I was just as dumbfounded as everyone else when Matt Serra knocked out Georges St Pierre. I was watching UFC69 specifically to see GSP fight … never in a hundred years did I expect Serra to pull an upset like this, or so effortlessly. Anyways, you’ve read that 1001 times already. What you haven’t read about is what this means to the UFC’s welterweight division.
After a cooling off period, I’m starting to think that this isn’t that bad of a situation. At the beginning of 2007 you had Georges St Pierre and Matt Hughes sitting at the top of the welterweight division, seemingly invincible. For all it’s promise and reputation as the most stacked division in the UFC, the reality of the situation was that no one could touch these two guys … Diego Sanchez was still too green, Karo Parisyan was stuck in the shuffle, BJ Penn was wrapped up in TUF5. What was the average fan to do other than wait for Matt Hughes to fight his way back to #1 contender and take on Georges?
Even that prospect was looking pretty grim after Matt Hughes had a lackluster win against Chris Lytle. There was no way he seemed ready to face GSP again. Add Diego Sanchez’s loss and all of a sudden the two top contenders are no longer looking in any shape to fight for a title. If Georges had defeated Matt Serra like he was supposed to there would have been a pretty big gap between top dog and contenders, similar to what we’re stuck with in the Light Heavyweight division.
But with the loss, things just got very interesting. The welterweight ladder, once mashed into the middle with two elite at the top, just got spread a lot more evenly.
If Diego Sanchez had won against Josh Koscheck, I don’t doubt it’d be him we’d be seeing facing Matt Serra for his first title defense. But his loss paves the way for Matt Hughes to step up for a fight against Serra … perhaps the only exciting matchup that people WANT to see the TUF4 winner in. Instead of another shitty tune up fight that will annoy the fans and generate only middling PPV buys, Hughes will be battling for his belt, which is always a huge sell for the UFC. And of course the UFC will then have the winner of that fight face the winner of a GSP vs X opponent bout. I doubt it’ll be Diego taking on GSP … Dana White wants the love triangle of Diego-GSP-Hughes to play out in title fights.
Unfortunately I don’t smoke crack so I can’t be sure what Joe Silva is going to do, but I expect GSP fight Luke Cummo. Cummo’s link with Serra Jiu Jitsu and Silva’s apparent love of feeding promising talent to it’s rebounding stars make it add up in my head. Diego? I’ll bet he’s going to face the winner of Parysian/Burkman. Diego/Parisyan 2 would be a big sell and would also cement yet another #1 contender for whoever comes out on top in the GSP/Hughes/Serra bouts.
Regardless the point is this: What at first seemed like a disaster for the UFC’s Welterweight division actually sets us up for several exciting championship drives for the rest of the year.