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Divisional rankings: Welterweight

Demian Maia defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision, setting up a welterweight title bout with Tyron Woodley. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Plus, check out our women's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through May 16.


Divisional Rankings

Heavyweight | Light heavyweight
Middleweight | Welterweight | Lightweight
Featherweight | Bantamweight | Flyweight
Women's bantamweight | Women's strawweight


WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (UP TO 170 POUNDS)

1. Tyron Woodley (17-3-1)
With a title defense officially in the books against Stephen Thompson at UFC 209, Woodley said he's looking forward to getting back to fighting a more "traditional" opponent in his next bout. Can't blame him for that.
Next: TBD

2. Stephen Thompson (13-2-1)
Thompson pretty much came as close as one possibly can to winning a UFC title, but ultimately came up just short. He's still the No. 2 welterweight in the world, but he'll need Woodley to lose if he wants to get back in a title fight any time soon.
Next: TBD

3. Demian Maia (25-6)
In a high-risk fight, Maia came through in May by defeating Jorge Masvidal via split decision. He's an anomaly in modern-day mixed martial arts: one-dimensional. You know what's coming. Still can't stop it.
Next: TBD

4. Robbie Lawler (27-11)
It wasn't Lawler's night at UFC 201. Whether that was the result of one mistake against Tyron Woodley or the first evidence of his previous wars coming back to haunt him is up for debate. For what it's worth, Lawler says it's the former.
Next: UFC 213 on July 8, vs. Donald Cerrone

5. Rory MacDonald (18-4)
In his first appearance since a taxing TKO loss to Robbie Lawler in 2015, MacDonald couldn't get much going against the tricky Stephen Thompson. In August, the 27-year-old announced he'd signed a multi-year contract with Bellator MMA.
Next: Bellator 179 on May 19, vs. Paul Daley

6. Neil Magny (19-5)
This oft-overlooked welterweight is now 11-2 in his last 13 fights, with wins over Johny Hendricks, Hector Lombard and Kelvin Gastelum. He had a bad performance against Lorenz Larkin in 2016, but has pretty much been Mr. Reliable otherwise.
Next: TBD

7. Ben Askren (15-0)
Askren rolled (and grappled) to a five-round unanimous decision over Nikolay Aleksakhin in April 2016. The ONE Championship titleholder has still never lost, but he's only fought twice in two years, against middling competition.
Next: One Championship on May 26, vs. Agilan Thani

8. Lorenz Larkin (18-5)
Larkin ran off a 4-1 record at welterweight, after a disappointing stretch in the middleweight division in 2014. His last two wins came against Neil Magny and Jorge Masvidal. He's since jumped ship to Bellator MMA and will fight immediately for the title.
Next: Bellator: NYC, vs. Douglas Lima

9. Jorge Masvidal (32-12)
A setback for Masvidal against Demian Maia at UFC 211 shouldn't hurt him too bad. He's still in good shape in the welterweight division. His past four losses have all come via close split decision.
Next: TBD

10. Douglas Lima (28-6)
The Bellator MMA champion scored a loud knockout victory over Andrey Koreshkov in November. His last two wins have come against Koreshkov and Paul Daley and he's won seven of his last eight.
Next: NYC, vs. Lorenz Larkin