The answer to that question will hinge on the outcome of his welterweight title defense at UFC 100. While some will balk at the notion of St. Pierre moving up to the heavier division support for such a move will reach its tipping point if he comes out of his fight with Thiago Alves still the man.
Clearing out the competition in a division convincingly is a prerequisite for moving up in weight class and St. Pierre started doing that when he beat Matt Hughes at UFC 79. By Finishing off the seven time welterweight champion for a second time, St. Pierre illustrated to the mixed martial arts community that Matt Hughes no longer set the standard for championship caliber.
At UFC 83 St. Pierre avenged his dramatic UFC 69 loss to Matt Serra in dominant fashion which validated that the “biggest upset in UFC history” was merely an aberration. St. Pierre would take the word dominant and make it a theme in his next two fights.
His UFC 87 win over Jon Fitch was no small feat given Fitch came into their match on an eight fight octagon win streak. Beating the second best welterweight in the world in such forceful fashion offered tangible evidence as to the distance St. Pierre had created between himself and the rest of the division.
St. Pierre would go on to dictate B.J Penn which fully crystallized that distance. The contrast between their UFC 58 struggle which ended in split decision and the UFC 94 affair which had Penn quitting on his corner stool startled those who were expecting a competitive exchange of blows.
Some will argue the Mike Swick-Martin Kampmann UFC 103 winner would provide a good match up and Jon Fitch himself has said he is not the same fighter that lost to the champion last summer. Despite those options, the most compelling and competitive fights for St. Pierre will be waiting for him in the middleweight division.
On the top of the list for most fans is a super fight between George St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. While people will argue St. Pierre should have to prove himself in the division before getting an immediate title shot those sentiments will be silenced if Dana White wants to broker the fight.
Putting together a fight with Anderson Silva is a bit precarious these days though. Silva has a fight with former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin in front of him at UFC 101 and beyond that there is a slue of middleweight contenders waiting in the wings assuming he comes back to the division.
Getting back to the question at hand, what’s really on the line is the legacy of St. Pierre. He can finish out his career by continuing to rack up wins in the welterweight division and or he can significantly increase the level of his competition being moving onward and upward.
If he chooses the latter, he could set himself up to be the considered the best fighter in UFC history, but only if successful in his new division. And for a man who walks into the octagon around 190 pounds, the weight cutting process just go a whole lot easier.
Tags: Georges St. Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts, ufc 100