The UFC welterweight division is without doubt an extremely strong one within the promotion. With the champion, Kamaru Usman dominating thus far during his UFC career, a number of viable contenders and interesting rematches, it is an exciting division. With that being said, few ‘new contenders’ are coming to the forefront and therefore we ask the question: ‘Could the UFC Welterweight Division soon become stale?’.
Could the UFC Welterweight Division become Stale Soon?
The Champion – Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman has reigned supreme over the UFC welterweight division since his dominant victory of the recently released, Tyron Woodley back in March 2019 at UFC 235. Since that shut out, he’s made four defences of his title. In his most recent two bouts, he’s looked devastating and this is why he’s ranked #2 on the UFC’s P4P list.
Beginning his reign with a war against Colby Covington, notching a fifth round TKO victory, he defeated Jorge Masvidal next. A fight with former teammate Gilbert Burns saw him extend his winning run to 17. A rematch after this against Masvidal solidified him as one of the best to ever do it at 170lbs.
Contenders for Usman’s Strap
If UFC president Dana White is to be believed, former interim title contender, Colby Covington will be next for Kamaru Usman. Despite Leon Edwards enjoying a 10 fight undefeated run with a win over Nate Diaz (just about) this past weekend, it doesn’t appear that a title shot could be next for ‘Rocky’.
Stephen Thompson is set to face Gilbert Burns at UFC 264. With a fresh face to battle Usman, a very different style and the experience in big fights having competed for the belt twice previously, Thompson could become the next contender after Covington with a win over Burns.
It broke on Monday that we would be seeing Vicente Luque face off against Michael Chiesa at UFC 265 in August. A win for Chiesa would take him to 5-0 at welterweight. A Luque win would see him progress to 10-1 in his last 11.
Jorge Masvidal is also still knocking around the top ten, as is Belal Muhammad.
Stale at 170?
Let’s play hypothetical here:
Usman rematches Covington and wins again.
Edwards gets his grudge match with Masivdal and loses.
Burns defeats Thompson at UFC 265.
Luque defeats Chiesa in August.
If these hypotheticals were to come to fruition, who competes for the belt next? Covington is out of the picture with two losses to the champion and would need another few wins to put himself anywhere near contention.
Masvidal has twice been beaten handily by Usman previously. Firstly he dominated him in the wrestling realm, then he knocked him cold the second time of asking. There is no one clambering for a third fight between the two men as the previous two haven’t been competitive at all.
If Burns defeats Thompson, it eliminates one of the most viable contenders in Wonderboy. Also, Burns certainly didn’t look like he had anything to truly trouble Usman in their first bout. Despite hurting ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ early in the bout, he was well beaten, out struck and out worked.
If Luque does defeat Chiesa, it again kills a viable contender in Chiesa. Luque was dominated by Thompson back in 2019, 30-26 X2 and 29-27. There would be an argument that to get a shot at the belt, Luque would have to defeat Thompson first.
Few ‘new’ contenders are coming to the forefront at 170lbs and although as it stands the division is strong, the dominance of the champion is putting out the fire of the division. Comparisons to the UFC women’s flyweight division are being made, however, Valentina Shevchenko has defeated seven different women in her flyweight career and is set to face an eighth different contender. With Usman, he’s defeated the top three contenders, as well as holding victories over a number of other big names. In fairness, you can only beat what’s in front of you, but some new blood at 170lbs would certainly be exciting.
There is one contender that could come out of the woodwork in the UFC welterweight division, however. Ranked in the top 15? No. 3-4 in his last seven bouts. 0-2 in his last two fights. 13 professional losses. A huge name, yes. One of the biggest UFC draws? Yes. One name, Nate Diaz. It couldn’t, could it?
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