(Highly advanced photo-simulation via CagedInsider. We’re living in the future, people.)
Despite Johny Hendricks seemingly clinching his position as the UFC’s #1 welterweight contender with his recent knockout of Martin Kampmann, Georges St. Pierre will next defend his title against a guy coming off a loss and a year-long suspension — and the champion actually wants it that way. Ariel Helwani was first to break news (via twitter) that GSP’s next opponent will be Nick Diaz, on word from Dana White himself:
Dana just said GSP told him I want Nick Diaz. Dana said that’s probably the fight we’ll make. Dana said that GSP doesn’t ask for much, so he feels like he has to do it. Silva and Hendricks will have to wait.
Diaz’s last Octagon appearance resulted in a somewhat controversial decision loss to Carlos Condit during their interim welterweight title fight in February. Afterwards, Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites in a post-fight drug test, and caught a year-long time-out. Diaz has been on the sidelines ever since, waiting, planning, talking mad shit. And now his big opportunity has arrived again, which he hopefully won’t blow this time. Meanwhile another contender has spent the last 12 months actually fighting people and winning — LOL, what a sucker! — beating three of the UFC’s toughest welterweight contenders in the process.
As you can imagine, Hendricks isn’t too happy with all of this. Bigg Rigg immediately went on twitter to plead his case for the GSP fight, and re-stated his intention to sit out until he gets his title shot. (For what it’s worth, Dana White agreed that Hendricks deserves the shot — but GSP’s wishes come first, it appears. Hendricks’s tweets also set off a brief back-and-forth between him and Jake Shields, but the less said about that the better.) Hendricks then did some venting on MMA Junkie Radio:
“He’s trying to keep money from my kids. If I win that belt and take it from him, my life changes. He’s trying to not give me the fair shot. That’s crazy to me to think this guy is trying to control my future. That makes me want to win that much even more.
“Here is a guy is trying to pull out a curveball saying, ‘We really don’t think we can win with this guy, but we think we can beat Nick Diaz.’ That’s what it sounds like to me.
“I think I’m going to be fighting GSP in six months – April or May. I want GSP, and nothing else matters. Nobody else is in the equation in my mind. But hypothetically, as long as it takes (to get GSP is how long I’ll wait). You only get so many opportunities to fight at the top level and stay at the top level.
“I can’t keep fighting and being the No. 1 contender for years. There has to be a time to take a stand, and I feel like now is that time.”
And there you have it — one more top contender gets passed over by a UFC champion, and one more brash challenger gets a title shot despite coming off a loss. Has the world gone insane? Or is the GSP vs. Diaz matchup awesome enough to justify it?