Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
If Georges St-Pierre goes on to fight Anderson Silva in a "superfight," does that line up a fight between California's Nick Diaz and new No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks?
UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit was a great event, culminating in a Welterweight title fight between Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit. I refuse to suggest that it was a unification bout, because Condit refused to fight and defend his Interim Welterweight Championship, so it was a useless title. Condit was the challenge here, and though he was game throughout, he was outclassed in every aspect of the fight.
Though the card featured a title fight, one could suggest that the previous fight was actually more important to the division. Johny Hendricks floored Martin Kampmann with a beautiful straight left after a right hook feint. Unconsciousness was immediate, even if Kampmann found his way back into relative coherency when his head hit the floor.
Hendricks has now beaten Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Kampmann, and he unquestionably is the top contender at Welterweight. Now how does this concern the Bay Area? Well, there's one guy, maybe you've heard of him: Nick Diaz.
Despite Diaz saying he was retired and all of his other usual shenanigans, he remains right up near the top of the division. Condit beat him (and soundly beat him, for all of you who think otherwise), and he failed a drug test, so he's been on the shelf awhile. When he comes back, it's unclear who he'll be fighting.
Now, GSP wants to fight Diaz badly, but he lost his last fight and it wouldn't make sense (given the state of the UFC and the Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight, I guess that wouldn't be very surprising) to get a fight against the champion. But what about the other Welterweight who won on Saturday, Hendricks?
It would be a great fight for sure, even if Hendricks says he doesn't want to fight again until he fights GSP. Now, don't get me wrong, Hendricks should fight GSP. He deserves it. But the UFC really wants to push their "superfight" between St-Pierre and Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.
Again, in my opinion, such a move is downright silly. Silva and GSP have a fresh list of contenders and they want to waste it on a fight that's not even that interesting to begin with, given the size disparity. So Hendricks may be forced to take a fight, but it's unclear who he would face.
Would he face the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn? Jake Ellenberger? Siyar Bahadurzada? The latter two don't make much sense, and the UFC might want to put MacDonald on a different path if he bests Penn, like most expect him to. Hendricks has now beaten at least two fighters from the top five in Koscheck and Fitch, and one on the fringe in Kampmann.
If he doesn't manage to get that fight against GSP due to the superfight and the UFC forces him to fight, a fight with Diaz makes the most sense. Unfortunately for California's own, that's a tough task. Diaz has the chin to withstand some of Hendricks' power shots, but probably not all. He hits harder than Paul Daley (this is an unscientific educated guess), and Diaz came close to going out when he fought Daley.
Hendricks is an amazing wrestler though, and he's not one to get submitted so easily. It would be tough to see Diaz get a win in that way. His best bet would be to goad Hendricks into a brawl and avoid the big punches, though however likely you want to say that is ... that's your call.
It's going to be interesting to see where Diaz ends up, especially if it's a fight with Hendricks.