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Divisional rankings: Welterweight

Tyron Woodley impressed at UFC 214 by defeating Demian Maia by unanimous decision. Christian Petersen/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 Sept. 26.


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 (18-3-1)
As a UFC champion, Woodley has faced two radical styles in Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. He's won both, but not been incredibly exciting in doing so. Pressure is now on to look good against an orthodox opponent.
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: UFC 217 on Nov. 4, vs. Jorge Masvidal

3. Robbie Lawler (27-11)
After taking a year off, Lawler was his usual entertaining self against Donald Cerrone at UFC 214. It doesn't seem as if reclaiming his welterweight title is a driving factor for him, but that opportunity may not be far away.
Next: TBD

4. Demian Maia (25-7)
As amazing as Maia can be using one very distinct skill, he can also be very underwhelming when that skill is shut down. Such was the case at UFC 214 against Tyron Woodley.

Next: UFC Fight Night on Oct. 28, vs. Colby Covington

5. Rory MacDonald (19-4)
New promotion, but same MacDonald. Making his Bellator MMA debut, MacDonald cruised to a submission finish over Paul Daley in enemy waters in London. The May appearance was his first in nearly one year, but there were no signs of rust. He'll fight for the promotion's 170-pound championship next.
Next: Bellator on Jan. 20, vs. Douglas Lima

6. Ben Askren (16-0)
Askren picked up an easy win against an overmatched opponent in Agilan Thani on May 26. The One Championship titleholder has had trouble staying active (through no fault of his own) and he continues to face competition that is not on his level. Less than ideal situation, that's not changing for the time being.
Next: One Championship on Nov. 24, vs. Shinya Aoki

7. Douglas Lima (30-6)
The secret is starting to get out on Lima, who was highly impressive in a five-round title defense against Larkin. The underrated Brazilian now eyes a matchup against Rory MacDonald.
Next: Bellator on Jan. 20, vs. Rory MacDonald

8. 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: UFC 217 on Nov. 4, vs. Stephen Thompson

9. Rafael dos Anjos (27-9)
The UFC's former lightweight champion has only had two fights thus far at welterweight, but they've been quite meaningful. His dominant submission win over Neil Magny, a perennially ranked opponent, in September was as impressive as they come.
Next: TBD

10. Donald Cerrone (32-9)
After a blazing four-fight win streak to start the welterweight chapter of his career, Cerrone has cooled off with losses to Jorge Masvidal and Robbie Lawler. Those are two ranked opponents though, and Cerrone is still in the mix at 170 pounds.
Next: After a blazing four-fight win streak to start the welterweight chapter of his career, Cerrone has cooled off with losses to Jorge Masvidal and Robbie Lawler. Those are two ranked opponents though, and Cerrone is still in the mix at 170 pounds.