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Can Forrest Griffin Beat Rampage Jackson or Jon Fitch Beat Georges St.-Pierre?

Notes on a trip to Las Vegas.

In talking to fans and other reporters after UFC 84, there were two questions I kept hearing over and over: Which light heavyweight who fought that night will get the next shot at champion Quinton Rampage Jackson? And, Will lightweight champion B.J. Penn move up in class to fight welterweight champion Georges St.-Pierre?

Those are good questions, but aren't they overlooking something? Is everyone just assuming that Jackson will still be the champ after he fights Forrest Griffin at UFC 86, and that St.-Pierre will still be the champ after he fights Jon Fitch at UFC 87?

I think just about everyone is assuming that, and I'm not so sure that it's a wise assumption. Obviously, Jackson and St.-Pierre deserve to be the favorites, but it's not like Griffin and Fitch are pushovers. Griffin is coming off a very impressive victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, who was the last person to beat Jackson. Fitch has won every fight he's been in for five years running.

So, although looking ahead to a Penn vs. St.-Pierre fight makes for fun speculation, and although there are about half a dozen UFC light heavyweights who could have great fights with Jackson, I wouldn't get too excited about those fights just yet. Griffin and Fitch will have something to say about this.