As 2014 comes to a close, now is a good time to take stock and look at the top 10. Here, a look at the Welterweight Top 10 courtesy of the SB Nation panel. The rankings panel consists of two members from each of the SB Nation MMA sites - MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle, MMA Mania's Alex Giardini and Thomas Myers, and Bloody Elbow's Dallas Winson and myself, Fraser Coffeen.
Welterweight has had a busy year, with a new champion crowned, and then dethroned, plus a fair amount of churn in the top spots. For a division that spent years under the iron fist of Georges St. Pierre, it's been refreshing to see things get mixed up a bit. Now, as we close out the year, there seems to be some clear consesnsus, at least at the top.
With the exception of one minor switch from one panelist, the top 5 was unanimous. And all agreed - Johny Hendricks is the #1 contender. Rory MacDonald sits just below him at #3 with Tyron Woodley and Carlos Condit rounding out the top 5.
After that, it's a bit more open ended. You have two non-UFC fighters in the top 10 in Ben Askren and Jake Shields, plus one more (Douglas Lima) just outside. Newly ranked this cycle is Kelvin Gastelum, who sneaks in at #10 after a great 2014. He'll likely either drop out or make a big move soon when he takes on Woodley.
Check out the full list here:
Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here.
Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission or company suspensions are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues.
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
#4 Tyron Woodley vs. #10 Kelvin Gastelum - UFC 183, January 31
#6 Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman - UFC 182, January 3
#7 Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine - UFC Brown vs. Saffiedine, February 14
#9 Jake Shields vs. Brian Foster - WSOF 17, January 17