At UFC 154, lineal welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre beat down interim belt-holder Carlos Condit over five violent rounds to unify the 170-pound division title.
Minutes before, in the co-main event, Johny Hendricks knocked Martin Kampmann cold to emphatically plant his flag on the summit of the same division.
While the outcomes were not unexpected, the manner in which they happened (and the fact that they happened at all) nevertheless altered the landscape of MMA's premiere promotion.
You know that phrase, and I'm paraphrasing here, poop or get off the pot? That applies here. They either need to make this happen or move on. Thankfully for supporters of the matchup and those who are just tired of hearing about it, St-Pierre's victory completely paved the way from a matchmaking perspective. Neither man is committed to a fight, both are healthy and both appear open to discussing the idea. If it's ever going to happen, it will happen in 2013.
If it doesn't, thanks to his win over Kampmann, Hendricks has positioned himself as the perfect backstop. The former All-American college wrestler with the daisy cutter for a left hand now has five consecutive UFC victories, three of them by KO or TKO. And he did this against top competition.
As a result, unless Hendricks fights and loses to someone other than GSP, he is the undisputed top contender. The door to the welterweight title is effectively closed to everyone else, unless Hendricks himself chooses to open it.
Taken together, because of the events of UFC 154, Georges St-Pierre really only has two options for his next fight. He can fill a football stadium with Anderson Silva, or face someone with a greater puncher's chance than anyone else he's ever faced. Both are exciting and intriguing options for all involved, but they are unquestionably the only options.
So it looks like the welterweight title is in state of semi-suspended animation until further notice.The only one who can do anything to change that is Johny Hendricks.
Something tells me that won't happen.