Georges St-Pierre’s great escape against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 has left the entire welterweight division a complete and utter mess.
The welterweight hierarchy remained intact on Saturday night after St-Pierre earned a controversial split decision win over Hendricks and successfully defended the UFC title for a ninth consecutive time.
After the fight, St-Pierre announced that he would step away from fighting and go on an extended hiatus to fix some personal problems in his life.
First off, this isn’t another article aimed at discrediting the reign of the greatest welterweight of all time. In fact, yours truly is in the minority of those having actually scored the fight for St-Pierre.
When it comes to St-Pierre hanging up the gloves, it all feels like incredibly bad timing.
St-Pierre staying and continuing to compete in the UFC would keep the welterweight division on track. Hendricks would likely get an immediate rematch, and fighters like Matt Brown, Robbie Lawler and Hector Lombard would continue to make up ground as the next contenders in line.
Without St-Pierre, however, things would get a bit topsy-turvy.
The first decision the UFC would have to make would be whether or not to strip St-Pierre of the welterweight title or implement an interim belt. For St-Pierre to actually mention the hiatus publicly, one would assume he is going to be gone for a significant period of time.
Once the plan for the title is in place, the UFC would then have to name contenders. Hendricks is a shoo-in for the first spot. The second spot would likely either go to Lawler or Brown, depending upon the outcome of Brown's December bout with Carlos Condit.
Things could have gone over much smoother for the UFC if Rory MacDonald defeated Lawler. MacDonald could have marched right into his mentor’s spotlight and fought Hendricks for the welterweight title.
If MacDonald won, it would have made things really interesting once St-Pierre resumed fighting and returned to the welterweight division. If Hendricks won, St-Pierre could have waltzed right back into the rematch the world wanted in the first place.
No one should attempt to force St-Pierre to continue to compete if his heart isn’t into fighting. It would be selfish to even try.
The entire welterweight division hovers between chaos and normalcy, and St-Pierre is the only person who knows how this story will eventually play out.