At UFC 154 Saturday night, Georges St-Pierre vanquished interim title holder Carlos Condit to unify the UFC Welterweight Championship.
The win was a long time coming for St-Pierre, who returned to the Octagon after 19 months on the shelf following a tearing and surgical repairing of his anterior cruciate ligament. And he made the most of his entry, showing vintage form with violent ground-and-pound and sharp stand-up. He recovered from a vicious Condit head kick in the third round to control the interim champ the rest of the way, repeatedly running through Condit's guard the way LeBron James runs through defenders.
All this to say, GSP has re-established himself as the greatest MMA welterweight, now or ever. Also thanks to UFC 154, GSP now has a very clear challenger at 170 pounds. In the co-main event, Johny Hendricks knocked out Martin Kampmann in 46 seconds to stake a virtually unassailable claim to the next title shot.
The problem for Hendricks is that he might have to wait a while. Because St-Pierre is going into superfight mode to face middleweight champ and consensus pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva.
Nothing's official as yet, so for now it's just another opinion. But it appears the stars are aligning for this like they never have before in the two-or-so year speculation surrounding this mother of all pay-per-view matchups.
First of all, both fighters are available, and without a fight on the books as of now. Second, the UFC, with its sagging TV ratings and epidemic of fighter suspensions and injuries, seems more primed than ever to do what it takes to make this happen. And you know that means: break out the checkbook and the backstage rider list. Because if Anderson Silva sees one green M&M between now and fight night, this thing is off.
Third, the actual combatants seem more open to it than ever. GSP has said he wants to think about it. Silva, despite previous statements that he would take himself out of action until the end of 2013, now is actively beating the drum to get a deal done (see video).
The time is now to make one of the biggest money fights in UFC history. And even though there seem to be positive signs now, that could all change. When you've got promoters and fighters and fighter health and fighter egos and so many human and logistical variables in play, alliances are always fragile. If you hesitate, your chance may disappear. It may mean putting other priorities—and people—on the back burner. But so be it. The stars only align every so often.
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