UFC Welterweight rankings: Vicente Luque closing in on the top-5

ufc welterweight rankings
Aug 7, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Vicente Luque (blue gloves) reacts to the fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC 265 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division is as formidable as it has been in years. However, when you have such a dominant champion reigning on top, the question is: Who will be the fighter to rise up and derail Usman’s growing legend? With that in mind, here are the official MixedMartialArts.com UFC rankings for the top-10 in the welterweight division.

UFC Welterweight rankings

10. Neil Magny (25-8)

Like Vicent Luque, Neil Magny has been a consistent and steady talent in the division for quite some time. And at 33, he seems to be rounding into the best version of himself. His January loss to Michael Chiesa was a setback that derailed a hot streak, but “The Haitian Sensation’s” May bounce-back W over Geoff Neal quickly made up for it.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

9. Michael Chiesa (18-5)

At UFC 265, former lightweight Michael Chiesa found himself right on the precipice of a welterweight title opportunity. He had been red hot since switching divisions and was building a rep as arguably the best submission artist in the weight class. Then Vicente Luque put a halt to that by handing the American the fourth submission defeat of his career in the opening round of their bout. In November, Chiesa will face unranked but also talented and unbeaten fast-rising talent Sean Brady in a fight with more risk than reward.

  • Next fight: vs. Sean Brady (November 20)

8. Belal Muhammad (19-3)

Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad is like Leon Edwards in being a criminally underappreciated talent at welterweight. While he may not be as flashy as others, racking up a 10-3-1 record in the top promotion in the world deserves respect. And after his dominant UFC 263 win over former two-time title contender Demian Maia, he seems to finally be receiving his well-earned respect (and event got to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game). In the midst of a six-fight unbeaten run, the Chicago native needs a big name next to prove if he has real staying power in the top-10.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

7. Jorge Masvidal (35-15)

Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal’s window to title contention may be shut after two straight title fight losses to champion Kamaru Usman. If Colby Covington were able to beat the champ in November that could certainly change things, since the two are former besties turned enemies. Bbut unless that happens, Masvidal is now in search of his next money fight. Who that opponent could be is hard to say. The fanbase is not clamoring for a “BMF” title rematch with Nate Diaz, and Conor McGregor is on the shelf until 2022. However, expectation are that Masvidal should have a new booking soon.

Next fight: No fight booked yet

6. Vicente Luque (21-7)

ufc welterweight rankings
Aug 7, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Vicente Luque (blue gloves) reacts to the fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC 265 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Vicente Luque quieted many doubters at UFC 265. Not because he was expected to lose to Michael Chiesa. He was actually the betting favorite going into the fight. It was about how he won. By snatching up Chiesa’s neck and making him tap out in the first round of their matchup, the Brazilian showed he truly was much more than just a durable brawler with evolving skills as a striker. He is a well-rounded competitor who can hand out KOs and submissions. It was a monumental win that now has him right in the middle of the conversation to get the winner of the title fight between Usman and Covington in November.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

5. Stephen Thompson (16-5)

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson’s ability to maintain a spot in the top-five at welterweight has been remarkable. It’s one thing to be top-level with grappling at 38-years-old, but to do so with an all striking style is unbelievable. That said, his UFC 264 defeat to Burns most likely closed the door on his hopes to contend for a championship ever again. Meaning Thompson may become an elite gatekeeper at welterweight going forward.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

4. Leon Edwards (19-3)

Although Leon Edwards is not in the top spot on this list, he is our top choice for the most underappreciated fighter in the division. Going unbeaten in his last 10 fights has done little to build momentum from enough fans hoping to see him in a title fight soon. And despite outclassing Nate Diaz for 24 minutes at UFC 263, most fans prefer to remember the final minute when “Rocky” was hurt and on the brink of a terrible loss. The 29-year-old is undoubtedly an elite 170-pounder, a title eliminator fight against Gilbert Burns would make a lot of sense.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

3. Colby Covington (16-2)

ufc welterweight rankings
Aug 3, 2019; Newark, NJ, USA; Colby Covington (red gloves) fights Robbie Lawler (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Colby Covington feels like a bizarro version of Usman. He has the same outstanding wrestling, same elite level cardio, and has lost few rounds in his climb to the top of the division. However, where Usman has developed power in his hands, “Chaos” instead is an output machine on the level of the Diaz brothers. The champion showed strength in his punches when he broke Covington’s jaw in their first fight at UFC 245 two years ago. It will be interesting to see the adjustments the 33-year-old makes to steal the title away in his second chance at his hated rival’s belt in November.

  • Next fight: vs. Kamara Usman at UFC 268 (November 6)

2. Gilbert Burns (20-4)

Gilbert Burns’ evolution from a solid lightweight talent into one of the top welterweights in the world has been one of the best stories of the last two years. “Durinho’s” success has come about because he has evolved from an outstanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner competing in MMA, to one of the most complete threats in the entire weight class. His activity in being the best welterweight, not named Kamaru Usman over the last two years, is why he gets the second spot over a former interim champion in Covington.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

1. Champion: Kamaru Usman (19-1)

UFC 261. ufc welterweight rankings, kamaru usman
Dec 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kamaru Usman (red gloves) reacts after defeating Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Current welterweight king Kamara Usman has not lost a fight in eight years. And he likely has only lost about as many rounds over his last 18 bouts. He proved his worthiness as a pound-for-pound star in his knockout win of Jorge Masvidal in April. The man that was once considered a grinding wrestler with endless cardio has now become a feared striker with three KOs in his last four wins. His rematch with Colby Covington in November will see him face the only fighter to actually win multiple rounds over him during his UFC career.

  • Next fight: vs. Colby Covington at UFC 268 (November 6)
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