Definitely, the guy has been utterly dominating his opposition and should he beat Dawson like he did to other guys he should be considered at least top 2.
P4p the SMW division is one of the best in all of boxing, really quality fighters.
Btw Dawson has said he's been able to make 168 for years now, even in the Adamek fight Dawson said he could easily make SMW.
I'd still like Ward to strengthen his resume even more by moving to 175, wins over guys like Pascal, Cloud, Cleverly, Campillo etc. would make him a hall of famer. And undeniably the best fighter in the world.