The talk amongst MMA fans, both hardcore and casual alike, not too long ago was of wanting to see current UFC Welterweight Champion move up to 185 and take on Anderson Silva in a Super-fight that any MMA fan would love to see.
Oh, how a few months change things.
With GSP on the shelf rehabilitating a torn ACL injury that he suffered in training prior to his originally scheduled fight with former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz, the talk of match-ups in the mid-term have risen and taken the forefront of the Welterweight division. Carlos Condit, who defeated Nick Diaz at UFC 143 to capture the Interim Welterweight Championship, had verbally agreed to a rematch with Diaz while St-Pierre continued to rehab his injured knee.
With Diaz’s positive test after the fight, it’s time to move to plan B. What Plan B is, as of right now, is anyone’s guess.
Condit has made mention that he would like to stay busy prior to GSP returning to the cage to unify the championships and become to sole title holder, but with GSP’s return not clear, Condit could be looking for another fight in order to stay active in the division.
The list of opponents to challenge Condit should he not wait for GSP isn’t exactly a long list to choose from. Many fans have called for a rematch between Condit and Jake Ellenberger, who fought at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs Guillard, with Condit taking home the Split decision victory in Ellenberger’s first fight in the UFC.
Since that fight, Ellenberger has rattled off 6 straight victories including taking out former #1 contender Jake Shields, and recently winning a unanimous decision victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC on FUEL.
Ellenberger himself has welcomed the rematch, looking to avenge his only loss inside the Octagon, but has told media outlets that he doesn’t know what the UFC’s current plans are. Those plans, all revolve around one thing, GSP’s recovery time.
St-Pierre has said he is ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation, but with any injury, especially an ACL tear, set backs could occur, and should it happen in this instant, Condit will want to get back into the cage much sooner than later.
Should Condit choose to get back into the cage and defend his interim Welterweight Championship, the first opponent on most people’s list is Ellenberger. After that, one only has to look at UFC on FOX 3 where Josh Koscheck will take on Johny Hendricks.
Should the fight go through as planned, whomever emerges the winner could be stepping in line with Ellenberger for a crack at the Welterweight title. Trying to keep the thoughts of a 3rd match-up between Rush and Kos out of your minds, the three fighters make the most sense for a crack at Condit.
But what happens if Condit wants to wait for GSP? As Sherlock Holmes would say, “It’s elementary my dear Watson”.
A number one contenders fight between Jake Ellenberger and the winner of Koscheck/Hendricks could set up the next contender down the road for either Condit or GSP.
So while not too long ago, the question asked was “Is there anyone left for GSP?”, the current question should be “Which guy should get the opportunity for a chance at gold?”.
The UFC Welterweight title picture just got a bit more interesting.