Nick Diaz made a successful return in UFC 137, beating B.J. Penn in a unanimous decision. However, the fight could have much bigger implications than just the results.
After their great fight, Diaz left Penn a bloody mess and won the fight 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27. Diaz is now the No. 1 contender for the welterweight championship, and Penn's career may be over.
B.J. Penn has been a great fighter for years, but he showed his age last night as he looked completely drained by the end of the fight. Perhaps it was his emotions talking when he said he was "done" after the fight to Joe Rogan, or his bloodied face told him to say it, but this could be the end of an era.
"This is probably the last time you're going to see me here," Penn told Rogan in the televised post-fight interview. "I've got a daughter, another daughter on the way. I don't want to go home looking like this. I'm done."
Penn certainly has reason to retire if he so chooses. Having two daughters could make him want to end his career before he sustains a serious injury.
We won't know whether or not Penn is actually done for years to come because many fighters have simply given up fighting for years (including his opponent last night, Nick Diaz, who had not fought in the UFC since 2006), but it has appeared that he is not fighting with the same enthusiasm he used to.
If Penn is done, that is a huge loss for UFC, and one that cannot be totally made up for by Diaz's return.
Speaking of his return, Diaz is now the No. 1 contender, and we may be seeing him fight Georges St-Pierre for the championship. Diaz called St-Pierre out after the fight, saying GSP is scared to fight him. We almost saw this fight a while back until Diaz refused to show up for press conferences.
We may see this fight take place now, and if it does we know that these two fighters have bad blood, and it will be a thrilling fight.
The Diaz-Penn fight has had many implications, the least of which is the winner of the fight. We may see the end of Penn and the Diaz/St-Pierre fight we've always wanted. For now, all we can do it wait to see what happens.