After UFC 154, there is a heated conversation about what is going to happen to the Welterweight division from now on. Everything depends on GSP’s next fight. Should he face Anderson Silva in the biggest event in the history of MMA? Or should he clean up a division that is full of contenders thanks to his long-term absence?
What is going to happen with GSP is pretty clear to me. GSP will face Anderson Silva at spring, in an event that is going to write some history. If you doubt about it, think these: a) Highest-profit event ever, b) It is a fight that everyone (or almost everyone) wants to watch, c) Huge hype d) Magnificent chance to promote the sport. All these I think conclude that this fight must happen no matter what.
So, with the welterweight champion facing Anderson Silva at spring, his next title defence should be at least one year away from today. Due to his injury absence, some title contenders have emerged. Undoubtedly, Johny Hendricks is the #1 contender. But with Nick Diaz coming back from his suspension, Rory McDonald getting into the title picture for good if he wins BJ Pen next month, with Nate Marquardt possibly returning to UFC after Strikeforce’s final event and with Jake Ellenberger, Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann all a couple of wins from getting back into the conversation, the division can not stay 1 year without a champion. Considering these, the creation of an interim belt is the only solution again. That way, UFC keep the division active and as sorted as possible.
Hendricks claims he won’t fight again until he takes his shot at GSP, but whatever he says, he will be forced to enter the Octagon at least once more. The best opponent available is Nick Diaz, who he can face at February for the interim belt. Some say Hendricks should face McDonald, if he wins BJ Pen, but I am not interested in that fight because there is a guy like Nick Diaz waiting. I understand the reason Hendricks wants to wait for GSP, but under those circumstances that just can’t happen.
As for the other welterweight top guys? Carlos Condit, Martin Kampmann, Rory McDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Nate Marquardt, Josh Koscheck. Combine all those names every possible way. Between Condit’s 3 possible rematches, I prefer the one with Kampmann though.
Keeping Hendricks and the others active, UFC can make some hype about GSP’s next title defence. If Nick Diaz is the one, there are not many things to say. But if he is Hendricks? How could you possibly sell Hendricks as a legitimate opponent if he stays out for a year, avoiding
the whole division?
There are awesome things coming up at the Welterweight division...