The UFC welterweight division is a mess. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it does make things a bit tricky for the UFC going forward, because there is no clear-cut No. 1 contender for new UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. And because of that, a number of top-ranked welterweights have asked for the next title shot. First was Tyron Woodley, who defeated Carlos Condit via injury TKO at UFC 171 and who asked for a title shot in the cage that night. Woodley is overall 3-1 in the UFC and his skill-set could bring problems to Hendricks, but the victory over Condit was very weird and not everyone is buying him as a contender after Condit’s knee buckled and he was unable to continue their fight. Next was Rory MacDonald, who took to Twitter after UFC 171 to call out Hendricks. MacDonald is coming off a big win over Demian Maia at UFC 170 and is overall 7-2 in the UFC — plus his role as former champ Georges St-Pierre’s main training partner could help him jump into that next contender’s spot — but his recent loss to Robbie Lawler showed to me that he’s not yet ready for a crack at the belt, and at only 24 years of age I believe the UFC should take their time with MacDonald. And speaking of Lawler, although he hasn’t been vocal about getting a rematch with Hendricks, he’s certainly in the running after he and the new champ fought a brilliant back-and-forth fight. So just because he just had his chance at the belt doesn’t mean he won’t get another one — and I don’t think anyone would complain if he did get an immediate rematch considering how amazing the fight with Hendricks was. Then there’s Hector Lombard, who defeated Jake Shields in dominant fashion at UFC 171 and who asked for a title shot on Twitter. Lombard is a beast of a fighter and a former Bellator middleweight champ, and as far as styles go he matches up very well against Hendricks. But he’s just 3-2 overall in the UFC and just one year ago was on the losing end of a decision to Yushin Okami, who isn’t even in the UFC anymore. So it’s hard to say he’d be next for a title shot, even though he is a perfect 2-0 since dropping to the UFC welterweight division. And finally, there’s Nick Diaz, who hasn’t won a fight since 2011 and who is on a two-fight losing streak but who is being talked about in the title picture because his legion of loyal fans believe he is special and should get privileges other fights don’t. Although I am a fan of Diaz, he needs to get a win before he’s considered for a title shot, although I do think the UFC will consider him (fairly or unfairly) as Hendricks’ next opponent just because of his name. If GSP came out of retirement today and told the UFC he wanted to fight Hendricks, then the problem of the UFC welterweight division being a mess would be solved immediately. But it’s not likely GSP is going to come back anytime soon, and because of his absence from the sport, the weight division he was once king of is now in a very, very strange spot. So we’ll see what the UFC does, but if anything, letting Hendricks have a break from action for a bit to heal up and rest while the rest of the welterweights fight in a pseudo-tournament isn’t a terrible idea. But the UFC likely has an idea of what they want to do, and I think in the next few weeks we’ll get a much clearer picture of what they are planning on.
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