|1||Georges St. Pierre||100||UFC||1|
Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.
#1 Georges St. Pierre will put his UFC title on the line against #6 Dan Hardy this Saturday at UFC 111. Few expect the trash talking Brit to take the title, but it's a fight and anything can happen. Fans should relish the chance to see a great champion like GSP fighting at the top of his form regardless.
UFC 111 will also see #2 Jon Fitch and #3 Thiago Alves face off in a rematch of their 2006 bout that will definitively determine who is the second best in the division. Jon Fitch seems to think he'll get another title shot if he wins, but Dana White seems to want to put the winner in against the winner of UFC 113's #4 Josh Koscheck vs #9 Paul Daley.
A Koscheck vs Fitch match would violate the wishes of the two American Kickboxing Academy fighters who don't want to fight teammates. I expect the fans will be violently on the side of Zuffa and in favor of seeing Koscheck vs Fitch, if only to clear out the log jam at the top of the division.
#5 Paulo Thiago is the "X" factor in the division. He thrashed #11 Mike Swick at UFC 109 and is expected by some to be the next title challenger. Thiago has gone 3-1 in the UFC and KO'd Koscheck while dropping a decision to Fitch.
UFC 112 will see ex-champ #8 Matt Hughes against MMA legend Renzo Gracie. Don't expect Hughes to take any future fights against legit contenders either. The greatest welterweight champ in MMA history is riding off into the sunset with a series of big name, big money senior league fights and there's nothing wrong with that.
#10 Martin Kampmann had to pull out of his UFC 111 bout with Ben Saunders after sustaining a gruesome cut. Saunders will now take on Jake Ellenberger. #12 Carlos Condit is expected to face #24 Rory Macdonald at UFC 115.
No plans have been announced for Strikeforce champ #7 Nick Diaz to defend his belt, although there has been some talk of his traveling to Japan to face fading legend Hayato Sakurai. There has been no word from the camp of presumed Strikeforce #1 contender #13 Jay Hieron who is between contracts but he can't be happy at Diaz' continuing to avoid facing him. Wrestlers like Hieron have always been Diaz' kryptonite and Hieron has to be exceedingly frustrated with Strikeforce and Diaz.
Hardcore fans will want to keep a close eye on Bellator's Spring welterweight tournament which will feature #16 Dan Hornbuckle and #24 Lyman Good as well as the highly touted Ben Askren, Ryan Thomas, "Judo" Jim Walhead, and Jacob "Tick Tock" McClintock among other talented prospects. The tournament starts April 15 and I expect that by the end of the tournament more than two of their fighters will be considered top 25 welterweights.
UPDATE: Obviously #3 Thiago Alves' failing his CT scan before UFC 111 complicates the future title picture somewhat, putting #2 Jon Fitch in yet another tough fight with no upside against the unranked Ben Saunders. Conversely, this is the biggest opportunity of Saunders' career and a win would vault him instantly into the title hunt. I can already hear the AKA posse bitching if that happens.
Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings. We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.USAT/SBN March MMA Consensus Rankings: Heavyweight