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Maia vs. Fitch may not be an official title eliminator, but whoever wins will likely be no more than one victory away from getting a crack at Georges St-Pierre's title. In fact, if Jake Ellenberger beats Johny Hendricks at UFC 158, this fight might actually produce the next title challenger.
Should Fitch emerge as that title contender, an eye-rolling pandemic will sweep through the MMA community, leaving none but his staunchest supporters utterly aghast. Not because Fitch is an unlikable or undeserving challenger, but because we've already read that script.
Fitch and GSP fought back in 2008 and there was nothing about that fight that suggested Fitch will ever best St-Pierre, and nothing that has happened since changes that.
We don't need to see Shogun Rua vs. Jon Jones II, nor Urijah Faber vs. Jose Aldo II—we know how it will go down. We don't need to see Fitch vs. St-Pierre II.
Maia, on the other hand, brings some new blood to the welterweight title scene. He poses a new threat in the form of his superb grappling.
We don't know how a Maia welterweight title fight will play out. We may have some guesses, but at least it's not as predictable as Fitch vs. St-Pierre II.
Of course, there could be a new welterweight champion by spring, which makes Fitch a more viable contender than he is right now. However, operating under the assumption that St-Pierre retains his title by defeating Nick Diaz is not so far-fetched.