Another UFC event is in the books and that means that the BE crew of Chris, Steph, Fraser, Tim, and TP had another chance to represent the community by ranking the fighters. This time, I thought it would be fun to examine the Welterweight division, given the implications of MacDonald vs Ellenberger.
As usual, I will compare their rankings to each other as well as to the overall UFC averages. I will also lay out supporting data regarding wins and losses for each of the top 10 fighters. Basically, it's the type of analysis I would do if I were selected to be one of the few who get to determine the official UFC rankings.
The BE Staff Individual Rankings
|C||Georges St-Pierre||C||Georges St-Pierre||C||Georges St-Pierre||C||Georges St-Pierre||C||Georges St-Pierre|
|1||Johny Hendricks||1||Johny Hendricks||1||Johny Hendricks||1||Johny Hendricks||1||Johny Hendricks|
|2||Carlos Condit||2||Rory MacDonald||2||Carlos Condit||2||Carlos Condit||2||Carlos Condit|
|3||Rory MacDonald||3||Carlos Condit||3||Rory MacDonald||3||Rory MacDonald||3||Demian Maia|
|4||Demian Maia||4||Demian Maia||4||Jake Ellenberger||4||Demian Maia||4||Martin Kampmann|
|5||Jake Ellenberger||5||Jake Ellenberger||5||Demian Maia||5||Jake Ellenberger||5||Rory MacDonald|
|6||Nick Diaz||6||Nick Diaz||6||Nick Diaz||6||Nick Diaz||6||Nick Diaz|
|7||Martin Kampmann||7||Martin Kampmann||7||Martin Kampmann||7||Martin Kampmann||7||Tarec Saffiedine|
|8||Tarec Saffiedine||8||Robbie Lawler||8||Tarec Saffiedine||8||Tarec Saffiedine||8||Dong Hyun Kim|
|9||Robbie Lawler||9||Tarec Saffiedine||9||Robbie Lawler||9||Robbie Lawler||9||Jake Ellenberger|
|10||Josh Koscheck||10||Josh Koscheck||10||Mike Pyle||10||Josh Koscheck||10||Erick Silva|
The BE staff was consistent in ranking Johnny Hendricks #1 and Nick Diaz #6, but not much else. Carlos Condit would have been a unanimous pick for #2 if not for Steph who ranked him below Rory MacDonald. Strange, given that Rory lost in a head to head match up. Everyone but TP ranked Kampmann at #7. TP also had some interesting additions to the top 10 with Dong Hyun Kim at #8 and Erick Silva at #10. Silva is particularly surprising with a 3-2 record in the UFC and a win over Charlie Brenneman being his most high profile success. Fraser also added Pyle to his top 10 list. Again, a difficult pick to justify as you will see in the supporting information below.
BE Staff Average Rankings Compared to the Overall UFC Rankings
|C||Georges St-Pierre||C||Georges St-Pierre|
|1||Johny Hendricks||1||Johny Hendricks|
|2.2||Carlos Condit||2||Carlos Condit|
|3.2||Rory MacDonald||3||Rory MacDonald|
|4||Demian Maia||4||Demian Maia|
|5.6||Jake Ellenberger||5||Jake Ellenberger|
|6||Nick Diaz||6||Nick Diaz|
|6.4||Martin Kampmann||7||Martin Kampmann|
|8||Tarec Saffiedine||8||Tarec Saffiedine|
|9.2||Robbie Lawler||9||Robbie Lawler|
|10.4||Josh Koscheck||10||Josh Koscheck|
|10.4||Dong Hyun Kim|
This is the first time that the BE crew agrees exactly (on average) with the Overall Rankings. This is despite Fraser and TP leaving Koscheck off of their respective lists.
