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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz’ Edition

(If there was ever an image that summed up Nick Diaz’s mental state at all times, this is it. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.) 

By Jack Saladino

After months, nay, years of hype, trash-talking, late night hotel stalking incidents, and promises of Georges St. Pierre unleashing “his dark side,” UFC 158 finally transpired last weekend to mixed reception. While no one was left questioning how great the night’s co-main event battle between Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks was, GSP’s one-sided, grappling-heavy routing of Nick Diaz — which has become the champ’s M.O. as of late — left more than a few fans wondering just what it would take to get St. Pierre to actually try and finish an opponent. Because if that was his dark side, well, it looked a hell of a lot like his regular side.

On the other side of the coin, many fans saw GSP’s performance as the epitome of dominance and classiness in the face of an adversary that thrives when coercing opponents into playing his game, often through mental warfare and now attempted cheap shots after the bell. Based on his continually skyrocketing ticket sales, it appears that no one has grown tired of St. Pierre’s shtick just yet, but will a fight with Hendricks succeed in bringing in anywhere near as many ticket/PPV sales? And if not Hendricks, then who?

It’s not an easy question for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to answer, but luckily for him, this is typically the time when the Armchair Matchmaker swoops in and all but does his job for him. So join us after the jump as we break down the potential futures of last weekend’s biggest winners (and some of the losers) in an effort to once again bail out Silva and get ourselves back into the UFC’s good graces. You could detect the sarcasm in that last statement, right?

Georges St. Pierre: Hendricks, then a long awaited superfight with Anderson Silva, then retirement. What…have you not heard about the welterweight champion’s secret UFC exit/world domination plan yet? Well we suggest that you break free from the conformist, white-washed shell of ignorance you’ve been living in all these years and get with the Goddamn picture. Also, the destruction of the Death Star was an inside job. Time to wake up, Taters.

Nick DiazWho the hell knows, man? In the weeks leading up to the fight, Diaz seemed like he was going to face facts and actually own up if he lost. Again, seemed. And as he could have hoped for, the Stocktonian had plenty of opportunities to punch GSP in the face without the fear of being taken down or rode like a pony during the fight itself. But of course, once he lost, things quickly devolved into the Tazmanian Devil-esque whir of incompetence and contradicting statements that only Nick Diaz can bring to the table.

While I love Nick, I think he should stick to fights with guys that actually want to stand up and fight. Guys with little-to-nothing to lose. Guys who aren’t afraid of a good old fashioned barnburner. Martin Kampmann expressed a desire to fight Diaz after he lost to GSP, which Diaz fans took as an insult (because of course they did) and took to the twit-o-sphere with a Stockton backlash. That might be the fuel Diaz needs to come in and showcase some of that boxing we all miss. Kampmann is no slouch either, compiling a nice winning streak until his flash KO against Hendricks last November. Two fighters with a slew of KO’s and subs who all but detest the thought of a decision victory; who wouldn’t want to see that matchup?

Jake “The Juggernaut, BITCH!” Ellenberger: Ellenberger looked absolutely menacing against Nate Marquardt, in what was slated to be a “don’t blink” kind of matchup. After a few exchanges, Jake was able to back Marquardt up against the cage and turn a missed body kick into a 1-2 combo that left Nate slumped in the corner, face down, ass up. Ellenberger certainly solidified that meaningless #6 next to his name and possibly passed Carlos Condit in the rankings with his victory. Because Ellenberger took almost no damage in his fight, I’d like to get him back in the octagon soon against another ranked welterweight like Demian Maia or preferably the last Strikeforce welterweight champion, Tarec Saffiedine, who is also coming off a win against Marquardt.

Carlos Condit: Although not completely unexpected, it was Johny Hendricks’ ability to take Condit down at will — not his Spiny Blue Shell of a left hand — that secured his victory by unanimous decision. Condit has now lost his last two fights and hasn’t finished a fight in his past three. He won’t lose his top ten ranking but he will need to rebound well if he doesn’t want to fall victim to the “Cut from the UFC Flow Chart.”  I think his next match up should be tough guy and welterweight novice, Court McGee. McGee might not exactly be a big name, but Condit seemed to be fond of putting his knee into Hendricks’ beard and McGee’s scruffy soup-saver could simulate that same sort of pleasure. What? I’ll use whatever qualifications I see fit. Besides, we know that McGee is always down for a slugfest from his fights with Josh Neer, Costa Philippou, and Nick Ring. Set it up.

Chris Camozzi: Camozzi has compiled himself a nice and almost completely overlooked 4-fight win streak in the UFC since his loss to Francis Carmont at UFC 137. His victory against the always tough Nick Ring is a big step forward in his career and he will be a main card feature from now on. The hodgepodge of middleweights is a good place to keep your winning streak going, but he should be facing an even tougher challenge in his next bout against Tom Watson, a fellow banger and former BAMMA middleweight champ who recently scored a KOTN/FOTN victory over Stanislav Nedkov at UFC on FUEL 7. It would be a great win for either fighter and one that would be sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Mike Ricci: In his fight versus fellow TUF-loser Colin Fletcher, Ricci managed to secure a unanimous decision victory in a lackluster bout with “Freakshow,” whose nickname could not be less indicative of his fighting style. Ricci’s ability to use his jab and transition smoothly on the ground all the while adding some G-n-P (or GSP…) neutralized the height and reach of Fletcher, which seemed to be his only advantage in this bout.

