reason. Diaz won the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship after friend and training partner, Jake Shields, moved up to Middleweight. Diaz hasn’t tasted defeat since 2006, riding a 10 fight win streak, with wins over Mach Sakurai, Takanori Gomi, and Paul Daley. Originally slated to fight against GSP at UFC 137, he was dropped after missing several media appearances to promote the fight, instead dropping down to the Co-Main event to take on BJ Penn. A win will do well for Diaz, but the only question is, how much did he hurt his stock with his random disappearing act leading up to this event? That question will be answered, should he win at UFC 137.

Ellenberger might be the fighter whose stock climbed immensely after his upset win over Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 25. The former Marine and division II wrestler has only tasted defeat once in the UFC, dropping a close split decision to current #1 contender, Carlos Condit in his UFC debut. Since the loss, Ellenberger has rattled off five straight wins, capping it off with the finish over Shields, the first time Shields had been finished since 2000. Vaulting up the rankings, Ellenberger could be finding himself in a possible #1 contenders match soon, with any of the aforementioned fighters, depending on how things work out over the next few months.

Add in several other fighters who are making their way up, including the young upstart Rory MacDonald, who has been impressing people since his UFC debut, and we could be in for a fun next few months in the welterweight division. So while media and fans alike await the day Dana White announces Anderson Silva vs George St. Pierre at Madison Square Garden(one can hope right?), we can all enjoy the next few months in the welterweight division to see who emerges at the top of the heap, hoping for a chance to dethrone the Welterweight king.

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Tags: Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Dana White, Georges St. Pierre, Jake Ellenberger, Jake Shields, Johny Hendricks, Jon Fitch, MMA, Nick Diaz, UFC, UFC 137, UFC 141, Welterweight

Category: Exclusive, Featured, MMA, Opinion, UFC

About the Author ()

I was born in New York, but currently reside in PA. Have been following the sport since about 2000, ever since I picked up a few VHS' of the old UFC tournaments. I served on active duty in the Marines and currently serve in the PA Army National Guard. I've been doing sub-wrestling and BJJ for about 2 years and have studied Aikido for 3 years. I enjoy all forms of combat sports, but huge into BJJ tournaments and of course, MMA.

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