|Record||Top 10 Wins||ZUFFA||Other Notable Wins||Other Notable Losses|
|1||Johny Hendricks||15-1||Condit, Kampmann, Koscheck||13-1||Fitch, Pierce, Grant||Story|
|2||Carlos Condit||28-7||Diaz, Hyun Kim, MacDonald, Ellenberger||10-3||Hardy, Trigg||Healy, Shields|
|3||Rory MacDonald||15-1||Ellenberger, Pyle||6-1||Penn, Nate Diaz||N/A|
|4||Demian Maia||18-4||Hyun Kim||12-4||Fitch, Story, Sonnen||Weidman, Munoz, Silva, Marquardt|
|5||Jake Ellenberger||29-7||Pyle||8-3||Marquardt, Hieron, Sanchez, Shields||Story, Hieron|
|6||Nick Diaz||26-9||Lawler||14-6||Penn, Daley, Noons, Sakurai, Shamrock, Gomi||Noons, Sherk, Riggs, Sanchez, Parisyan|
|7||Martin Kampmann||20-6||Ellenberger, Condit||11-5||Alves, Story, Thiago||Sanchez, Shields, Daley, Marquardt|
|9||Robbie Lawler||21-9||Koscheck||10-8||Lindland, Murilo Rua, Trigg||Larkin, Kennedy, Souza, Sobral, Shields|
|10||Josh Koscheck||17-7||N/A||15-7||Pierce, Hughes, Daley, Johnson, Trigg, Yoshida||Thiago, Alves|
|10||Dong Hyun Kim||17-2-1||N/A||8-2||Bahadurzada, Thiago, Nate Diaz, Grant, Matt Brown||N/A|
|11||Mike Pyle||25-8-1||N/A||11-3||Story, Neer, Almeida, Hathaway||Larson, Shields|
|11||Erick Silva||15-3||N/A||3-2||High, Brenneman||Fitch|
|-||Jake Shields||28-6-1||Kampmann, Lawler, Pyle, Condit||6-2||Woodley, Sexyama, Henderson, Mayhem, Daley||Herman (NC)|
Hendricks and Condit have certainly earned their place as the #1 and #2 guys. Hendricks has wins over 3 current top 10 guys and Condit has wins over 4. Hendricks also has an impressive KO over Fitch at a time when he was still considered a top 5 fighter. After that, it gets tricky. MacDonald and Maia just haven't gotten the right match ups yet to prove themselves as top 3 caliber. But, I believe Kampmann has. He has wins over Ellenberger and Condit and even his notable losses to Sanchez and Shields were hotly contested split decisions that could have gone either way. It's true that Kampmann got KO'd by Hendricks, but he may prove to be the best in the world.
After the top 3, I think Maia's win over Fitch carries a lot of weight. Especially because guys like Ellenberger don't really have many current top 10 wins. I'd put Rory at 5 based on his wins over Ellenberger and Penn. After that, it seems like a coin toss between Ellenberger and Diaz for the 6 spot. I think Diaz deserves some respect for his run in Strikeforce so I'd lean that direction.
One of the most interesting things about the data is Saffiedine's lack of resume beyond the one win over Marquardt. I'd put Lawler, Kosh, and Kim ahead of Saffiedine for that reason. But, I think he's on the edge of the top 10.
I've added one name as an attempt to make the case for Jake Shields. He has wins over 4 of the current top 10 (if we include Pyle). Granted, some of these wins are a bit old, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen. He also has 5 other notable wins and has only lost to GSP and Ellenberger after the death of Shield's father (and coach). The only thing, it seems, keeping him from the top 10 is the positive test and perhaps an unpleasing style. I'd argue he belongs at #8 above Lawler, a man he beat head to head.
Ranking the Rankers
With the exception of Erick Silva, I find TPs rankings to be the most justifiable given the supporting data. He ranks Kampmann the highest of the group and puts Rory in a realistic range given his resume. Steph ranked Saffedine the lowest of the group and I like Kosh at 10. It shows respect for some of his important victories over older fighters no longer in the top 10. The choice of Rory over Condit was hard to justify, however.
My call to action in this weight is to insert Shields at #8. He's earned it far more than Saffiedine did with a single significant victory over a Marquardt that hasn't stood the test of time since rejoining the UFC. If we are just ranking Saffiedine becausue he was Strikeforce champ, let's not forget that Nick Diaz walked away from that belt.
As always, I look forward to the rankers comments and justifications below. Nice work!