By now every MMA fan has had time to digest Conor McGregor's loss to Nate Diaz. For our ratings there are ramifications, of course. Naturally our top ten pound-for-pound rankings, where McGregor was at #9 prior to the bout, are affected.
SportsRatings MMA pound-for-pound top 20, as of March 5th bouts:
|Prev||Rank||Fighter||WC||Rating||Rated Record||Early March results|
|1||1||Jon Jones||LH||98.39||15-1-0||last win -14 months.|
|2||2||Georges St. Pierre||WW||83.61||23-2-0||last win -28 months.|
|5||5||Rafael dos Anjos||LW||73.06||16-5-0|
|11||10||Cain Velasquez||HW||46.22||10-2-0||last win -29 months.|
|113||14||Nate Diaz||WW||37.66||17-10-0||Beat #9 Conor McGregor|
|15||15||Jose Aldo||FW||37.54||17-2-0||last win -17 months.|
|9||18||Conor McGregor||WW||34.11||7-1-0||Lost to #113 Nate Diaz|
McGregor remains in the top 20 while Diaz jumps to his highest ranking ever at #14. For now, it looks like neither #5 Rafael dos Anjos nor #8 Robbie Lawler will be facing McGregor any time soon; Diaz might get a shot at either one, depending on whether he remains at 170 or returns to 155.
For our weight class ratings we face a dilemma; where do we put McGregor and Diaz? McGregor is likely to return to 145 but there's no guarantee, and Diaz's plans aren't clear either. So for now we're going to rank them where they just fought: at Welterweight. This adds to a rather confusing picture at the 170 weight class.
SportsRatings Welterweight rankings for April, 2016 (fights through March 5th)
|Prev||Rank||Fighter||WC||Rating||Rated Record||March 5 Results|
|1||1||Georges St. Pierre||WW||83.61||23-2-0||last rated win -28 months.|
|28||4||Nate Diaz||WW||37.66||17-10-0||Beat #3 Conor McGregor|
|3||6||Conor McGregor||WW||34.11||7-1-0||Lost to #28 Nate Diaz|
|6||7||Ben Askren||WW||31.18||8-0-0||last rated win -19 months.|
|8||9||Tyron Woodley||WW||29.17||10-3-0||last rated win -14 months.|
First, of course, we still rank George St. Pierre at #1, though since he hasn't fought in over two years he's declared inactive and the interim Welterweight belt goes to UFC champ and #2 Robbie Lawler. At #3 is Shinya Aoki, who fought at 155 until a recent catchweight bout with Kazushi Sakuraba. Going forward, Aoki may stay at 170 since he, along with all One Championship fighters, are moving up a weight class due to the promotion's new no-weight-cut policy. #7 Ben Askren is also affected by the policy and thus we assume he'll be fighting at 185—a Welterweight in name according to One, but a Middleweight in actual mass.
Then we have Nate Diaz at #4. Diaz claimed he had told Dana White he was going to move up to 170 anyway. We'll see where he lands. #5 Donald Cerrone only recently moved up to 170 as well. Is he permanent? With Conor McGregor at #6, that leaves Lawler as the only active, permanent Welterweight among our top seven.
Rounding out the top ten we have Bellator's Benson Henderson who has fought at 170 for over a year; #9 Tyron Woodley is a true Welterweight but hasn't fought in over a year. Rousimar Palhares is serving a 2-year suspension for fighting dirty against Jake Shields.
In short, Welterweight is the most messed-up division in MMA, full of transients and the inactive. But in some ways it has the potential to be the most interesting division, too. With Diaz at least a temporary big name, Lawler a compelling belt-holder, and the possible return of GSP, the division's unpredictability might become an asset.