UFC 124: Georges St. Pierre Moves To Middleweight If He Beats Josh Koscheck?
Georges St. Pierre is battling fellow welterweight Josh Koscheck this coming Saturday December 11th at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada. St. Pierre has his title on the line and fans will finally get to see the culmination of the heated rivalry which developed between St. Pierre and Koscheck over the latest installment of the The Ultimate Fighter reality television franchise.
Georges St. Pierre has already won half the battle against Koscheck, being the proud coach of the two Ultimate Fighter finalists. Josh Koscheck only managed to get one of his fighters in the semi-finals, Nam Phan. Ultimate Fighter finale aside, many may argue that UFC 124 this coming weekend is realistically for all the marbles.
In any case something of interest that has been swirling around for the last two years or so is whether or not Georges St. Pierre would move up to middleweight if he continued to dominate the welterweight division with such ease.
With a combined 11 consecutive successful title defenses between St. Pierre and the current middleweight champion Anderson Silva, the idea of a champion versus champion fight between these future hall of famers is tantalizing to say the least.
In the past the interest was there, until Anderson Silva made Forrest Griffin look silly at 205 pounds. The general consensus was that Anderson Silva was simply too big for the smaller Georges St. Pierre.
“I think he’s [Anderson Silva] too big for Georges,” White explained to 5th round. “Forrest Griffin is huge and at the [UFC 101] weigh-ins, when we squared them off, he [Anderson Silva] was as big as Forrest at 205lbs.”
This was Dana White's opinion on a Georges St. Pierre fight with Anderson Silva in August of 2009.
How times have changed in a little less than a year and a half. Anderson Silva had a very uninspiring title defense against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Demian Maia, followed up by a near loss to American wrestler Chael Sonnen.
One of the main reasons the St. Pierre versus Silva super fight is picking up steam again is due to the fact that Silva had such difficulty against a strong wrestler in Sonnen. Of course Sonnen has some of the best wrestling in mixed martial arts. Sonnen is a natural middleweight, but St. Pierre has the best wrestling for mixed martial arts at welterweight and arguably has the best wrestling for mixed martial arts period. If Chael Sonnen was able to have success with his wrestling against Silva, why can't a more well rounded albeit smaller fighter like St. Pierre give Silva a run for his money? There isn't any reason to think he can't.
Even the UFC brass is taking to the idea once again,
"I want to see that fight," Lorenzo Fertitta said. "That's probably the one fight I really want to see the most." was Fertitta's reaction to the potential match up between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
Fertitta went on to tell mmajunkie that we might even see this match up in summer 2011 "'GSP' has to get past Koscheck; Anderson Silva has to get past Vitor Belfort," Fertitta said. "If that happens, there's a really good likelihood that we could see that fight – probably some time next summer. ... If these guys keep winning their fights, I think it will definitely happen." (this was before Okami was offered the next shot at the middleweight title)
Obviously the interest in seeing Georges St. Pierre move up to 185 pounds is there, but there are some obstacles in that path.
Before Georges St. Pierre moves up to middleweight, he has some unfinished business in his division to take care of.
Georges St. Pierre has said on multiple occasions that the move up to middle weight would require a break from fighting to get his body at the right weight. For all intents and purposes, a move up to middleweight would most likely be a permanent move for St. Pierre, in other words he would have to relinquish his belt.
Before relinquishing his welterweight belt, St. Pierre is defending it this December 11th against Josh Koscheck. Should St. Pierre win or lose against Koscheck, Jake Shields is supposedly next in line for that title shot.
Of course, after Shields' uninspiring debut in the UFC against welterweight contender Martin Kampmann, many fans feel a shot at the title for Shields is unwarranted. That being said, Shields deserves a little slack, it was his first fight in the UFC and his first fight at welterweight in two and a half years. Unimpressive UFC debut aside, Shields is on a 15 fight win streak which includes the names of top talent like Dan Henderson, Paul Daley, Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami to name a few.
The St. Pierre versus Shields fight needs to happen before Georges St. Pierre relinquishes his title and begins his transformation into a middleweight fighter. Seeing as how St. Pierre is fighting Koscheck this Saturday, barring any injuries we may be able to see him defend the title against Shields as early as March or April 2011. Add on the six or so months St. Pierre would need to pack on the extra muscle and we could maybe see him make the move up to middleweight some time in late 2011 or early 2012.
The big question after that is whether fans can expect the Silva/St. Pierre super fight right away or will St. Pierre test the waters at middleweight with a tune up fight? This answer probably lies in what Anderson Silva has left to do in the middleweight division.
Anderson Silva is defending his title February 5th against fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. After the Belfort fight, Yushin Okami has been promised the next title shot. Yushin Okami is the last man to defeat Silva and despite it being by disqualification, one can be pretty certain that Silva would like to right that wrong before his career is up. Barring injuries, fans could expect to see Silva versus Okami sometime in summer 2011.
If Silva continues defending the title, the one other fight after Okami may just be a rematch with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was successful in pleading his case to the California State Athletic Commission after the positive drug test and had his suspension reduced to from 12 months to six months. Regardless of what people have to say, Chael Sonnen was the toughest fight Silva had seen in the octagon in a very long time. With the reduced suspension for Sonnen, the rematch might be in the mix for 2011.
If Silva has to fight Sonnen again, don't expect to see him fighting St. Pierre in 2011 and if St. Pierre wants to move to middleweight after Jake Shields, expect to see him take a middleweight tune up fight in 2011.
Obviously there are a lot of variables here and all of this speculation. The one thing that is for sure, is there is unfinished business in both division to be taken care of for St. Pierre before moving up to middleweight and until that business is taken care of, a move to middleweight remains rumor.