Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
A big left hand followed by a five-round war helped the picture came back into focus at 170 pounds.
UFC 154's top two fights demonstrated both that Georges St-Pierre, the champion since April 19, 2008, is still unquestionably the man to beat in the weight class, and with his one-punch knockout and fifth consecutive win, Johny Hendricks has earned his way to the number-one contenders position.
That's clear from the latest SB Nation welterweight rankings, as the champion, winner of 10 straight fights, swept all six first-place votes to take a no-brainer first place.
Hendricks, meanwhile, claimed five of six second-place votes to take second with 53 points.
Condit, meanwhile, didn't fall far after his 25-minute, all-out battle in a losing effort against St-Pierre at UFC 154. Four of six pollsters voted the former WEC champ and UFC interim champ third, enough to give him that third spot with 48 points overall.
Each fighter ranked from fourth through eighth were named on all six ballots. Jon Fitch, coming off his win over Erick Silva, took fourth place with 35 points. Meanwhile, just three points separated fifth place from eighth, as Martin Kampmann taking fifth with 30 points, followed by Jake Ellenberger with 29, Josh Koscheck with 28, and Rory MacDonald with 27.
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. At welterweight, the currently affects Nick Diaz, who is currently suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission).
- Georges St-Pierre (23-2, 60 points): The multi-million dollar question: Will St-Pierre fight Anderson Silva, or defend his title, possibly against Hendricks, next? The direction of the entire sport in 2013 rests on his decision.
- Johny Hendricks (15-1, 53 points): For all the fighters St-Pierre has defeated as champion, he's yet to meet one who combines Hendricks' level of wrestling with such heavy hands.
- Carlos Condit (28-6, 48 points): Still a relevant and dangerous fighter. Rematches with Kampmann or a returning Diaz would both be winners.
- Jon Fitch (24-4-1, 1 NC, 35 points): If the Fitch who showed up against Silva at UFC 153 sticks around, another run at a title shot wouldn't be a surpise.
- Martin Kampmann (20-6 30 points): A quality fighter who has demonstrated an ability to bounce back from losses before.
- Jake Ellenberger (28-6, 29 points): Will need a better performance than his most recent one against Jay Hieron if he's going to become a consistent top-five fighter.
- Josh Koscheck (17-6, 28 points): Does not yet have his next fight lined up, but whomever it ends up being, said fight will play a huge role in Koscheck's long-term relevance in the division.
- Rory MacDonald (13-1, 27 points): Will have a chance to make his big statement when he finally meets B.J. Penn on network television Dec. 8.
- Nate Marquardt (32-10-2, 10 points): With a successful Strikeforce title defense on Jan. 12 against Tarec Saffeidine, Marquardt would presumably punch his ticket back to the UFC.
- Demian Maia (17-4, 5 points): Has looked like a new fighter since dropping to 170 pounds. He'll have his chance to shoot up the rankings if he beats Fitch on Feb. 2.
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