Assessing the State of the UFC Welterweight Division

Assessing the State of the UFC Welterweight Division

It had been 547 days since Tyron Woodley last stepped foot inside the Octagon and within two minutes and 12 seconds the “The Chosen One” dethroned the one-time welterweight king Robbie Lawler with the fastest finish in UFC welterweight title fight history.

While the newly-crowned UFC welterweight champion has called out Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz for big money fights, the odds of this happening as of now are slim to none. However, that doesn’t mean that a big title fight is out of the question with one of the many top contenders that are currently ranked in his division.

The current state of the welterweight division is stacked with contenders from top to bottom, the top being the most likely number one contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Although Woodley showed no interest in a match up with the karate expert for the sake of a big money fight. Thompson realistically is Woodley’s next opponent giving his five-round decision win over the former title contender Rory MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 89 that extended his winning streak to 7-0 in his last seven fights.

With TKO wins over the former champion Johny Hendricks and Jake Ellenberger, Thompson has cemented his claim for the next shot at the title. However, one could make an argument for giving Lawler an automatic rematch given his long run as the champion. Since winning the belt at UFC 181 in 2014, Lawler has had a Match of the Year battle with Rory MacDonald in 2015 and is even in contention for the 2016 Match of the Year award for his clash with Carlos Condit.

Although Lawler beat Condit in a close fight that had many question the judges’ decision, Condit appears to be right back in the title hunt as he contends with one-time UFC middleweight title challenger Demian Maia at UFC on Fox in August.

Maia himself has accumulated a nice winning streak by outclassing and outperforming top 10 fighters, such as Matt Brown and Neil Magny to extend his streak to 5-0. With a win over the Natural Born Killer, the Brazilian could be contending for the welterweight strap by 2017.

Although at the bottom of the list, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a formidable contender and despite back to back loses, Jake Ellenberger wasted no time at UFC 201 to put away Matt Brown. In a bout that lasted under two minutes, Jake landed 68% of his strikes, which dropped his opponent twice in the round. With a dominant win over a top 10 opponent, Jake has put himself back in contention within a stacked UFC Welterweight title picture.


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