The welterweight division of the UFC is in much the same predicament as the UFC’s middleweight division. Both divisions have pretty much dried up in terms of competition to feed their respective champions, Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. As opposed to feeding the welterweight and middleweight champions young hungry lions, the UFC has resorted to feeding them sacrificial lambs.
The trouble the UFC has in finding its champions worthy opponents is not a problem per se it is more of a testament to how rock solid both Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva really are. One could liken these two champions to being the Tiger Woods and Roger Federer of mixed martial arts.
Now the UFC seems to have things lined up for Anderson Silva in the form of former Olympic Alternate Greco-Roman wrestler Chael Sonnen and explosive puncher Vitor Belfort. Most people won’t give Sonnen the time of day and if anybody is going to beat Silva at 185 pounds it seems like Belfort could be the man, if Silva beats these guys the UFC has made it clear that they want him to move up to light heavy weight.
As for Georges St. Pierre, it seems like he will be staying at welter weight and the only thing we know for certain is that his next challenge will be against the winner between the Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley fight this Saturday.
Josh Koscheck has fought Georges St. Pierre before and been on the losing end of it back in August 2007. Since then he has gone 5-2 with losses to dangerous Muay Thai practitioner Thiago Alves and to a very dangerous up and coming welter weight contender Paulo Thiago. Koscheck is well rounded and can fight anywhere the fight goes his main problem has been his cockiness and inability to implement an effective game plan.
Koscheck when challenged by his opponents in the media will fight back in the octagon often to his opponents’ strengths in order to prove a point. Unfortunately for Koscheck, he needs to take a page out of fellow welter weight champion Georges St. Pierre’s book which is to always fight his opponents in the areas where they have the least chance of winning.
Koscheck implemented a game plan in his last fight with Anthony Johnson where he used his wrestling later in the fight to control Johnson and sink in a rear naked choke. It will be interesting to see if Koscheck succumbs to the media barrage being poured on by Paul Daley. Will Koscheck try to stand with the British striker or will he use his superior ground game to take the fight out of Daley and put him away as the fight wears on?
If Koscheck sticks to a winning game plan against Daley it will prove that he has evolved since the last time he and Georges St. Pierre met. Although Koscheck would still be the underdog in a fight with Georges St. Pierre, Koschek’s high calibre wrestling and much improved striking will be a step up in competition for Georges who has fought primarily stand-up fighters in his last two fights.
The big question surrounding Saturday’s fight between Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley should be about whether or not Paul Daley really deserves a shot at the welter weight title should he win.
There is no question that Daley has a good chance against Koscheck and the main reason being that Koscheck might throw caution to the wind. If Koscheck tries to stand toe to toe with Daley for the three round affair it would probably result in Daley’s third knockout victory in as many fights in the UFC.
A lot of people would rather see Daley come out the victor against Koscheck just to see St. Pierre fight a new face. Although the name and face may be different for St. Pierre, the fighter Paul Daley is very similar to the fighter Dan Hardy, both have dangerous left hooks, both have suspect ground games and they are both from England.
Fans witnessed what happened when you put a striker in the Octagon with Georges St. Pierre a little over a month ago and the land slide victory for St. Pierre against Dan Hardy wasn’t a surprise. What makes the UFC or fight fans think that Daley will provide a different challenge for St. Pierre?
Daley is an experienced fighter and he is definitely an exciting fighter with a ton of knock out power in his hands, anyone sporting the nickname “Semtex” has to have some dynamite striking in his repertoire. If one examines Daley’s record a little more closely it becomes painfully obvious that a meeting with Georges St. Pierre would spell disaster for the Brit.
Paul Daley sports a 23-8-2 record in mixed martial arts with 18 knockout victories. When you look at his losses he has lost five times to submission, two times to a decision and once to technical knockout due to a dislocated thumb. Paul Daley has been submitted five times in his career and when you look at his losses they have been at the hands of well rounded mixed martial artists or very high-level grapplers.
Daley fought Nick Thompson in February 2009 and came out on the losing end of a decision. Nick Thompson is known as a guy with decent Muay Thai and a very good submission game, but he also has the nickname “Fainting Goat” because of the fact that he falls over when anything hits his face.
Despite Thompson’s weak chin Daley couldn’t find it through three rounds and part of the reason why was because of Thompson’s well rounded skill set.
When asked about the possibility of top ranked welterweight and middleweight contender Jake Shields coming over to the UFC
Daley had the following to say:
"Shields is always in boring fights due to his style and I don’t want to be in boring bouts.”. Although Daley is maybe right about Shields’ style not being the most exciting, he seems to be forgetting about the loss he had to Shields via arm bar submission back in October 2008.
The bottom line is that Georges St. Pierre is leagues better than Nick Thompson ever was or will be and he is a well rounded fighter, more so than Jake Shields. Georges never strays from the game plan and against Daley fans could expect to see things unfold much like Georges’ fight against Dan Hardy.
The UFC has to put the Matt Serra freak knock out in the past and realize that guys with a puncher’s chance aren’t going to get that chance again against St. Pierre.