With the recent step back from sport by UFC long time welterweight champ George St Pierre some may say the UFC's 170lb division also has taken a step back. GSP definitely dominated all competition in his reign as champion since 2007 which ended in a controversial decision win over "Big Rig" Johnny Hendricks where many fight fans and fighters argue that George was defeated including UFC president Dana White in his final bout.
Since GSP has vacated the title so many intriguing matchups have been set in stone and many more are on the horizon in 2014. A lot of MMA fans believe that the UFC let alone the 170lb division would lack major star power and PPV draw without its King of PPV George St Pierre no longer Competing.
With a slew of top level talent that exists currently in the 170lb division with names like Jake Shields, Jake Ellenberger, Matt Brown, Rory Macdonald, Tarec Saffedine, Dong Hyun Kim, Hector Lombard, John Hathaway and not to mention the still retired for now at least, the infamous Nick Diaz who is in fact a major draw for the UFC and well known name in the MMA world. Adding to that list of top talent are up and coming contenders Ryan Lafare @RLaFlare and Brandon Thatch @RUKUSMMA303 both who are unbeaten in the octagon. Gunnar Nelson @GunniNelson and newcomer Omari Akhmedov @OMARI_MMA are also top prospects in the division in which they will meet at UFC Fight Night 37 March 8th.
The UFC 171 card features 3 welterweight bouts which will move the 170lb division forward crowning a new champion and proving the title winners next opponent with the outcome of bouts with Carlos Condit taking on Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields taking on Hector Lombard and of course the main event as we all know being "Big Rig" Johnny Hendricks opposite "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler for the vacant welterweight title. This coming year for the UFC's welterweight division looks to be the best its ever been and most competitive as it's ever been my opinion. With all this top level talent in one division makes it the most interesting division and a draw by default regardless of the absence of GSP's star power.
At this time next year it will be very interesting to see who holds or better yet who will have held the gold in 2014. The welterweight division is simply flooded with top level competitors and former champions all looking to stake there claim to the title in the post Gsp era, making this division the best division in the UFC in terms of current talent,prospective talent and potential superstars on the rise.