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Fightweets: Georges St-Pierre stays in the news

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Esther Lin

Two weeks after his victory over Carlos Condit, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre seems to be tied to every hot news item in mixed martial arts.

Who deserves the next shot at his title? Will the superfight with Anderson Silva happen, and if so, at what weight, and in which venue? What does he think of women's MMA? If there's something going on in the sport, there's probably some way to link it to St-Pierre.

So with that, on to a GSP-heavy edition of Fightweets. If you'd like to be considered for a future edition, go to my Twitter page and drop me a line.

Sick of the Superfight

@SeanPeconi: I'm sick of hearing about GSP/Silva when nothing's finalized and may never be. Can we move on for now?

Well Sean, all you have to do to figure out whether or not Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre talk is going to vanish anytime soon is take a look at our brethren over in the boxing biz. How long has the boxing media been talking about a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao megafight? About four years or so, maybe? Granted, Mayweather-Pacquiao has different dynamics than Silva vs. St-Pierre since there isn't one central promoter to make the former fight. Further, Mayweather and Bob Arum aren't exactly best of friends. That makes the fight more difficult to put together than Silva-GSP, which is why the talk has dragged out in the media as long as it has.

It's not likely the drama around MMA's superfight will drag out as long as boxing's big one. But the two fights similar in that people care about the two biggest stars in their sport, so whenever either fighter -- or their spokesmen -- talk about the other, it's a big website clicker. Even those who say they're sick of it all still click on the story and read it before going to the comment section and writing about how they're tired of it all. So as long as that lasts, the story's not going away. Sorry.

Is Diaz the No. 1 contender?

@RuckerYeah: Firas Zahabi says that Nick Diaz should be GSP's No. 1 contender. Is he nuts?

He's not nuts, he just has his eyes on the bottom line.

No way Nick Diaz is the No. 1 contender right now. He's been out of action for a year. He lost his last fight to Carlos Condit. St-Pierre beat Condit more convincingly than Condit beat Diaz. And, let's face it, Diaz's 10-fight win streak before the Condit loss was a bit of a hype. His most impressive win in that stretch was over an aging B.J. Penn, who has won one fight in the past three years. And his victory over Paul Daley was a fun scrap. Other than that? The streak features fights with the likes of Evangelista Santos, Marius Zaromskis, Thomas Denny, and Mushin Cobbrey, none of whom will get near a GSP title match without buying a ticket.

Johny Hendricks, the man whom Zahabi doesn't see as the No. 1 contender, is on a roll in which he's defeated Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Martin Kampmann. The knockouts of Fitch and Kampmann combined were done in under a minute. From a pure sports perspective, Hendricks is so much more deserving of a title shot than Diaz that this barely seems worth discussing.

But then, that brings us to the mile-wide hole in UFC title-fight-making-logic these days. Call it The Jones-Sonnen Conundrum. A match between St-Pierre and Diaz would do bigger business than GSP-Hendricks. St-Pierre legitimately dislikes Diaz. An angry GSP against the sport's bad boy? Box office gold. Assuming that St-Pierre doesn't fight Silva next, the UFC's choice for GSP's next title challenger will be telling for the UFC's future direction. Was Jones-Sonnen a one-off deal? Or will the UFC make a regular habit of bypassing the top contender for the bigger-money fight? Zahabi seems to be banking on the latter.


@rynneKrepmasS: GSP has been getting hate for his statement of WMMA, he said nothing sexist but people are going crazy. What do you think?

I think women's MMA totally rocks. I also think the WNBA is just about unwatchable, and judging by the league's TV ratings, I don't think I'm the only one who has come to that conclusion. We all have our opinions and tastes. Some have expressed they don't like men's flyweight fighting. Some prefer MMA in a ring instead of a cage, or PRIDE rules over unified rules. St-Pierre has said he doesn't like watching women's MMA. I disagree with the champ on this one, but all he's doing is expressing his opinion and he's entitled to it. If St-Pierre said "women should not be allowed the opportunity to fight," that would be something altogether different. But that's not what he said. No one can make me like the WNBA, no one is being forced against their will to watch flyweights, and no one can make St-Pierre doesn't have to like the idea of watching women fight. To each, his or her own.

Strikeforce champs ducking fights?

@GiglioTrey: Is it possible the Strikeforce champs are faking injury to preserve belt for UFC unification?

That's a heavy allegation to lay out there, brother. I've seen Gilbert Melendez fight in person several times and talked to him several times, and he's among the last guys in the world I think would fake an injury and duck a fight. I don't have the same in-person experience with Rockhold, but I'd be stunned if he would do the same, either.

If my word isn't enough, consider a couple things here: 1. What would Melendez and Rockhold be protecting, exactly, by skipping a fight? Consider that when Jake Shields left Strikeforce as middleweight champion to go to Zuffa, the credentials meant zilch to the UFC audience. The fans in Anaheim basically sat on their hands for Shields' UFC debut fight against Martin Kampmann. And that was back when Strikeforce was still drawing huge television audiences and was able to draw full houses for their biggest fights. The Strikeforce belts mean much less now than they did even back then. 2. In Melendez's case, his last fight was in May, which was his razor-thin split decision over Josh Thomson. By dropping out with an injury, he's guaranteeing it will be close to a year out of the cage when he finally makes his UFC debut. And he's likely to get a name opponent in his first UFC fight. Would Melendez willingly choose a scenario in which not only did he have to contend with the pressure of his UFC debut, but also ring rust, simply to skip a Strikeforce fight? That's a bit hard to believe. Likewise, Rockhold has fought only once since January and was just starting to gain recognition in the industry. So, while I can understand the knee-jerk questioning when the same two fighters dropped out again, if you look a bit beneath the surface, the line of logic doesn't really hold up.

Unhappy fans

@crazedfishuk: When will UK fans embrace the announcement of a UFC card instead of slamming it?

Well, mate, you can take out U.K. and substitute "U.S.," "Canada," or pretty much every country the UFC runs in except Brazil, and the question would still be valid. So let me know if you figure out the answer to that one.

Lineal champs

@TannerRuss2: What's this lineal championship nonsense? Shouldn't the person who holds the belt be regarded as the champ?

Hmm ... random topic. I would guess it would be most relevant today because Alistair Overeem is the current lineal heavyweight champion, based on the most accepted chain of events (he defeated Fabricio Werdum, who had defeated Fedor Emelianenko, and on backwards through time). In theory, a lineal title is a way to determine the real world champion based purely on who beat whom over the years, without regard to promotional boundaries. In practice ... well, do you consider Frank Shamrock to have given up his claim to the lineal light heavyweight title when announced his retirement while holding what was then called the UFC middleweight title? Some say yes, some no. So even a concept which is supposed to be based on purely objective reasoning encounters subjective decision making. Ultimately, lineal titles are a fun topic to discuss over a beer or two, but aren't worth much in the grand scheme of things.

Grading 2012

@justoslice: although we still have december, up until this point, how would you grade 2012 for mma?

Incomplete. There's no other grade you can give to a year in which so many fighters were injured and so many big fights fell out. Consider 2012 like a college course in which you have to withdraw midway through, then get set to re-enroll for the following semester and get back at it.