Georges St-Pierre is a near perfect human. He's smart, he's articulate, he's an incredible athlete, he's a nice guy. For the first time ever, St-Pierre finds himself at odds with fans and he just doesn't seem to know how to handle it.
He finds himself in an uncharacteristically not-enviable position over his upcoming matchup with Nick Diaz. The controversy, of course, comes from Diaz receiving the title shot after a year away from the sport due to a failed drug test following his loss to Carlos Condit, rather than Johny Hendricks who is riding a five-fight winning streak, including three wins over top-10 fighters.
With GSP facing criticism that is perhaps harsher than anything he's faced before, he has been at a loss for words and, in many ways, struggling with rationalizing this turn of events. At UFC on Fox 5, GSP sounded off (you can check it out here):
“I believe Diaz is the number-one ranked [contender]. His fight with Condit was very controversial. When I saw the fight, I gave it to Condit...I do feel bad for Johny Hendricks, but put yourself in my shoes. Diaz is the big fight. It's been waiting for a long time...When Hendricks fought [Josh] Koscheck, I gave the fight to Koscheck. For me, for motivation...I fought Koscheck before...I would have given it to Koscheck.”
Who should GSP's next opponent be?
He reiterated that sentiment at last week's press conference.
Once again, Georges St-Pierre is very smart, and quite media-savvy. He knows what the staggering majority of fans already know...that quote up there and any of his attempts to brand Nick Diaz as the true top contender are total crap.
He knows it's silly to question Hendricks' split decision win and Diaz's unanimous decision loss in the same breathe. He knows that, beyond question, Johnny Hendricks is the top contender in the welterweight division. He knows that there's a huge logical hole in saying he doesn't want to fight Hendricks because he lost to Koscheck, but wants to fight Diaz who lost to Condit.
There is absolutely, positively no way Georges St-Pierre believes there is a reality-based case for him to be fighting Nick Diaz right now, rather than Johny Hendricks.
That, however, does not mean Georges St-Pierre should not fight Nick Diaz. Like the single mother who works every day to provide, St-Pierre has earned himself that fancy pair of shoes. Damn the consequences.
It is easy to forget, given his relative youth, but come January 31, Georges St-Pierre will be celebrating his ninth anniversary as a UFC fighter. During this time, champions like Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Randy Couture and BJ Penn have given Dana White fits over contract disputes. Champions like Pat Miletich, Carlos Newton, Frank Shamrock, Ken Shamrock, Matt Lindland, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and Don Frye have taken up prominent roles with the UFC's competition.
St-Pierre has never had that sort of ugly, public run-in with UFC brass. He has not even given the UFC the headaches they had with Anderson Silva from 2008 through 2010, or the trouble seen with Jon Jones surrounding UFC 151. Georges St-Pierre has enough clout to have a hand in steering his matchups.
Not total control by any means. If Diaz wasn't a bigger draw than Hendricks at this point, this fight would not be happening. The same goes for if Diaz wasn't a strong opponent.
That said, the UFC is giving Georges St-Pierre what he wants, and he needs to stop dancing around about that. Georges St-Pierre wants to fight Nick Diaz instead of Johny Hendricks and there's no shame in that. Now he just needs to admit it, something Dana White is making no bones about.
So stop it, Georges. Stop trying to rationalize it. Stop trying to make excuses.
Just come out and say “I want Nick Diaz, and I have earned the opportunity to pick a fight with him if I feel like it.” There is no arguing with that.
Sure, it still stinks for Johny Hendricks. That said, the UFC owes Georges St-Pierre some favors. We shouldn't get too grumpy about him finally calling them in.