Following UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre's unanimous decision victory over Carlos Condit at last night's UFC 154, many mixed martial arts fans and media members are beginning to believe that a superfight with middleweight king Anderson Silva may finally be on the horizon.
While this is an intriguing and highly profitable match-up for the world's largest MMA promotion, it may not be the best move—at least not right now. The welterweight division is overflowing with top contenders whom the UFC cannot ignore, or else the organization runs the risk of significantly jamming up the line of challengers.
The most compelling bid made for the next shot at St-Pierre actually came from last night's co-main event winner, Johny Hendricks. The heavy-handed wrestler once again showed off his devastating power, knocking out Martin Kampmann less than a minute into round one. With another big win over a top 10 welterweight, Hendricks' résumé and amazing set of skills makes him a dangerous foe for the reigning champ.
What's interesting about Hendricks is that, not only does he have the wrestling to contend with St-Pierre, but his one-punch knockout power and ability to pounce after drawing blood is a deadly combination that could pose stylistic problems for the Canadian. Add in big wins over former top contenders such as Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck during his five-fight win streak, and Hendricks' case for a title shot just feels right.
Looking past "Bigg Rigg," the 170 lb. division has a plethora of other options worthy of facing St-Pierre.
Prior to last year's ACL injury, the champ was originally slated to face former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz. While I'm sure you all know the storyline by now, the Stockton-bred brawler is still a force to be reckoned with and is another top welterweight anxiously waiting for a date with "Rush."
When Diaz is cleared to fight next year following his suspension, expect him to really push for a title shot.
If his recent tweet following last night's fight is any indication, MMA's biggest bad boy is already laying down the foundation for this possible battle:
I am not impressed by your performance @georgesstpierre— nick diaz (@nickdiaz209) November 18, 2012
A pretty obvious call out by Diaz, but honestly, this fight interests me a whole lot more than a superfight with Silva. Both St-Pierre and Diaz appear to be closer is size and have contrasting styles that would make for an amazing war inside the Octagon.
And that's another problem with the St-Pierre-Silva match-up. Stylistically, it's not as interesting as some of the other welterweight options that are still available.
Guys such as Diaz, Hendricks and prospects such as Rory MacDonald and Erick Silva, who could quickly rise to the top in the near future, are all worthy adversaries who would test many different aspects of St-Pierre's game.
Even the fighters that the welterweight champ has already dispatched of, like Fitch and Koscheck, could grind their way back to a title shot provided they string together a few big wins.
While I still want to see St-Pierre vs. Silva happen, the 170 lb. division is too stacked right now. But who knows what 2013 has in store for the UFC's reigning kings of the cage?