Carlos Condit fought brilliantly, but was no match for Georges St. Pierre. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Is there any reason for the UFC not to make GSP-Silva? Could Johny Hendricks be the next welterweight champ? And what’s up with Rafael dos Anjos? Sherdog.com features editor Brian Knapp poses these questions, with answers from associate editor Chris Nelson.
Got a different take? Be sure to leave your own answers in the comments.
What are the risks and rewards associated with a Georges St. Pierre-Anderson Silva super fight?
It’s pretty hard to see much downside in this one. With both guys having already cemented their places as all-time greats in their respective divisions, the risk of tarnishing one’s legacy with a loss to the other is minimal. At this point, the only more salivated-over champ-versus-champ matchup is Silva-Jon Jones, and Silva has made clear that’s not happening. Even if the majority sees a Silva win over GSP as a foregone conclusion, it’s still a fight that scores of fans would kill -- or, more importantly, pay -- to see. As rewards go, it’s not tough to imagine the UFC smashing pay-per-view numbers, not to mention the massive media exposure that would come with a show at a venue like Cowboys Stadium.
The only real negative would be another year-long holdup in the welterweight division, especially after Johny Hendricks’ breakout win against Martin Kampmann last Saturday. St. Pierre just fought for the first time in18 months, and the thought of him not defending his title again until next fall is frustrating. That said, Hendricks isn’t going anywhere, and one more fight against Condit or Nick Diaz to decide a clear No. 1 contender wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Wrestled in college? No, I think Condit did everything in his power and things still went the way we expected. He got GSP’d and there’s no shame in that; it’s happened to the best of welterweights. Rewatching the head-kick knockdown from the third round, Condit might have had a better shot at pounding out the champ if he’d attacked from the side, rather than going into GSP’s guard. But that’s a minor adjustment to a split-second decision and one that wouldn’t have changed the fact that St. Pierre is ridiculously resilient.
If they should meet, would Johny Hendricks pose a serious threat to St. Pierre’s title reign?
It would be foolish to say that somebody with Hendricks’ punching power and wrestling game doesn’t pose a serious threat to GSP, or anyone at 170 pounds for that matter. We’ve seen St. Pierre punched out before and we saw him dazed by Condit last Saturday, so there’s no doubt a Hendricks left hand to the dome could put the champ in danger. Hendricks’ boxing isn’t as technically sound as St. Pierre’s, and the fight could wind up looking a lot like GSP’s five-round jab clinic against Josh Koscheck, but it’s still a fight that needs to happen.
Where does Rafael dos Anjos fit in the lightweight division?
Calling a fighter “well-rounded” is such an MMA cliche, but that’s exactly what dos Anjos has become over the last few years. Already a BJJ black belt, the Brazilian has upped his striking game with the addition of intensive muay Thai training at Singapore’s Evolve MMA. Beating Mark Bocek, as dos Anjos did soundly at UFC 154, is no small feat -- however, even with his all-around game in full swing, it’s difficult to imagine dos Anjos doing the same to the 155-pound elite like Benson Henderson or Nate Diaz. He might not win a world title, but I can see dos Anjos sticking around in the UFC for a long time, separating contenders from pretenders as a skilled gatekeeper, much like the man who broke his jaw, Clay Guida.
What did we learn about Francis Carmont?
He’s good at avoiding takedowns, defending guillotines and using psychic manipulation to convince judges to score in his favor. Not positive about the last one, but it’s otherwise hard to explain how two officials sided with Carmont when eight of nine media scorers tallied by MMADecisions.com scored the bout for Tom Lawlor. (I had Lawlor up 29-28; most gave him all three rounds, 30-27.) Of course, Carmont isn’t to blame for the funky scorecards, and he did manage to hang for 15 minutes with one of the middleweight divison’s grimiest grinders. The fact that he couldn’t find a way to hurt Lawlor on the feet suggest that Carmont is not, as his nickname suggests, “Limitless,” but it will be interesting to see how the UFC matches him up after technically winning four straight inside the Octagon.