UFC 158 is in the books, and we now have a clear indication of where some of the top fighters in the 170-pound division rank. That's due to the fact that all three of the main feature bouts of UFC 158 were all contested at welterweight, and all had top guys competing in them.
None were bigger than the evening's main event between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz. The bad blood coming into this one was evident, and it's clear Diaz came in with the strategy to bloody up St-Pierre's face.
The champion would have none of it, however, as he controlled all five rounds en route to yet another dominant decision.
Despite the bout going down much the way fans anticipated, there are still a number of takeaways from this fight that can be used in analysis of either man's future fights.
A lot of fans are going to dog Georges St-Pierre for failing to finish yet another fight after UFC 158. I'll join that crowd in saying that I'd like to see a dominant champion like GSP be able to finish a few fights, but an ending other than a judges' scorecard was not going to be the case last night.
Nick Diaz is an incredibly tough guy, and unless St-Pierre had blasted him into a coma or snapped an arm, Diaz wasn't giving up. St-Pierre once again used his dominant wrestling to control much of the action but even managed to score some points on the feet.
Diaz was touted as the better boxer coming into UFC 158, but as you watched the main event, it became hard to classify him as such. GSP used solid technique to score points on Diaz and avoid the challenger's strikes while on the feet.
GSP may not get the flashy finishes that a Jon Jones or an Anderson Silva does, but it's hard not to call St-Pierre the truly perfect fighter after another display of technical brilliance.
A knockout in MMA is something truly wonderful for most fans. The ending usually comes after a powerful hook or punch from a fighter's dominant hand. Despite the knockout blow always being on everyone's mind, at UFC 158, Georges St-Pierre showed why the jab is still the most important punch.
Boxing purists love a good jab. It's the foundation of which everything is built upon in the sport. MMA fighters have been progressively getting better on the feet as the sport evolves, but last night GSP showed how dominant a fighter can be with just a solid jab.
St-Pierre's ability to control Nick Diaz on the feet was masterful. There were a few times when Diaz's entire forward momentum stopped on a dime after GSP checked him with a jab to the chin.
Until the later rounds when GSP began to slow down, Diaz whiffed on his punches while St-Pierre used his jab to control the distance and evade Diaz. St-Pierre rarely set up any power punches through most of the night, so it is fair to say he defeated Diaz on the feet with one punch—the jab—all night.
Coming into UFC 158, the trash talk for the clash between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz only heightened the anticipation. Diaz was his typical self in building up a fight, but even GSP came outside his comfort zone a little to talk back.
Regardless of what either man said coming into UFC 158, it was clear that St-Pierre still had a cool head during the contest. It would've been so easy to fall into Diaz's trap and be overly aggressive. But St-Pierre kept calm and carried on with his dominant wrestling to win the fight.
That didn't stop Diaz from making multiple attempts to taunt St-Pierre or even take a cheap shot after the bell had rung. We all knew it was coming, it's an integral part of Diaz's game.
Normally, Diaz is at least able to score points in between taunts but had no answers at UFC 158. His actions inside the cage combined with those outside it beg the question: Did Diaz psyche himself out at UFC 158?
Diaz has always been an emotional fighter, but behind that emotion was quite a bit of talent. None of that seemed to matter as Diaz legitimately seemed out of his mind prior to and during the fight, as well as at the post-fight press conference. Fans may begin to wonder just what kind of mental state he was in coming into the contest and how it affected his performance.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports asked a question during the post-fight press conference about the difference between two guys truly disliking one another and the art of promotion.
That question has bred discussion among MMA fans about what to believe and what not to when it comes to trash talk before a fight.
Despite both Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz embracing one another following their contest, it's pretty clear that both men really didn't like one another before UFC 158. It's to be expected as fighters train for weeks about how to defeat another fighter in combat.
Why would you expect them to like each other?
MMA is an emotional sport, and for a guy like Diaz, the emotional roller coaster can either be entertaining or a train wreck. The full range of emotions during a fight were on display at UFC 158 when GSP and Diaz faced one another.
You could tell in the opening round that St-Pierre came out with bad intentions of simply wanting to beat Diaz up, as he controlled every second of the opening frame. You saw Diaz's frustration with the taunting and cheap shots after the rounds came to an end. And then finally you saw both men embrace one another following 25 minutes of hard fighting.
Trash talk is part of the sport and will be around forever. But just because two guys talk bad about one another, doesn't mean they can't respect one another's abilities inside the cage. At the end of the day it still is a sport, and you can still respect an opponent even if you don't like them personally.
Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre always comes into a fight in incredible shape. The chiseled physique of St-Pierre doesn't mean the Canadian is all brute strength, as GSP routinely looks as good in Round 5 as he did in the opening few minutes.
That wasn't the case at UFC 158, however.
St-Pierre visibly slowed down in the later rounds against Nick Diaz. It wasn't enough for Diaz to mount an insane comeback, but it was enough for the challenger to do some damage.
GSP repeatedly clinched with Diaz as the fight wore on, which allowed Diaz to work his boxing game. It was about the only time Diaz got anything going on the feet, and it was likely due to the fact St-Pierre was slowing down a bit.
I'm not saying conditioning is an issue for the champion, as he was still able to win every round, but it may be something for fans to keep their eyes on in the future. St-Pierre showed no effects of his ACL injury against Carlos Condit but seemed a tad bit off as the minutes ticked by at UFC 158.