Welterweight contender Johny Hendricks
Word came down Thursday afternoon that UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has asked for Nick Diaz as his next opponent, and, according to a tweet from journalist Ariel Helwani, UFC President Dana White is inclined to make it happen. (White subsequently confirmed the matchup to Bleacher Report.)
Will it sell? Sure will. Plenty of hype? The TV will need Ritalin. But in the end, this fight is all sizzle and no steak. Window dressing over a blank wall. And it's the wrong decision by the UFC brain trust.
Forget all that talk about a superfight with Anderson Silva. That long-rumored, on-again, off-again matchup is tired, moldy and apparently unworkable. As far as I'm concerned, that one's cold and in the ground where it belongs.
But there are plenty of other reasons why Diaz-GSP, if that is indeed the fight that gets made, is a matchmaking snafu.
Who should Georges St-Pierre fight next?
First, Johny Hendricks (14-1) is on a five-fight UFC win streak. His last three victims overall: Jon Fitch (KO), Josh Koscheck (decision), Martin Kampmann (KO). Top contenders all. What's more, happy-go-lucky guy with the bowling balls for fists flattened Fitch and Kampmann in an average of 29 seconds.
But apparently, Dana White and Co. didn't feel he was in a position to demand a title shot. So they gave it instead to Diaz, who is coming off a 12-month drug suspension and in his last fight lost an interim title bout to Carlos Condit (whom St-Pierre just soundly defeated).
When Helwani's tweet reached him, Hendricks, predictably, was apoplectic.
I can't help but wonder what happened here. Do they truly believe Hendricks hasn't done enough to earn a title shot?
Did White's notorious temper and vindictiveness rear up again after Hendricks said five days ago that he wouldn't fight again unless it was for the belt? Was this just White putting on his daddy pants to essentially force Hendricks to fight again before getting a title shot, and in the process show another fighter—needlessly—who the boss is?
The matchup, if it happens, also sends a fairly inconsistent message. Ever since defeating Kampmann, Hendricks has been quite vocal about wanting to face GSP. Doesn't White welcome a willing challenger? One willing to step up anytime, anywhere, and all that Dana poetry? Isn't that one of the things that riled him so much about the UFC 151 debacle?
And this is to say nothing of the actual fight. Hendricks has both the one-punch power and the strong college wrestling base to threaten a stoppage anytime and handle GSP's takedowns and mat control, respectively.
Diaz, great fighter that he is, does not appear to have the physical or wrestling tools to get out of a bad ground position once St-Pierre puts him in it.
No, it's not a good decision by the UFC. It's not a good fight. And it's not the right thing to do. Will I buy the pay-per-view? Of course. But it also may further erode the public's faith in the UFC and the integrity of its decision making.