Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/18/14

 

I knew when I started this blog that it was going to have something to do with the welterweight title.

Once the most “stagnant” and firmly held of the UFC belts (GSP modern day hasn’t had a “Silva vs. Sonnen” style close call) today it is the most tumultuous – and talked about – belt in the game.

Full disclosure: I was going to write about Carlos Condit, and the controversy that’s is still swirling more than a week after his controversial win over Nick Diaz for the interim title. After all, it’s what most folks are still talking about, fans and media alike. It would have been a shot across the bow, that’s for sure.

Who’s bow? I don’t know. Maybe Nick’s. Maybe Condit’s. Maybe Greg Jackson’s. Maybe his haters. Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the…wait, sorry, lost track of where I was headed for a second there.

But no, as a responsible member of the MMA media, it’s my responsibility to look forward, not back. Especially with a big event just around the corner. After it’s over, we can spend the next week looking back. That’d be the responsible thing to do.

Still, we can’t stray too far from Diaz/Condit – after all, I want MMA fans to actually read this, right? Good news: turns out tonight’s main event has a lot to do with what happened over a week ago – or more accurately, what likely happened weeks ago and only showed up in a piss test last week.

Yes, I’m talking about Nick’s most recent failed test for the sweet Maui Maui, and the consequences it has had for the welterweight division. Before the failed test, the road map was clear: Diaz rematches Condit. Diaz beats Condit like his legion of fans, the UFC (I’m guessing) and even GSP were hoping for. Diaz faces GSP in the fall in the most anticipated welterweight title fight since Penn vs. St. Pierre 2 – and likely with the same outcome. Everyone wins.

Now that Keith Kizer is likely sending Nick to his room for a year to think about what he’s done (hopefully that’s not where he stashes his bong…) the picture is not so clear. The obvious move would be to have Condit just wait until GSP is ready and face him as intended, but I just don’t think that’s the best plan. As I’ve written before, it doesn’t make sense for a fighter in his prime to spend over a year sitting on his title, making zero dollars. It also won’t help sell GSP vs. Condit any if Condit disappears for a whole year after barely squeaking by to get his belt.

More and more, it’s looking like Condit’s going to have to defend his faux-strap. And who better to defend it against than the winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez?

Ok, so Johny Hendricks also has a pretty good case for a title shot. He’s got the three ingredients for MMA superstardom: a wicked amateur wrestling background, a knockout win over a P4P entrant, and a beard so manly it actually absorbs testosterone from air molecules.

But outside of the Fitch KO, Hendricks doesn’t have a whole lot of elite level names on his resume. He also has the loss to Rick Story in his (somewhat) recent history, as well as some decidedly “not ready for title shot yet” squeaker wins over TJ Grant and Mike Pierce.

And finally, he’s already got a fight scheduled with Josh Koscheck already, so it’s probably better to let him get another big name on his resume, and wait to face the winner of GSP/Whoever next year.

What does that leave us? Tonight’s main event, pitting possibly the hottest contender at welterweight against…Diego Sanchez. I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first Ellenberger. In the words of Will Ferrell’s character from “Zoolander” – he’s so hot right now. 5 straight wins in the UFC, over some pretty serious competition. A stunning KO over another former P4P entrant in his last fight. 26-5 overall. And his only UFC loss being a very controversial decision loss to…wait for it…Carlos Condit.

He has the resume, the style, and history with the (interim) champ. He beats Diego Sanchez tonight, and he’s got an easy pass to an (interim) welterweight title shot.

But what about Diego? Yeah, his case for a title shot is a lot murkier. With a victory, he’d only be riding a 3 fight win streak – but those 3 wins are over Paulo Thiago, Martin Kampmann, and Ellenberger. That’s a damn good list of names if I do say so myself.

Still, any Diego title shot at welterweight will be marred slightly by the old “didn’t this guy get stomped at lightweight?” argument.

And yeah, that hurts. But if Diego wins tonight, I have a sneaky suspicion the UFC will give him the shot for two reasons. One, he is a “name”, a TUF winner, and a personality that can sell a fight. Two, his style practically guarantees an exciting fight, something I never thought I’d have to say in a Carlos Condit fight.

Assuming the UFC decides to have Condit defend his title pre-GSP fight, I suspect the person who will be challenging him is the winner of tonight’s battle.

Call it a #2 contender’s fight.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wil Myers heads to Padres in 11-player, 3-team trade

Bears to bench Jay Cutler, start Jimmy Clausen

Bo Pelini calls Nebraska AD a ‘c–t’ and ‘p-ssy’

49ers release Ray McDonald

Take your pick: Colin Kaepernick or Derek Carr

Jim Harbaugh to Michigan speculation building

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Marshall: Bears need to gel and do some kumbaya

Red Sox appear content with rotation despite lack of true ace

Iguodala gets technical for mocking Conley travel

Bo Pelini takes shot at Nebraska during introductory presser

Brian Billick owns Browns fan over Johnny Manziel criticism

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

WATCH: Did Flyers' Giroux wipe boogers on linesman’s back?

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to 2-year deal

12 candidates to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt

Brad Halsey claimed he was on cocaine for Bonds record HR

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson lead in 2014 athlete Google searches

Max Scherzer next domino to fall in free agent market

Another "Fire John Idzik' plane flies at Jets practice

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

5 NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Five reasons why FSU is going to win the CFB Playoff

Boxer admits to dive in Rourke bout

FCC heard about Brady's swearing?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.