Like most of you, I’m not really sure why this fight was on the main card; I would have much rather seen Makdessi and Cruickshank instead. While Ricci was victorious in his return to lightweight, he still came away from the bout appearing as if he needs some motivation to really light a fire under his ass. That’s why I’d send him to a fighter who could really put his lights out if he’s not careful: Yves Edwards. The “Thugjitsu Master” is coming off a split decision loss to Isaac Vallie-Flag and would surely love to showcase some skills against Ricci. This match up would be a good fit for UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as Ricci is Canadian. As we know, Canadians really love supporting each other.

What do you guys think? Are there any different matchups you’d like to see in the wake of UFC 158?

Cagepotato Comments

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vhsdiuioushdf- March 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm
The12ozCurls- March 19, 2013 at 7:56 am
Mein looked like an animal and the kid is only 23 years-old and has 30+ pro fights. Youth and Experience. I think he has a future.
realfighterfan- March 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm
OFF TOPIC: Lavar Johnson busted for Elavated testosterone, BUMMER i liked watching Lavar when he's not getting "FITCHED" ie: leg humped
JZA_Larizza- March 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm
Condit has nothing to gain and everything to lose by fighting Rory. He's already beaten him for starters. Condit has lost his last two fights, one of them a title fight. Before that he won a widely recognized snoozefest against Diaz. Condit won't be in title contention until he puts together at least 3 more wins, so why start match him up against the rising star? Ellenberger, Maia, and Saffiedine all are gunning for the title so why not match Rory up with one of them? Ellenberger vs Saffiedine, Ellenberger vs Maia, Ellenberger vs. Rory, Maia vs Saffiedine, Rory vs Maia?
iglubrious- March 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm
I agree with you for the most part. Condit is in the middle of the pack and on the way out of the top ranks unless he can master a winning streak against some reputable names. The list you put out "Ellenberger, Maia, and Saffiedine" as potentials is a decent list but leaves out Tyron Woodley who's the only one to defeat a bigger Saffiedine in 3 years. In that fight which went the distance, he won squarely in strikes and or take downs.
JZA_Larizza- March 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm
Woodley is fighting Jake Shields in June.... Ellenberger/Maia/Saffiedine/Rory are all healthy enough to fight in 2 months
iglubrious- March 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm
I agree with you for the most part. Condit is in the middle of the pack and on the way out of the top ranks unless he can master a winning streak against some reputable names. The lsit you put out "Ellenberger, Maia, and Saffiedine" as potentials is a decent list but leaves out Tyron Woodley who's the only one to defeat a bigger Saffiedine in 3 years. In that fight which went the distance, he won squarely in strikes and or take downs.
JZA_Larizza- March 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm
Rory vs Saffiedine also...
Thumblaster- March 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Condit's beaten macdonald allready, granted he was losing before the ref stopped it in the final seconds so they should fight again. Condit was the interim champ and his last two losses were against gsp and number one contender hendricks two wrestle fuckers I would'nt think that would put him on the chopping block plus he's extremely aggressive and allways an exciting fighter, and apparently my man crush
CWill859- March 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm
If u do Condit vs McD I feel like that just throws Condit to the wolves. I mean the guy really earned my respect Saturday. I'm not saying to give him a feeder fight but he's an interesting contender and it would be nice to keep him in the mix. If he were to lose vs McD, the pressure is on to cut him, whereas we all know Rory will be here for another 5-7 yrs. Food for thought I guess...
Thumblaster- March 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm
I like court mcgee alot he does love to stand and bang plus he reminds me a little bit of phill from pantera, but he's not on condits level . Condit vs. macdonald needs to happen if not next condit needs someone middle top ten. If condit can stop a take down(even though he does signifigant damage on the bottom) he'd be the most complete fighter in the ufc
CWill859- March 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm
What happened to the old "Potato Stock Market" segment where u showed who lost or gained the most after every event? That wasn't a bad idea
crappiefloper- March 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm
I've been waiting for someone to bring that up. Kid wanted to make an impression, well he sure as hell did it
cman- March 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Stak40. Though I did not thumb down I believe that as bias. I did not see and post bell strikes from GSP. Though I did see Diaz try in 2 also
HandsofGold- March 18, 2013 at 11:50 am
Where are all the Diaz fans now???? Crickets... bahahaha not to mention GSP out struck Diaz on the feet as well. Diaz just ins't on his level, not eve close. He isn't even top 5.
mookiestick- March 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm
They're here. Thy've just all changed thier names.
Stak40- March 18, 2013 at 11:07 am
I watched the fight at the bar so I dont have a way of going back and checking.....but....this article I believe is the third reference to Diaz throwing a punch after the bell and I could have sworn GSP threw late strikes after both round 1 and 2. Anybody else see this or is my biass showing.
Stak40- March 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Dont thumbs down if you dont have proof or at least a reply, pussy! It was a question!
The12ozCurls- March 18, 2013 at 10:28 am
People should be talking about Jordan Mein too because that dude KTFO a Miller brother after escaping a tight-ass arm bar - both of which are not easy to do.
J.Jones- March 18, 2013 at 10:42 am
Could not agree more with this statement.
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- March 18, 2013 at 10:06 am
I thought condit and Hendricks was the main event of the evening. Sponsored by corn nuts the official snack of the UFC. Corn nuts. Corn to the core.
Pen Fifteen- March 18, 2013 at 10:04 am
McGee-Condit is a wasted matchup. Why not Condit-Macdonald instead?
JayJitsu310- March 18, 2013 at 10:17 am
Condit vs. McDonald would be a great match-up, also would like to see Maia vs. Ellenberger. Make it so Joe Silva.
dude- March 18, 2013 at 10:00 am
Had it not been for Condit and Hendricks, my money would've been wasted. I really don't see a difference between Fitch and GSP now.
dude- March 18, 2013 at 9:57 am
I was not impressed by GSP's performance.