Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Power Rankings: Welterweight Division

Here’s a look at my updated power rankings for all UFC welterweights. These ratings are based on my proprietary statistical model and are based on the following statistics (identified by the model as being the best predictive factors): significant strikes, knockdowns, takedowns, age, and Fight Matrix rating.

The model considers Benson Henderson to be the sixth best welterweight in the UFC right now, which is impressive given the quality of some of the fighters rated below him. Henderson doesn’t always dazzle crowds when he competes, but he’s skilled at all aspects of mixed martial arts and is very sound defensively. He’s also very well conditioned; there’s no obvious weakness in Henderson’s game for opponents to attack.

As for Brandon Thatch, his rating is above average at 0.36 but he still has quite a way to go before he can be considered a true title contender. Thatch’s talent and pure striking power was on full display in the first two rounds of his loss to Henderson, but his ground game needs a lot of work, and he needs to figure out the right balance between fighting to finish and pacing himself in longer fights. Thatch’s upside is high but he remains a prospect in relative terms.

Neil Magny rates just well enough to place in the top ten of the division. This is why I was disappointed by the UFC’s decision to book him against Kiichi Kunimoto (fourth from the bottom). Magny really deserves to be taking on tougher opponents. I don’t know if this is the best time for him to be fighting guys like Matt Brown or Dong Hyun Kim, but I’d like to see him face somebody who’s at least in the top 25 at welterweight.

Current champion Robbie Lawler actually rates behind the man he just beat, Johny Hendricks. I think it’s fair – in my opinion, Hendricks has won six of the ten rounds he’s fought against Lawler. Rory MacDonald rates above both of them. Even though MacDonald has a loss to Lawler on his record, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he wins the championship.

There are two ratings I think are really off. One is Cathal Pendred (0.60). Pendred scores well because he’s been winning, but I think it’s a stretch to say he really beat Sean Spencer (-0.31). Pendred probably represents the biggest gap between how good a fighter looks, and how good his statistics are.

The other rating I think is off is Yoshihiro Akiyama (-1.33). The model doesn’t know what to do with Akiyama, a fighter who has piled up dismal statistics against top-notch competition. Akiyama also is 39 years old and Amir Sadollah is the only fighter he’s beaten since 2009. Still, I think Akiyama’s skill set alone should be enough for him to beat the Leonardo Mafras of the world.

Also note that I’m including Kelvin Gastelum on this list despite his mandatory trek to middleweight. That’s simply because his last fight was against a welterweight in Tyron Woodley.

The top prospects in the division are: Albert Tumenov, Dhiego Lima, and Warlley Alves.

Rank Fighter Rating
 1 Rory MacDonald 3.14
 2 Johny Hendricks 2.62
 3 Robbie Lawler 2.37
 4 Tyron Woodley 1.92
 5 Hector Lombard 1.76
 6 Benson Henderson 1.69
 7 Rick Story 1.55
 8 Kelvin Gastelum 1.42
 9 Matt Brown 1.41
 10 Neil Magny 1.35
 11 Dong Hyun Kim 1.34
 12 Ryan LaFlare 1.31
 13 Jordan Mein 1.22
 14 Jake Ellenberger 1.19
 15 Demian Maia 1.17
 16 Mike Pierce 1.12
 17 Carlos Condit 0.99
 18 Tarec Saffiedine 0.84
 19 Albert Tumenov 0.79
 20 Thiago Alves 0.79
 21 Stephen Thompson 0.72
 22 Court McGee 0.67
 23 John Hathaway 0.64
 24 Cathal Pendred 0.60
 25 Josh Burkman 0.57
 26 Dhiego Lima 0.55
 27 Gunnar Nelson 0.46
 28 Kenny Robertson 0.45
 29 Warlley Alves 0.41
 30 Lorenz Larkin 0.40
 31 Brandon Thatch 0.36
 32 Tim Means 0.31
 33 William Macario 0.30
 34 Nicholas Musoke 0.27
 35 George Sullivan 0.27
 36 Ben Saunders 0.21
 37 Richard Walsh 0.18
 38 Alex Garcia 0.17
 39 Claudio Henrique da Silva 0.16
 40 Lance Benoist 0.14
 41 Colby Covington 0.10
 42 Hyun Gyu Lim 0.08
 43 Nordine Taleb 0.06
 44 Kyle Noke 0.05
 45 Brian Ebersole 0.04
 46 Zak Cummings 0.04
 47 Josh Koscheck 0.02
 48 Omari Akhmedov -0.00
 49 T.J. Waldburger -0.01
 50 Augusto Montano -0.06
 51 Mike Pyle -0.07
 52 Alan Jouban -0.15
 53 Leon Edwards -0.21
 54 Hector Urbina -0.25
 55 Joe Riggs -0.29
 56 Sean Spencer -0.31
 57 John Howard -0.33
 58 Siyar Bahadurzada -0.33
 59 Erick Silva -0.34
 60 Dan Miller -0.37
 61 Alberto Mina -0.40
 62 Li Jingliang -0.42
 63 Hernani Perpetuo -0.43
 64 Patrick Cote -0.46
 65 Sultan Aliev -0.48
 66 Sergio Moraes -0.49
 67 Peter Sobotta -0.50
 68 Andreas Stahl -0.56
 69 Matt Dwyer -0.56
 70 Gasan Umalatov -0.56
 71 Wendell Oliveira -0.57
 72 Igor Araujo -0.60
 73 Seth Baczynski -0.62
 74 Santiago Ponzinibbio -0.65
 75 Marcio Alexandre -0.66
 76 Wang Sai -0.66
 77 Edgar Garcia -0.67
 78 Shinsho Anzai -0.76
 79 Amir Sadollah -0.76
 80 Viscardi Andrade -0.77
 81 Leonardo Mafra -0.77
 82 Pawel Pawlak -0.82
 83 Chris Clements -0.97
 84 Luiz Dutra -0.99
 85 Kiichi Kunimoto -1.01
 86 Yoshihiro Akiyama -1.33
 87 Vik Grujic -1.60
 88 Jorge Oliveira -2.02

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