Who's next for Georges St. Pierre?

After winning a unanimous decision over Jake Shields (left) in UFC 129, every Canadian MMA fan...

After winning a unanimous decision over Jake Shields (left) in UFC 129, every Canadian MMA fan wants to know who Georges St. Pierre (red trunks) will fight next. QMI's MMA columnist Neil Springer has a few ideas. (Mark O'Neill/QMI Agency)

 NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:10 AM ET

Another one bites the bust.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129, Georges (Rush) St. Pierre has taken yet another step towards cleaning out the welterweight division.

Though many fans are clamouring for St. Pierre to pack on more muscle and challenge middleweight champion Anderson (The Spider) Silva, the truth is the Montreal native still has a few challengers out there at 170 pounds. 

St. Pierre is well on his way to running through the competition, but he’s simply not there yet. Besides, in a sport that is growing as rapidly as MMA, the next big contender could easily burst onto the scene in the next year or two.

Here are some of the top welterweights St. Pierre has yet to face.

 

NICK DIAZ

OK, you’ve heard me pound my fist on the table while demanding this fight for a while now, but I won’t stop until it’s a reality.

Besides, Nick Diaz is on board. His coach, Cesar Gracie, wants it. Georges St. Pierre’s head trainer Firas Zahabi feels it’s the next logical step. And UFC president Dana White thinks it’s an intriguing fight.

All that’s needed now is for St. Pierre to agree to defend his UFC welterweight championship against Diaz and we’ve got ourselves one hell of a fight.

Following St. Pierre’s lacklustre victory over Diaz’s teammate Shields, the Strikeforce welterweight titleholder said he has what it takes to dethrone GSP.

“Let me get in there with that guy,” Diaz said in an interview with GnP TV. “They had him in there with my partner and look what happened to him, you know what I mean? What do you think is going to happen to him if they put him in there with me? 

“I think I’ll put my punches in, I think he’s going to try to force takedowns and go for takedowns ... I don’t know if that’ll be the smartest plan for him either.”

Stylistically, Diaz makes for an interesting fight and is the perfect guy to push St. Pierre. His punch output and tight ground game will make things tricky wherever the fight takes place.

 

CONDIT-KIM WINNER

Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit and Dong Hyun (Stun Gun) Kim are both on the cusp of title contention. They’re also set to face each other at UFC 132 on July 2.

In his last fight, Condit scored a highlight reel knockout on Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy at UFC 120 in October. He’s also well-rounded and is one of the most aggressive fighters in the welterweight division.

Though he trains with St. Pierre, he’s said in the past that he wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to challenge him for the title.

Meanwhile, Kim remains undefeated following 16 career fights. He won a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz at UFC 125 in a competitive bout in his last outing. 

A hugely underrated striker with a Judo base, Kim is tough to take down and constantly applies pressure to his opponents.

 

JAKE ELLENBERGER

Though Jake (The Juggernaut) Ellenberger needs to put together some wins over top competitors, he’s still one of the hottest prospects at 170 pounds in the UFC.

A former NCAA Division II wrestler with heavy hands, Ellenberger scored an impressive knockout over Sean Pierson Saturday at UFC 129. His only loss in the UFC was a very close split-decision to Condit at Fight Night 19 on Sept. 16, 2009 in his debut with the organization. Since then, he’s put together a solid four-fight win streak.

Ellenberger could easily put himself into title contention over the next year with wins against the right opponents.

 

ANTHONY JOHNSON

Much like Ellenberger, the next 12 months could make all the difference for Anthony (Rumble) Johnson.

At 6-foot-2, Johnson is one of the biggest competitors at welterweight and is a dangerous striker with a solid wrestling base.

Johnson is set to face Nate (The Great) Marquardt on June 26. A win against St. Pierre’s teammate and former middleweight title challenger would immediately put Johnson in the mix.

 

BEN ASKREN

Though both Diego (The Dream) Sanchez and Martin (Hitman) Kampmann deserve mention in this article, I promised myself I’d pick one fighter from outside the Zuffa family.

Sure, Ben (Funky) Askren is still predominately a grappler, but he’s young, talented and has all the potential in the world.

The 26-year-old Bellator welterweight champion and former NCAA Division I wrestler is undefeated and continues to improve. Give him a few more years to gain more experience against tough opponents and an opportunity to fight for the UFC is hardly out of the question.

If he can duplicate his success in the octagon, there’s no reason to assume he could never earn a shot at the welterweight strap. 

 

 


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