The UFC Welterweight (156-170 lbs) division is often thought of as one of the most competitive division in the entire company. If anyone were to pick out a nightmare division to go through, this would be it!
This division has elite submission artists, elite wrestlers and elite strikers. Anyone who sits atop the division has to be well-versed in more than just one discipline of fighting. If a fighter were to somehow make it through a tough road that would include Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Matt Sera, Paul Daley, Carlos Condit, Paul Thiago, Ben Saunders, Martin Kampmann, Anthony Johnson and many more, then that person would be in line for a title shot.
Assuming this fighter was to make it to the No. 1 contender spot, only one fight would stand between this person and the UFC Welterweight Championship. Only one man stands between this person and immortality. That man is George “Rush” St. Pierre.
George St. Pierre, or GSP, is possibly the most complete fighter in the world today. His training with the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team has transformed a man who was a good all-around fighter to possibly the most dominant fighter of all time. At any other time, Jon Fitch would likely be the Welterweight Champion with his wresting pedigree and rigorous work ethic. When these two met, it was one of the worst lopsided beatings this writer has ever seen. From beginning to end, at no point was GSP ever threatened.
That’s a pretty impressive statement considering Jon Fitch is considered to be the second best welterweight in the world. He would probably be considered No. 1 unanimously in the pound-for-pound rankings if he hadn’t have been upset by Matt Serra. Matt Serra landed a perfect shot that made the improbable upset possible when he took out a man many consider to be unstoppable at 170 pounds. If anyone wants to beat GSP, this is exactly what must happen again.
At the end of the month, Dan Hardy will get his chance to prove that he truly does belong atop the welterweight division. He will get his chance to fight a man who is expected to destroy him. He will get his chance to become the UFC Welterweight Champion. All he has to do is beat GSP.
Many people are writing this fight off because of how impressive St. Pierre has looked in his most recent fights. Many people think that Dan Hardy doesn’t deserve his title shot because he only beat Mike Swick. People need to realize that Dan Hardy did what any other fighter would do in this situation. He was given an opportunity, seized his chance and became the number one contender to the title by way of circumstance. GSP beat everyone else!
What would happen, though, if Dan Hardy were to pull off the upset? Would fans line up behind their desks with lists full of excuses as to why GSP lost the fight? Would this destroy all hype for a fight with Anderson Silva and GSP? Would Dan Hardy become a name up there with pound for pound greats? Who would get the next title shot? Let’s try to answer a few of these questions! If you don’t agree, tell me what you think would happen.
First, similar to the case if Fedor were to have lost to Brett Rogers, the Internet would have self-imploded.The amount of posts that would have been received about how GSP is still better and Dan Hardy just got lucky would reach trillions! Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it would still be a lot. Many fighters will agree no punch is really lucky. Ask Rashad Evans if he thought his knockout of Chuck Liddell was lucky; he timed it, he threw it expecting it to hit, it landed, and he knocked out a legend. Let’s just say that it wouldn’t be a lucky punch, it would just be an unlikely punch!
Would it destroy hype for a fight against Anderson Silva? I doubt it! Anyone can lose in the fight game, even the greats. That’s what makes this so interesting—anyone can lose, but those who do it best minimize their errors and capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. Ask anyone what Silva’s biggest weakness is, and they will tell you it his wrestling game. Now, I agree on that aspect, seeing as how he has shown he can be taken down. Despite this, he would still be a much bigger man in the cage than GSP. Does it matter, though?
GSP is so good at wrestling and punishing people he may be the person to be able to break Anderson Silva down. St. Pierre takes and holds down fighters that are fighting in the light heavyweight division, for crying out loud! People are upset that Chael Sonnen isn’t fighting Anderson because they want to see Anderson against a wrestler! After GSP lost to Serra, people still considered GSP to be the best 170-pound fighter in the world. I would see no difference here if he were to lose again.
With a win, Dan Hardy would obviously garner a lot of attention. I don’t place too much weight into flash knockouts, and I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. If Dan Hardy were to dominate GSP from beginning to end, there would be no question that he would be able to move clearly up those pound-for-pound rankings. However, if he were to land a square punch to take out GSP, I would expect him to climb the rankings, but not land near the top. There are still many questions about Dan Hardy that have not been answered. If he can beat GSP, many of those questions will be answered. If he dominated him (unlikely) all of those questions would be answered!
If Dan Hardy were to pull off the improbable, who would get the next title shot? When GSP lost his title previously, he had to work his way back to the title. Would he do this again, or would he finally make the long-awaited move to 185 pounds. GSP has said that he doesn’t know how much longer he can still make weight at 170 pounds, so if he were to lose, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up. This would open up the welterweight division immensely. I have mentioned some of the amazing talent in the division earlier, and while I would love to see a Paulo Thiago fight against Dan Hardy, I think Jon Fitch would probably get the title shot first, assuming he can get by Thiago Alves.
If Dan Hardy were to win this match, there would be plenty of opportunities for the UFC to profit off of. Of course, these scenarios I’ve been looking at hinge upon the fact that Dan Hardy is able to beat GSP. As we have all seen, that is a lot easier to say then do. I expect GSP to beat Dan Hardy handily with wrestling combined with superior ground and pound skills. Look for GSP to put on a clinic against Dan Hardy as this is one GSP will finish. I don’t think there is one aspect of this fight that Dan Hardy is superior to GSP than in this fight, but then again, that’s normal against St. Pierre. All I know is, I can’t wait to see this one on the big screen!