FanPost

Can Yushin Okmai still get his title shot? (Hint: Yes) And, where does the welterweight division go without GSP?

People keep saying that Yushin Okami has lost his title shot, thanks to Dana White's decision to look for a Silva vs. GSP megafight, but I don't think this needs to be the case.  GSP still has to get past Jake Shields in April and has said he wants around nine months to add muscle to make the move to middleweight.  This gives the UFC the opportunity to have Silva continue cleaning out the division by facing Okami in July at UFC 132.  This works for different reasons.  First, it gives the July 4th weekend card Anderson Silva as a headliner.  Second, he has plenty of time to prepare.  And third, if Jake Shields were to stop GSP, the megafight goes away and Silva will have nothing scheduled.

More importantly, given GSP's stated timetable for the move to middleweight, he would not be ready to face Silva until December or, more likely, on the UFC's New Year's card, shelving Silva for the rest of 2011.  This provides a perfect opportunity for Silva to fight in five months against Okami, then five to six months to prepare for GSP.  The risk is that Silva could lose to Okami or be injured, but it's a gamble I think the UFC should make.  Silva should't be waiting ten or eleven months to fight GSP.  Both fighters are draws and need to remain active.  Worst case, GSP can still move up to middleweight and face Okami for the title if Silva loses or face another middleweight in a no. 1 contender's bout if Silva is hurt.  Either way, GSP will have cleaned out the welterweight division and needs to move up regardless.

As for the welterweight division, once GSP leaves, a new champion will need to be crowned.  GSP would relinquish the belt after his victory in April, which means a new champion would be determined this summer.  That would probably leave the winner of Fitch-Penn to fight the winner of Condit-Lytle on the UFC 131 card in June for the vacant belt.  Maybe the winner of Kampmann-Sanchez could leapfrog Lytle with an impressive win, but I don't think either would get moved ahead of Fitch, Penn or Condit.  Thiago Alves is scheduled for May and could move into the picture, but since he has already lost twice to Fitch and hasn't had a solid history of  making weight, he's probably not much of an option that soon, barring multiple injuries.  Most likely, the winner of Kampmann-Sanchez would see a late fall/winter title shot or take on Alves for one.   Of course if GSP leaves the welterweight division, Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck will have a shorter path back to contention and might quickly be back in the mix.




\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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