Challengers for GSP: What Cleaned out Division?
It is said by many fans (including myself at times) that Georges St-Pierre has cleaned out the UFC Welterweight division and should move to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva. However, the more I look into this very deep division, the more I see great challenges for the extraordinary champion.
This list contains prospects and contenders that I would like to see take a crack at GSP in the future. Many of them are still raw, but the talent is undeniable and one of these guys could very well dethrone the legendary Rush.
I will not include fighters that have already faced GSP such as Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves and such, because I'm sure most of us fans prefer to see new challengers with his victories being so dominant.
Condit is one of the most widely recognized contenders still left for GSP. He is a former WEC welterweight champion that never lost his WEC title and moved into the UFC.
His first fight in UFC wasn't the debut he would hope for, losing a hard-fought decision to the always tough Martin Kampmann, but he has more than made up for his one blemish in the UFC after defeating three excellent welterweights in Jake Ellenberger, Rory Macdonald and, of course, giving Dan Hardy his first KO loss.
He is one of the guys closest to the title shot, and if he gets through the undefeated Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 132, he might be one or two fights away from a title shot.
Now that Marquardt has moved to welterweight, he will no doubt be just a couple of fights away from title contention. A perennial middleweight contender, it's surprising he will be able to drop down to 170, seeing as he has always seemed like a big middleweight, but if the weight cut will have no real effect on him, expect him to be a force to be reckoned with and potentially fighting for the title in a year or maybe two.
He must get through his first test at welterweight in Anthony Johnson on June 26.
Diego "The Dream" Sanchez is no doubt a very popular fighter, not only because of his eccentric personality, and he is one of the winners of the first Ultimate Fighter, but the guy has been in some pretty exciting fights.
He´s had several fight of the night awards and two fight of the year awards. This guy is guaranteed fireworks, and if he gets through the Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, he will probably be a couple of wins away from a title shot.
I've heard people say Ellenberger is a younger version of Jon Fitch with more power, and these statements sound pretty fair to me. His only UFC loss was a controversial split decision to Carlos Condit (which I personally think Ellenberger deserved).
He´s got a nice four-fight winning streak, and is probably three or four fights away from title contention, but I hope his level of competition is taken up a notch in his next fight.
His 2-1 UFC record might deceive you to think he isn't a real threat to ever become a champion, but in his three UFC fights, he looked outstanding. Even in his loss to Carlos Condit, he dominated the whole fight and would've no doubt won the decision, but lost via TKO with just seven seconds left in the fight.
His UFC 129 fight with Nate Diaz showed outstanding wrestling and just total domination of the ever-tough Diaz. Watch out for this kid, he will be a star soon.
Extremely talented prospect Rick "The Horror" Story will face his toughest test to date in Thiago "The Pitbill" Alves at UFC 130. With a win, these guy will be one step closer to being considered a serious contender, as not many people have managed to stop the Pitbull in the UFC.
Dong Hyun Kim
Undefeated in his MMA career (14-0-1-(1)), The Stun Gun will face Carlos Condit at UFC 132 in a fight with title implications. The winner may not have an immediate title shot, but he will be considered a serious contender.
His wrestling-based style may not be the prettiest, but the guy's no doubt very talented, being undefeated after 16 MMA fights. He called out GSP after his last win against Nate Diaz, which was a bit premature, but if he keeps up his winning ways, he might be fighting him in the next year or two.
The Strikeforce Welterweight champion may not currently fighting in the UFC, but he is a very possible next opponent for GSP thanks to Zuffa purchasing Strikeforce. He is the guy on this list that most deserves a shot at GSP next, and the story has practically written itself with GSP recently defeating Diaz's training partner, Jake Shields.
Plus, Diaz has recently been wanting to walk away from MMA due to a lack of challenges in Strikeforce. I know Nick Diaz has wanted this fight for a while, and I have no doubt GSP will take this fight. Since Dana White has also mentioned the possibility of this fight, I don't see any real hurdles to make it happen. The timing couldn't be more perfect, It would be a great hero vs villain matchup. Make it happen Dana!