twitter google

What Next for the UFC’s Welterweight Division?

What Next for the UFC’s Welterweight Division?

Now that the UFC has a champion sitting atop the welterweight division, they need to determine the pecking order.

Things were tossed in the air after UFC 171 this past weekend, as several made claims to future title shots.

Johny Hendricks doesn’t need to concern himself with championship opportunities, as he became “the man” by besting Robbie Lawler.

So, where does “Bigg Rigg” go from here? Good question.

Robbie Lawler

MMA: UFC 167-MacDonald vs LawlerThe obvious choice would be Lawler in an immediate rematch. “Ruthless” battled back from a 2-0 deficit in terms of rounds by nearly finishing Hendricks and winning the third and fourth.

However, a lack of energy – or maybe it was the toll Hendricks put on him with kicks and punches – came back to haunt Lawler, as he was taken down late in the fifth and dealt the decision loss.

The UFC, though, has made it difficult for contenders to secure immediate rematches, forcing Alexander Gustafsson to win a bout before getting another crack at the championship.

One major difference, though, was this was for the vacant belt. It wasn’t as if Lawler had to beat Hendricks to take the belt from him.

Rory MacDonald

Immediately following Hendricks’ win, MacDonald fired off a message on Twitter asking to be the next challenger.

In fact, MacDonald even picked a date, asking to face Hendricks in Vancouver this June.

Does a recent decision win over Demian Maia make the young Canadian the next challenger? It’s tough to say, but his body of work is pretty strong.

UFC president Dana White seemed to be back on the MacDonald train after that performance, which came on the heels of a decision loss to Lawler and a much-criticized victory vs. Jake Ellenberger.

Tyron Woodley

MMA: UFC 167-Koscheck vs WoodleyAll Woodley did at UFC 171 was finish Carlos Condit. That’s not happened in years.

Sure, it came after Condit was injured, but Woodley caused the injury. Just like when Chris Weidman checked Anderson Silva’s kick and “The Spider” broke his leg, Woodley’s power was the reason.

After taking Condit down with a powerful slam, Woodley kicked out the other leg of the former interim champion, leaving him crumbled up on the canvas.

Woodley, though, is just 3-2 in his last five fights, including a knockout loss to Nate Marquardt in Strikeforce and a decision defeat to Jake Shields.

Hector Lombard

Using the old adage that says people only remember your most recent fight, Lombard could be the No. 1 challenger.

He dominated Shields for the majority of their three-round war, including a very strong opening round. However, as he tends to do, Lombard slowed dramatically.

Still, a win is a win, and against Shields, that really is saying something.

Like Woodley, though, Lombard is 3-2 with the promotion, including decision losses to Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch.

Nick Diaz

MMA: UFC 158-St. Pierre vs Diaz Weigh-InNormally, there would really be no chance of Diaz talking his way into a championship match after not competing for a year and coming off back-to-back losses.

But in this day and age, talking seems to be just as important as winning.

Diaz was in attendance, and even heckled Hendricks during his second weigh-in attempt in Dallas.

Could the former Strikeforce champion be coaxed back with a title shot? It would be hard to see him passing that by.

Would the UFC give him that? There is the million dollar question?

Follow MMAConvert

Fight Cards

UFC Fight Night 96: Lineker vs. Dodson

Event Date: October 1, 2016
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2

Event Date: October 8, 2016
Broadcast: PPV, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

UFC Fight Night 97: Lamas vs. Penn

Event Date: October 15, 2016
Broadcast: UFC Fight Pass

Bellator 162

Event Date: October 21, 2016
Broadcast: Spike TV

The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale

Event Date: November 5, 2016
Broadcast: TBD

Bellator 163: Koreshkov vs. Lima

Event Date: November 11, 2016
Broadcast: Spike Sports