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October 2011 MMA Recap: GSP Hurts Knee, Nick Diaz Beats Up B.J. Penn, Chael Sonnen Returns

B.J. Penn was frustrated following his defeat at the hands of Nick Diaz at October's UFC 137. (Photo: <a href="">Esther Lin/MMA Fighting</a>)
B.J. Penn was frustrated following his defeat at the hands of Nick Diaz at October's UFC 137. (Photo: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

As 2011 began to rumble toward its wintry end, one of the best fighters in the world and an all-time great was faced with a serious injury, a former champion was battered in what could be his last fight and the final part of a trilogy was as good as advertised.

October 2011: Of Knee-Jerk Reactions

After winning 30 straight rounds and eight straight going into his April 2011 title defense against Jake Shields, it turned out that Georges St. Pierre's toughest opponent was his body as he was pulled from his scheduled UFC 137 title defense against Carlos Condit with two weeks notice due to a knee injury.

Nick Diaz took full advantage of his main event opportunity, ripping apart B.J. Penn with strikes at UFC 137 and cutting an infamous post-fight speech that riled up GSP so much that he leapfrogged Condit to take back his title shot.

Diaz said St. Pierre wasn't hurt but was scared to face him and according to Dana White, GSP demanded he fight Diaz next. White said Condit was fine with it. Uh huh. Penn said he was retiring, but later explained he was going to take some time off instead.


UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard weren't mainstream sports sensations going into 2011, but did gain some praise among casual MMA fans for their January 1st Fight Of The Year candidate that ended in a draw. Injuries to both men delayed the third fight in their trilogy, but the UFC 136 main event was worth the wait. Edgar TKO'd Maynard in the fourth round in a battle that played out much like their second one did.

Chael Sonnen returned to action for the first time in more than a year and ran through Brian Stann to seemingly earn an anticipated rematch with Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. He also cut a great post-fight promo (ala Diaz) where he challenged Silva to a bout where if Silva lost, he would leave the 185-pound division and if Sonnen lost, he'd "leave the UFC forever". Outlandish? Yes. Awesome? Double yes. Silva's people said that Sonnen didn't deserve another shot.

While a relatively small amount of people purchased the pay-per-view, it also featured a successful title defense by 145-pound champion Jose Aldo over Kenny Florian and a surprise submission victory by Joe Lauzon over top lightweight contender Melvin Guillard.


The quest of Rashad Evans to earn another 205-pound title shot suffered a setback as White booked UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida for December's UFC 140 despite rumors that Evans had got the nod. Jones said Evans was ducking him, but an Evans hand injury wouldn't be healed in time for a Toronto show that White desperately wanted a name-value main event for.

For the rest of the month that was October, join us after the jump.

Other Stuff That Happened

UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson in a fun, under-appreciated unanimous decision, the first free TV UFC title match in years...Dana White said that Gilbert Melendez was heading to the UFC (and so did Cesar Gracie) but he had to defend his title against Masvidal first. Melendez was excited to head over. Poor guy...Jon Anik did join the UFC, brought over from ESPN to head up the play-by-play on FX events.

Viacom purchased the majority stake in Bellator and announced plans to move the promotion to Spike TV in 2013. Eddie Alvarez said he was interesting in buying the promotion at one point...UFC PPVs moved back to 10 PM EST...Kimbo Slice had another quick boxing KO...The UFC decided not to use their return to Japan as a lead-in for a U.S. PPV...Mirko Cro Cop announced his retirement.

Fans had to prepare for the end of the UFC Gladiator Guy...Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort were rumored as coaches for the launch of TUF Brazil...Dana White said he would welcome a gay fighter in the UFC...Brett Rogers was arrested again...Kenny Florian said he was going to return to lightweight...Shane Carwin had back surgery and was out until mid-2012...Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler was rebooked for November.

Kurt Angle was justthisclose to being in the TUF 10 house but failed a physical...Brock Lesnar signed a deal to appear in a WWE video game...Tim Kennedy was rumored as heading to the UFC...Showtime Sports lead Ken Hershman left for HBO Sports, an important move toward Zuffa/Strikeforce negotiations...Antonio McKee said Dana White should be voted out of the UFC.

Full archive of October stories on Bloody Elbow

Past Monthly Recaps: