Postmortem: UFC 154 edition
November, 18, 2012
By Josh Gross
Five questions answeredThe knee? First Adrian Peterson. Now Georges St-Pierre. Maybe it's time to stop making such a big deal about major knee injuries.
Ring rust? The welterweight champion said he felt effects of the absence, although it hardly hurt his performance. Ring rust is real, but when fighters prepare to the level St-Pierre did, it turns out not to be a significant factor.
And the real champ is? I didn't think there was much of a question here, but the UFC billed Saturday's fight between St-Pierre and Condit as a clash of champions. GSP retains "the man" status.
Your next welterweight contender? Fear the beard; Johny Hendricks didn't trifle with formalities. He simply plowed through Martin Kampmann for the early knockout.
What about the guru? Trainer Greg Jackson went off into the New Mexico desert Saturday night, which is too bad, because he would have enjoyed GSP-Condit. Both welterweights showed up to win and fight, and neither seemed off kilter without Jackson around.
Five new questionsWill the superfight get made? A major hurdle was cleared with St-Pierre's win. Now the onus is on the welterweight champion to say yes to Anderson Silva. St-Pierre will take a few weeks to announce what he wants to do, but the UFC and Anderson Silva are on record as being fine with the fight in May.
Silva, Jones or St-Pierre? Who's the best mixed martial artist on the planet? I consider it a 1, 1-A, 1-AA scenario, but it's clear the top three have separated themselves from the pack. If these superfights take place, the answer will become clear. Otherwise, let the debate rage on.
Can GSP take down Johny Hendricks? This is one you'll hear a lot over the next few months. It's a good question, but just remember that MMA isn't wrestling.
Hey referees, what's the deal? OK, this is hardly a new question or concern. Call it a reminder that referees and judges hold immense power over fighters, and Dan Miragliotta's back-of-the-head block party in the Patrick Cote-Alessio Sakara contest was shoddy work. Officials must be held accountable.
Is Canada the UFC's top market? Montreal came out to see St-Pierre to the tune of a $3.1 million gate. Not quite a sellout, but 17,149 fans in attendance at the Bell Centre isn't bad. If Canada remains in the top spot, that gap has closed in a big way with the rise of Brazil.
Five matches to makeSt-Pierre vs. Silva: Well, yeah. Still needs to be said. The potential for this fight has reached critical mass. And I want to see it because I'm not in the camp that thinks GSP will be outgunned against Silva if they meet at a catchweight around 180 pounds.
St-Pierre vs. Hendricks: Part of me wants the champion to take on Hendricks next. There are more than a few entertaining possibilities for GSP at 170, and Hendricks' power, wrestling prowess and get-'em attitude all smack of the right stuff.
Condit vs. Kampmann: Sure, it's a rematch, and others to fight are out there, but their first contest in 2009 was tremendous. Before the St-Pierre loss, it stood out as Condit's lone blemish in 14 fights.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: Nurmagomedov needs to beat Thiago Tavares first, and if he does, a fight with dos Anjos is one I want to see. Dos Anjos is extremely physical, and his athleticism is beginning to shine through when he fights. Nurmagomedov seems to possess the correct ingredients to challenge the Brazilian lightweight.
Darren Elkins vs. Chan Sung Jung: Time for a step up for Elkins, who's unbeaten in four fights at 145 pounds and looked really good Saturday against Steven Siler. Jung could be too big of a leap, as the Korean Zombie is one of UFC's biggest names in the division, and he seems set up for a title shot. But Elkins' grappling pressure is something I'd like to see against Jung.
Stock reportGeorges St-Pierre: Up. Returning for the first time in more than a year and a half, the UFC champion was impressive in all facets. He took on a legit threat in his return, no tuneup here, and now the 31-year-old Canadian is lined up for the biggest payday of his career or another tough test at 170. The sky is still the limit for St-Pierre.
Carlos Condit: Steady. True, he fell short. But Condit proved he deserved to be in the cage with St-Pierre, going so far as to dare to hurt the champion in Round 3. There will be plenty of fights for Condit, and people will want to watch.
Johny Hendricks: Up. Way up. A title shot is likely next. People want to see him fight GSP, and some will think he's the guy to dethrone the champion. Either way, Hendricks' attitude continues to be great. The guy is having a great time, and he's just figuring this fighting stuff out.
Francis Carmont: Down. This was a reality check. The judges split and sided with Carmont, but he didn't look particularly dangerous against Tom Lawlor. A win is a win, but momentum behind Carmont was slowed for the time being.
Mark Hominick: Down. Four straight losses for Hominick starting with Jose Aldo last year says it all. He'll stick around the UFC despite the bad streak, but Hominick comes off as exposed and utterly beatable.