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St. Pierre bound to pack on the pounds

5/1/2011

TORONTO -- It was far from his best performance and, minus the spectacular event it headlined, might even prove to be barely memorable over the course of his career.

Nevertheless, UFC 129 should be George St. Pierre's farewell to the welterweight division.

Statistically, St. Pierre wasn't as dominant in Saturday's unanimous decision win over Jake Shields. According to FightMetric, the champion actually landed four fewer strikes than the challenger and he had his 30-round win streak snapped.

But to the observer it was clear. St. Pierre, as always, had the fight well in control.

"There's no doubt, no matter what the score was, that Georges dominated the fight," said UFC president Dana White. "Never at any point, did I think, 'Oh s---. Georges is in trouble.'"

It's become obvious that St. Pierre now stands in a class of his own. He's defended the title seven times since 2007, with no challenger coming anywhere close to wrenching it from him.

Arguably, the only interesting matchup at welterweight that remains is Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz, although that fight remains unlikely due to contract issues.

"I imagine, I can do whatever I wanted to do if I really want," said White, when asked if he could legally pair the two champs. "But we have a contract with Showtime and he's a Showtime fighter. We have to see how this works out."

The move for St. Pierre, then, is to move up in weight.

The idea is far from new, as a super fight against Anderson Silva has been talked about all year, although White continues to stress it is nothing more than a "fantasy fight."

For a fighter who obviously cares so much about legacy, though, this is a risk St. Pierre has to take. His run through welterweights, amazing as it is, will grow stale if he chooses to fight the same opponents over and over again in a weight class he has already dominated.

"I believe in guys who clean out their division," White said. "Defended the title so many times, then want to move up. Yeah, he'd be a guy who would be in that position."

Brett Okamoto covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at bokamotoESPN.