UFC Welterweight Champion George St Pierre‘s next title defense is set for November 16th and UFC 167. He faces a very difficult fight in the hungry Johny Hendricks, a man for whom this title shot could not come soon enough. Look for a relatively close line on this fight, as Hendricks has been electrocuting people with his punches and is the clear cut number one contender for St Pierre’s belt. It has been more than five years that GSP has held the belt, so it is time to speculate about the post-GSP world that Hendricks is trying to make happen.
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If St Pierre loses against Hendricks, an immediate rematch would be the only correct thing to do – if St Pierre wants it. But that is a big ‘if’. St Pierre would probably be 33 years old when a rematch occurs, and as the UFC’s premiere attraction for half a decade, St Pierre really has no financial need to keep fighting. Retirement is a solid option, especially if he doesn’t want to chip away at his legacy with a string of losses at the end of his career.
So what would Hendricks face if St Pierre retires? Well, sitting near the top of the rankings is Carlos Condit, which would be a rematch for Hendricks. After Nick Diaz is finished spending his money running an MMA show or two, he may un-retire and get his name back in the mix.
Two fighters who might be in the mix immediately are Demian Maia and Jake Ellenberger. Neither has faced Hendricks before and both present an interesting twist for Hendricks – Ellenberger is like fighting in a mirror, and Maia is a JJ specialist who is tall and lanky, compared to his stocky build.
One fighter who is not in the top 10 yet but also will be in the mix is Strikeforce refugee Robbie Lawlor. Lawlor is a big puncher who has faced off against other big strikers and excelled.
What is clear is that we would be unlikely to see another long reign for Hendricks, as the title might become a hot potato and be passed around by a very talented pool of fighters.