The welterweight title fight between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz ended up like just about every other title defense we've seen from GSP: a unanimous decision victory after five rounds of thorough domination.
Diaz had a few bright spots in the action. Some damage inflicted on the champion in the clinch in the third round served as his shining moment.
However, it turned out to be another day at the office for the reigning champion. He dominated the challenger and mixed things up efficiently on the ground.
With the dominant victory, it would appear (to everyone but Diaz) that this rivalry has been squashed for now. Here's a look at where both fighters should go from here.
GSP: A Title Defense Against Johny Hendricks
Say what you will about Jake Ellenberger's great performance, Rory MacDonald or the fact that Hendricks could have just as easily lost to Carlos Condit—it's time for Bigg Rigg to get a title shot.
Fortunately, it would appear that Dana White agrees.
Dana: "Hendricks is the number-one contender. Done."3/17/2013, 5:39:16 AM
Hendricks deserves the title shot after winning four straight against the likes of Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit.
Unlike his most recent title defense, St-Pierre could have his hands full.
Hendricks has the wrestling credentials to keep up with the champion's wrestling ability on the ground and the power to make things interesting with just one punch.
St-Pierre will no doubt be the favorite, but if he's ever going to be defeated, it will likely be by a stocky welterweight with great one-punch power catching him (see Serra, Matt). St-Pierre will have to approach this defense with plenty of caution.
Nick Diaz: Retirement or Condit II
Diaz sent mixed messages after coming up short in his title bid.
Initially he hinted toward retirement.
Nick hints at re-retirement in his post-fight interview "I think I'm done with mixed martial arts, I'm tired of getting banged up like this"3/17/2013, 4:53:34 AM
Then, he demanded a rematch with St-Pierre.
Nick post-fight: “I am trying to retire but I want a rematch. I don’t want to fight any of these young kids but I will fight GSP again.”3/17/2013, 5:38:30 AM
Unfortunately, the best option for him and the UFC is neither of those. As bad as Diaz can be for the image of the sport, there's no denying he sells tickets. A Diaz retirement would be somewhat disappointing and unlikely.
A rematch with St-Pierre after that fight is downright impossible. There's simply no way the UFC can sell a rematch after such a lopsided fight the first time.
Could we interest you in another rematch, Mr. Diaz?
Another encounter with Carlos Condit makes perfect sense. The two originally met at UFC 143 for the interim welterweight championship in a fight that became instant fodder for internet forum debates.
Condit employed a stick-and-move game plan that often left Diaz frustrated and swinging for air. It ultimately netted him a decision victory. Naturally, Diaz disagreed with the decision.
Now, Condit is coming off of a decision loss to Hendricks and will be looking for a big fight himself. Setting up a rematch between the two would be a nice move to entice Diaz into sticking around for a while longer.
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