HeavyMMA April Rankings: Welterweight

UFC 124

Welterweight Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

UFC 129 will present the toughest test to date for Georges St. Pierre, our longtime number-one-ranked fighter.  Will Jake Shields be able to dethrone the welterweight king?  Find out on April 30.

1. Georges St. Pierre

St. Pierre’s time in the welterweight division may draw to a close if he beats Jake Shields at UFC 129. St. Pierre’s dominance over the welterweight division – at least in recent years – cannot be overstated. If he walks through Shields like he has everyone else, he puts himself in the conversation as one of the greats in history.  GSP versus Anderson Silva?  Yes, please.

2. Jake Shields

Shields is going into the St. Pierre fight as a massive underdog, which seems to be an injustice considering the kind of career Shields has had. A 15-fight win streak with victories over Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit and Paul Daley is nothing to laugh at. Shields will look bring another belt back to NorCal where teammates Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz currently hang their gold.

3. Jon Fitch

Fitch drops a spot in our polls due to an injury that will keep him out of action for at least four months and up to six or seven months.  The American Kickboxing Academy fighter was slated to face BJ Penn at UFC 132 in a rematch of their UFC 127 draw.  Here’s to a speedy recovery for one of the staples of the UFC welterweight division.

4. Thiago Alves

Next up for “The Pitbull” is Rick Story at UFC 130 in May. Last time out, Alves earned an easy decision over John Howard at UFC 124 in December of 2010. He’ll be a perennial contender at welterweight and, with the help of uber-nutritionist Mike Dolce, he’s never looked better.

5. Josh Koscheck

Koscheck is healing from the crushed orbital socket he suffered at the hands of GSP’s left jab in December. No immediate opponent has been named, but should Jake Shields lose to GSP at UFC 130, a match between the two would be super interesting.

6. Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz keeps fighting and Nick Diaz keeps winning…in Strikeforce.  He probably won’t get the credit he deserves until he is absorbed by the UFC and beats some household names.  Until then, his camp says he’s going to take a boxing match.  Never a dull moment in the 209.

7. BJ Penn

Penn left the lightweight division with hopes of getting a title shot at 170. He was a win against Jon Fitch away from that shot (according to Dana), but both fighters ended up hurt and the bout was scrapped.  We’ll wait to see what “The Prodigy’s” next move might be.

8. Carlos Condit

Condit was scheduled to face Chris Lytle at UFC 127, but a knee injury suffered in training forced him to pull out of the fight. He was then slated to fill in for Jon Fitch against BJ Penn, but Penn was forced out of that fight due to injury.  Now, Condit is set to fight Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 132 in July. Fingers crossed.

9. Diego Sanchez

Sanchez has gone 2-0 since his return to welterweight, collecting wins over Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann.  No fight is scheduled for “The Dream” currently, but a rematch against Kampmann would make many a fan quite happy as their first tilt is an early candidate for Fight of the Year.

10. Ben Askren

Akren improved his record to a perfect 8-0 earlier this month at Bellator 40, his fifth win inside the promotion. The four-time collegiate All-American wrestler continues to climb in the ranks as he becomes more and more polished inside the cage.