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Georges St. Pierre

December 17, 2011 by staff 

Georges St. Pierre, Seldom will you see the best fighter in a division — and one of the best fighters in the entire sport — be sidelined for a number of months and watch as interest in the division climbs, but that’s what should happen with the UFC’s welterweight ranks in 2012.

Last week, Georges St-Pierre tore his ACL, removing him not only from his scheduled title bout with Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in February, but sidelining him for a good eight months, minimum. While no one wants to see any athlete get hurt or lose a massive star like St-Pierre for the better part of the year, his temporary hiatus has me more excited about the welterweight division than I’ve been in some time.

There is no question that St-Pierre is tops in the 170-pound ranks, but when it comes to figuring out where everyone else stacks up, everyone you ask will give you a different answer. Starting later this month and throughout the next year, we might get a clearer picture of the pecking order, and we could have a few new stars emerge in the process as well.

First and foremost, this becomes Diaz’s chance to claim the second position in the division and run with it. He looked outstanding picking apart BJ Penn at UFC 137, and gets an early 2012 opportunity to become the de facto champion of the division when he battles Carlos Condit for the interim title at UFC 143. A win over Condit in February could set up some interesting matches throughout the rest of the year, and a sustained run with the gold around his waist would place him in a position to welcome St-Pierre back to the cage whenever he’s cleared to return.

After getting bumped twice, Condit finally gets a bounce to go his way, although at the expense of a part-time teammate. I’ve always been a big Condit fan, and was looking forward to his meetings with both Penn and St-Pierre before they were both postponed. Now he gets a chance to challenge for the interim title and stake his claim to the temporary top spot in the division.

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