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Who's Next For Georges St Pierre?
Following a dominant performance against Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy in the main event of UFC 111, Saturday, Georges St. Pierre’s list of challengers just got smaller. Right now there is no one left in the 170 pound UFC welterweight division for GSP to fight. He has already dominated top level fighters Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves with ease. He basically sent Matt Hughes into retirement and made Matt Serra look like a kid in their rematch. He sent pound for pound top ten fighter BJ Penn crawling back to the light weight division.
He fight with Dan Hardy was a joke. For 25 minutes, St. Pierre (20-2) took Hardy (23-7, 1 no contest) down at will en route to a unanimous decision victory. He nearly broke his arm twice and pounded on him out like he stole something for him. Though it may not have made for an exciting watch, St. Pierre looks unbeatable and is getting closer to cleaning out the welterweight division.
If you look at the 170 pound division I don’t see much competition for GSP in the near future. Do we really want bums like Hardy fighting for the belt when clearly they are so far behind GSP in all aspects of fighting.
So with Hardy out of the picture, who’s next for the Montreal native at welterweight?
The first time these two fought GSP beat him so badly. He hit him with everything but the kitchen sink. There were so many times I wanted the ref to stop the fight. St Pierre must have knocked him down 4 or 5 times with strikes that would have KO’ed most men. Fitch is an incredible warrior and has the heart of a lion and is clearly the best welterweight besides St Pierre.
After earning a unanimous decision win over Ben “Killa B” Saunders Saturday, Fitch has now won four in a row. With his only loss in 20-plus fights coming to St. Pierre at UFC 87, Fitch (22-3) has established himself as the second-best welterweight in the world.
However, Fitch has two things working against him. First, his last seven bouts have all gone to a decision. Much like St. Pierre as of late, Fitch focuses on out-grappling his opponent. Since many don’t consider him exciting, UFC brass may be less likely to grant him a title shot.
Second, and perhaps more damaging, Fitch won’t fight his American Kickboxing Academy training partners Josh “Kos” Koscheck and Mike “Quick” Swick. UFC president Dana White has said in the past he hates it when teammates refuse to face each other.
Aside from being the best fight for GSP, St Pierre already best him and most fans do not want to see a rematch that was so lopsided the first tie around.
Winner of Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck
Paul Daley is a new face but like his fellow Brit Dan Hardy he is seriously lacking the skills to compete with GSP.
At UFC 113 in Montreal, Koscheck (14-4) is set to meet dangerous striker Paul “Semtex” Daley.
If Daley (23-8-2) wins, the UFC has a fresh challenger for the strap and can immediately begin hyping the fight.
However, if Koscheck puts Daley away, he may find himself getting snubbed for the same reasons as Fitch. However, to Koscheck’s credit, he tends to be more exciting and has racked up some highlight reel finishes in the octagon.
St Pierre already put a beat down of Koscheck and also out wrestled the NCAA wrestling standout. Again no one wants to see St Pierre put another beat down on Koscheck and certainly no one wants to see a Dan Hardy reject fight for the title.
Alves is the heaviest striker who could actually KO St Pierre. However, he has to first hit him and first learn how to wrestle. He is strong powerful and can give GSP a test; however, he already fought and lost to St Pierre pretty recently.
Though Alves is set to undergo exploratory surgery, he could be back in action as early as UFC 114 this May in Las Vegas. Since his last bout was a unanimous decision loss to St. Pierre at UFC 100, Alves (16-6) would need to put together some wins before earning another title shot.
Plus, the fact that he’s already lost to the current champion may hold him back for a while.
There will be no rematch for a while. It may be 2 or 3 years if Alves fights and continues to win.
Paulo Thiago is probably going to get the next shot at the title is he wins his fight with Martin Kampmann at UFC 115. He has a good ground game and solid all round skills. Thiago is often ranked among the top ten welterweights in the world by leading mixed martial arts publications. He has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and in judo and has decent hands. One thing he does lack is the wrestling skills. Like everyone else he will get taken down and he will be beaten down in the ground and pound.
After dropping a unanimous decision to Fitch at UFC 100, Thiago has won his last two. He also holds a TKO victory over Koscheck and defeated Swick by submission in his last outing.
Though Thiago (13-1) could be just one or two solid wins away from deserving a match with St. Pierre, he’s not necessarily a fan favorite among American audiences.
This is the fight everyone MMA fan wants to see. Shield’s is the best welterweight in the world besides St Pierre. He is better on the ground than GSP is and holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu under Cesar Gracie which means he is taught from a very strong and solid teacher who does not give belts away. St Pierre has a black belt as well but he went to different schools. He is also the former Shooto World Champion and is the current Strikeforce Middleweight Champion. He has trained extensively with Cesar Gracie, and is a member of the "scrap pack" which includes fellow Cesar Gracie students Dave Terrell, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. He comes from a great MMA camp like St Pierre does and has the guys to push him like GSP.
Shields also has very good wrestling credentials. Jake began amateur wrestling at age nine. He has competed in over 600 folk, freestyle, and submission wrestling matches. Jake was a four year varsity wrestler and state qualifier at Calaveras High School, finished 2nd place at the Amateur Athletic Union National Freestyle Championships, qualified for U.S.A./ Fila Nationals & World Team Trials in both the junior & university men's divisions. He is also a two time All American wrestler from Cuesta College.
Shields has developed a style of fighting called "American Jiu-Jitsu". Shields American Jiu-Jitsu for MMA and self-defense is a complete combat art that combines the relaxed and ready position and submission techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the explosive takedowns, throws and transitions of world class wrestling.
With only one fight left on his Strikeforce contract, Shields could be UFC-bound sooner than we think. Though Shields (24-4-1) has never competed in the octagon, many hardcore fans want to see him face St. Pierre and White has expressed interest in signing him. Shields have also run out of competition at welterweight, forcing him to compete in Strikeforce’s 185-pound division.
If there is a guy that will beat or at least put up a fight it is Jake Shields
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