Is the UFC Setting Up Ricardo Almeida for a Title Shot?

Nate DoubleAnalyst IAugust 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:  (L-R)  Ricardo Almeida battles Kendall Grove during their middleweight bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Almeida defeated Grove by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Ricardo Almeida has been around MMA longer than most fans realize.

He fought in the UFC back in 2001-2002 losing two of his three fights in the octagon.  Almeida then moved on to compete in Pancrase and Pride up until 2004.

In 2004, after beating Ryo Chonan, his sixth win in seven fights, Almeida retired from competition, opting to open his own Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy and start a family.

Almeida returned to the UFC in February 2008 defeating Rob Yundt at UFC 81.  Since his return he is 3-1 with his lone defeat coming in a split decision loss to Patrick Cote.

Before his fight against Kendall Grove at UFC 101, Almeida discussed the possibility of dropping down to welterweight.  Almeida walks around at a reported 187 lbs so cutting to 185 was little trouble.

The possibility seems to have become a reality as Almeida is rumored to face the No. 2 welterwight Jon Fitch at UFC 106 in November.

If the rumors are true it stands to reason that the UFC is setting up Almeida to be the next challenger for Georges St. Pierre since the divisional kingpin is running low on opponents.

While Jon Fitch is certainly not a fighter to look beyond, getting by him definitely provides the shortest route to fight the champ.

With the 170lb division looking a little barren the timing is perfect for Almeida to be granted a one win title shot.