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UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks - Pre-fight thoughts

Tim B. takes a quick look at tonight's UFC 167 card and offers up some thoughts on how the night might progress.

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The day is finally upon us. The welterweight title has been just out of of the grasp of top contender Johny Hendricks for a long time now, but he finally gets his shot against Georges St-Pierre tonight at UFC 167. Once the fighters step into the cage, all the WADA/VADA/yada talk will disappear and the two men will compete to see who the top dog is. The outcome will shape the division for a long time going forward.

If GSP can successfully defend his title for the ninth time in a row, will he decide enough is enough and choose to retire? I think the possibility definitely exists, despite what UFC president Dana White would have you believe. Rumor is that he has something special that he wants to say post-fight. Could it be that? We'll have to wait and see. But that is probably contingent on a win.

But what if he doesn't win? What if Johny Hendricks becomes the first man to defeat him in over six years? Hendricks offered GSP an immediate rematch if he won, but White downplayed that as well. A new champion opens up a plethora of new matchmaking opportunities, but would likely be very damaging to the number of PPV buys the welterweight division (ie. GSP) does. I haven't been as interested in the outcome of a fight in quite some time, and I don't have to wait much longer.

The co-main event offers some intrigue as well, but in a different way than the main event does. Rashad Evans appears to be at the crossroads of a great career - he hasn't looked like the Rashad of old lately, that's for sure. Would a loss to Chael Sonnen finally send him down to 185 pounds? Does a win get him closer to his desired goal, another shot at Jon Jones? And what about Chael? His near future is booked no matter how this fight turns out, so there's not a lot on the line for him. Will that affect his mentality in the cage?

The other main card fights are pretty interesting as well. I firmly believe that Rory MacDonald is going to dominate Robbie Lawler, and that Josh Koscheck can handle Tyron Woodley if he can still take a shot. The flyweight fight should be an awesome affair and I have no idea who's going to win. Overall, it's a deep card completely worthy of your hard earned money. They're certainly getting mine.

Predictions:

Fight of the Night: Donald Cerrone vs. Evan Dunham

Knockout of the Night: Sergio Pettis

Submission of the Night: Erik Perez