Georges St-Pierre probably didn't give Nick Diaz the worst beating he's ever seen as promised.
But it was still a victory -- and an overwhelming one at that -- as St-Pierre defended the welterweight title he's held since 2008 with a unanimous decision (50-45 on all three cards) at UFC 158 early Sunday morning.
"He did a great job promoting the fight," St-Pierre said in his post-fight broadcast interview. "He's good. Nick Diaz is a good guy. Give some applause for Nick Diaz."
St-Pierre had Diaz on his back within the opening seconds of the first round, where he kept Diaz a large portion of the five-round fight at Bell Center. That's also where they finished as St-Pierre struck Diaz repeatedly before the clock expired.
The bout capped weeks' worth of barbs between the two camps.
The usually reserved St-Pierre was put on the defensive as Diaz's verbal onslaught attacked everything from St-Pierre's apparel, to his upbringing, to whether he's on steroids.
St-Pierre, who denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, called Diaz an "uneducated fool" and "crazy" in various media functions as Diaz pressed the normally stoic GPS's buttons.
The capacity hometown crowd took up St-Pierre's defense, chiding Diaz with a chant that included a certain four-letter expletive. And Diaz wasn't on his best behavior after the first three rounds.
Diaz had to be separated by the referee for walking toward St-Pierre and talking trash after the first and second rounds. After the third round, it looked like he hit St-Pierre after the buzzer had sounded.
But in the end, Diaz hugged and raised St-Pierre's arm before the decision.
"I never took it personally," St-Pierre said of Diaz's trash talking. "I'm a big fan of Nick. He's one of my favorite guys to watch. That's why I wanted to fight him."
Diaz hinted heavily that he's looking at retirement in his post-fight interview, which you had to struggle to hear over the jeers.
"I think I'm going to have to kind of figure out (if) I really want to keep doing this," Diaz said.
Exactly who will get the next title welterweight shot was settled in the co-main event in a bout that didn't lack in action. Johny Hendricks, who was already tagged as the No. 1 contender by the UFC's official rankings, earned a unanimous-decision victory (29-28 on all cards) over Carlos Condit.
Hendricks was originally scheduled to fight Ellenberger at UFC 158. But Condit's first opponent, Rory MacDonald, was injured in training and Hendricks lobbied to fill in. Hendricks found a worthy competitor in Condit, who was looking to rebound from a loss to St-Pierre in November.
Hendricks said he broke his left hand during the fight.
"I'm banged up, but I will be ready whenever he is," Hendricks said. "He can fight me here in Montreal, or any arena anywhere in the world. That, or I grab (UFC president) Dana White, I hire the Octagon myself, I hire a ref and I show up at his house, ring the door bell and we fight right there on his porch. He's got nowhere to hide now."
"I wish Johny the best of luck in his title shot," Condit said. "He's earned it. I will be back."
Jake Ellenberger had the first knockout of the main card, setting up the TKO with a left hook that caught Nate Marquardt on the side of the head. Ellenberger followed it with an overhand right that crumpled Marquardt. Ellenberger finished the fallen Marquardt with a few final, well-placed punches, winning with two minutes left on the clock in the opening round.
On a fight card loaded with the UFC's top welterweights, the fact that Ellenberger made short work of Marquardt is a good argument for him to be considered among the stacked division's elite.
"This is no doubt the biggest KO of my life and it puts me right there for a title fight or No 1. contender fight," Ellenberger said.
Mike Ricci eased to a unanimous-decision victory over Colin Fletcher (30-27 on all cards) in the first bout on the main card. It was Ricci's first fight since he lost to Colton Smith at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 16 in December.
"I grew up wanting to win in the Octagon and I've spent six years on a road of blood and sweat to make sure I got here," Ricci said.
Chris Camozzi ran his UFC winning streak to four consecutive fights with a split-decision win over Nick Ring (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
"It was a tough fight," Camozzi said. "He fought in a weird style, which was hard to figure out. I did more damage and I think that's what the judges went on."
Patrick Cote, a hometown favorite, got some very favorable judging in the final fight broadcast on FX.
After it appeared the fighters split the first two rounds, Bobby Voelker -- a former Strikeforce fighter making his UFC debut -- completely dominated the third. He had Cote on his back, taking strikes against the cage for much of the third.
No matter. The judges gave the fight to Cote, by unanimous decision no less (29-28 on all cards).