There is no arguing the greatness of Georges St. Pierre, or his dominance in the UFC. He has avenged his only two losses inside the Octagon, and he hasn't lost in almost three years.
St. Pierre is on the short list of best pound-for-pound fighters, with an increasing number of analysts picking the 28-year-old Canadian as the best in the sport.
Dan Hardy is his latest opponent, and most feel the next victim. That's not to take away anything from Hardy, who is a very good fighter, but it speaks to how far above his competition GSP is.
St. Pierre has beaten the best of the "old guard" of the division. He's gone through all the current list of top contenders, and he is now working on the fresh faces of the division. In fact, he's now facing fighters that don't deserve title shots, which does nothing to improve his current standing in the sport or pad his legacy.
Hardy would make a fine champion, as would Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck, or Paul Daley. The problem is none of them have a prayer to rule the division as long as St. Pierre is around.
Hardy possesses the essential weapon to beat GSP, a strong stand-up game. However, it's too early in his career to face the champion. Dana White is in too much of a hurry to give a fresh face a title shot instead of bringing them along slowly, allowing them to turn into a more complete fighter.
Wins over Mike Swick and Marcus Davis don't mean a fighter is ready for the best in the world. Hardy would have been much more suited to beat St. Pierre if he had faced and beaten either Koscheck, Fitch, or both.
Ben Saunders is another example of White killing the division and hurting St. Pierre in the long-run. If Saunders beats Fitch, he is next in line for a title shot. Um, why? He is a good young fighter, but he lost to Swick. His biggest win was a knockout over Davis, who is not anywhere near the top of the division. Even a win over a single top contender shouldn't give him the right to face the champ.
Paul Daley is just a carbon-copy of Hardy. He has some great stand-up abilities, but he has questions with the rest of his game. Koscheck also stands in his way of a title shot , and he is a very dangerous fighter for Daley.
To ensure a place as one of the best ever, St. Pierre needs to vacate his title after his win over Hardy and begin fighting in the middleweight division. Regardless of what Anderson Silva does, moving up gives GSP the chance to dominate a second division, making it impossible for even the most critical fans to give him his place in history as the best ever.
Moving up gives him a chance to face a whole new batch of fighters. Nate Marquardt, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, and Vitor Belfort would all give St. Pierre good fights. It would also give him a chance to get used to the division and allow his body to adjust properly before facing off against Silva in their "Super Fight."
His departure would also give all those welterweight fighters a fresh start on life in the UFC. The Koscheck-Daley fight could instantly turn into a title fight.
A Koscheck win in that scenario would be extremely interesting. Would Fitch still challenge for the belt even though the two have been adamant about not facing one another?
Fitch has stated that he could very well follow St. Pierre if he moves as well. Fitch believes that he has improved so dramatically that his first fight against GSP would now finish with a distinctively different result.
Dan Hardy and his fans truly believe that he will shock the world and beat St. Pierre Saturday night. Those same thoughts ran through the minds of the previous six opponents of GSP as well. Unfortunately for them, they failed to realize just how special of a fighter they were facing.
St. Pierre could very well decide to remain in the welterweight division for the duration of his career. All that would do is cement his legacy as the greatest welterweight fighter ever.
To be considered as the greatest fighter ever, it's now time for GSP to move on to bigger challenges in the middleweight division.
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