Booking Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz Shows UFC Learned Lesson From Jones vs. Evans

photo: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

It feels like ages ago that we were talking about a fight between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones the same way we talk about Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz. Both situations involved a title fight that people wanted to see but each situation had a much different outcome.

Jones may have just won the title, but the storyline that existed based on broken loyalties, betrayal and stolen title shots had a fight with Evans set to be a starmaking performance. Jones needed "that guy" to become something more than just an amazing talent in the cage, something that never has sold incredibly well on its own in the fight game, and he had it in Rashad.

A hand injury to Jones which initially was announced to need surgery and then was announced not to led to Evans fighting at UFC 133 against Tito Ortiz and Jones fighting at UFC 135 against Quinton Jackson, a little over one month separating the fights.

The interest in Evans vs. Jones is still there but it has cooled, and the UFC's unwillingness to shift things around to make the fight happen in September led to two lukewarm events instead of creating one major fight. Now it's Evans who is hurt and we will see Jones face Lyoto Machida in an interesting fight but one that will still fail to provide that huge fight for Jones.

It appears that the UFC has learned their lesson from missing a major opportunity with the GSP vs. Diaz situation. I didn't buy Diaz's ability to sell a fight with St. Pierre at UFC 137, thinking he didn't yet have the cache with UFC fans needed to make the event truly big. I think they received a major blessing when they were forced to shuffle Diaz in against Penn.

The performance Nick gave created an instant buzz and the in-cage call-out of St. Pierre and Georges' reaction to the situation provided solid gold for promoting a fight. Now you had an established UFC star with a huge win and plenty of buzz set to face your top PPV draw.

Alas, UFC president Dana White had guaranteed the media that it would be Carlos Condit still receiving his title shot at St. Pierre "no matter the outcome."

Taking a promoter at his word is a losing game though as Dana smartly realized what he had and the need to strike while the iron was hot. Condit can wait, the public wants to see Diaz vs. Penn.

Had they passed on making the fight they'd have had to have given Diaz another fight before his title shot, he couldn't have waited on the sidelines until the Summer. At that point there is a risk of him losing or either fighter getting hurt and blowing a big event.

It's okay to feel bad for Condit, but this is a business and he was the hardest product to sell in the situation. The UFC made the move they needed to make and that shows growth since the Jones/Evans situation only a few months earlier.

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