Normally, I sympathize with those who put true title contenders above potential draws.
Why, you ask?
I do so because at the end of the day, a contender must make sense, even to UFC president Dana White, who consistently reminds us that the best fights possible fall within his strategic plans for the UFC.
So for those who wish for a translation: yes, Yours Truly gets it.
Johny Hendricks earned his shot at Georges St-Pierre. Nick Diaz did not. Diaz must receive his license to compete and he must combat the best of the division before he talks about St-Pierre again.
Understandable as that sounds, however, someone needed to send St-Pierre that memo a while ago, because underneath his skin still lies Diaz. No one should dare question this, because if this wasn't the case, why would St-Pierre request Diaz over the obvious title contender in Hendricks?
In St-Pierre's mind, Hendricks deserves the title shot. Looking at it from St-Pierre's perspective, however, handing Diaz some sort of punishment clearly gives him a deeper and more intense motivation.
With Hendricks, St-Pierre faces a bit of deja-vu in a tough fighter that St-Pierre will need to take the fight away from. St-Pierre will take the time to remind us of the difficulty of his competition while also keeping us wondering about if will take a fight with Anderson Silva down the road.
With Diaz, the picture differs, especially in terms of the fight itself. St-Pierre attacks with elbows, double-legs, a tough jab, a Kyokushin-based regiment that he still keeps at and a top game that few can match. Unlike Condit, meanwhile, Diaz starts a bit slowly, but he never relents, always attacks with his Jiu-Jitsu at every turn and fiercely intends to prove his doubters.
They are the ones who claim Diaz loses nine fights our of 10 when he faces a great wrestler. They are incredibly wrong.
Skill sets aside, though, everything about this boils down to the emotion of the fight, not the fight itself. Not even Josh Koscheck provoked such emotion out of St-Pierre. White knows this, the Fertita brothers know this and the Zuffa marketing machine knows exactly how to make casual fans care about it—even if the fight happens outside of Canada.
Before anyone rants and raves about Hendricks deserving the shot—and unquestionably, he does—take the bad blood into account. Remember that St-Pierre, a man who rarely ever asks for fights of his own accord, personally wanted and asked for this fight before Hendricks or Silva.
If the champion wants to settle his score with Diaz before taking Hendricks, then let the UFC build this potential gem of a title fight up and let the spotlights come to focus on arguably the greatest Canadian MMA athlete of all time.