About a month ago, the UFC’s welterweight title picture cleared up after nearly two years of confusion. Champion Georges St. Pierre returned after a long injury-induced lay off to face and beat interim champion Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks stopped Martin Kampmann to establish himself as the clear number one contender to the St. Pierre’s belt.
Despite this, St. Pierre lobbied to face the suspended Nick Diaz, who had a shot against St. Pierre but then gave it because of, you know, reasons, lost to Carlos Condit and then tested positive for marijuana metabolites. Diaz will indeed get another crack at St. Pierre on March 16th in Montreal, assuming he decides to pick up a phone for media conference calls and make all his flights, and Hendricks will risk his earned #1 contender status against Jake Ellenberger on the same night.
Speaking to MMA Fighting this weekend, Hendricks said that the UFC made him take the Ellenberger fight and stuck to his “Georges is running scared,” line. “Man, he’s scared,” Hendricks said.
“That’s why [St. Pierre] wants me to keep fighting because maybe I’ll lose and then he won’t have to retire (before fighting me).”
For his part, St. Pierre told media assembled in Las Vegas Saturday for the TUF 16 Finale that he’s fighting Diaz because he’s got a grudge against him and because its a marketable fight. “I do feel bad for Johnny Hendricks,” St-Pierre admitted.
“But put yourself in my shoes, it’s the big fight, this fight is waiting to happen for a long time, and you know, its a big fight, that’s what people want to say. Everyone wants to fight me know, it’s crazy. I cannot split myself in half. If I took another fight, the others, they both would have complained, what do they want me to do, you know?”
Give St. Pierre credit for just telling the truth on this one. Fans can probably understand the duality of recognizing the unfairness to Hendricks while also believing that St. Pierre has earned the right to pick opponents the way boxing superstars get to at times. St. Pierre went on to say that he simply can’t fight everyone that is calling him out at once, citing Diaz, Hendricks and Anderson Silva. That’s definitionally true and also kind of a bad ass thing to say, so “Rush” gets extra points for telling Silva and Hendricks to basically get in line.
Just about every top welterweight contender will be fighting on that UFC 158 card in Montreal, March 16th, it seems. Carlos Condit has accepted Rory MacDonald’s challenge and the pair will rematch. MacDonald is coming off a dominating win over former two-division champion BJ Penn and Condit is coming off of his loss to St. Pierre. Condit owns a win over MacDonald from several years ago, however, and MacDonald seems single-mindedly focused on avenging that defeat.
Where do you think we’ll be on March 17th, nation? Will the welterweight call Nick Diaz king? Will Hendricks run in and unexpectedly help St. Pierre by hitting Diaz with a steel chair in order to get his fight with the Canadian? Will MacDonald win and then turn heel by calling out his teammate St. Pierre? Have I been watching far too many soap operas and professional wrestling this week instead MMA?
Let us know what you think.