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Opening Round: If Not Nick Diaz or Georges St. Pierre, Who?

One is likely headed for a year-long suspension, while the status of the knee on the other one makes his return to the Octagon unknown as well.

So, with Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre currently M.I.A., where does that leave UFC interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit to look for a new opponent?

Well, “The Natural Born Killer” could always sit and wait for St. Pierre to heal up and unify the titles with the long-time champ in the division. But, what if Condit prefers to take a few months, relax, heal up, then hit the training process again. And, say for arguments sake, GSP’s knee is still on the mend. Where does that lead him?

For starters, Condit may want to tune in to Fuel TV’s main event this coming Wednesday, as rising star Jake Ellenberger takes on Diego Sanchez. Ellenberger, a former college wrestling standout, took a sudden shot up the rankings by knocking out Jake Shields in 2011. In Sanchez, Ellenberger will face a former contender in the UFC’s lightweight division and a formidable foe that could also be on the fast-track to title contention. A memorable win by Ellenberger could set the stage for the youngster to challenge Condit.

Or, say Sanchez takes out Ellenberger, then what? Well, how about Josh Koscheck? “Kos” has been calling out Condit for quite some time now, and you know Koscheck would not back down in terms of trash talking and promoting the fight – two things the UFC loves to have in a main event lacking “star” power. And of course there’s always Johny Hendricks to consider.

So, with no Diaz, no GSP, will we find out this Wednesday if Ellenberger has what it takes to become a challenger in the UFC’s welterweight division? Only time will tell but one thing is certain – the landscape out there isn’t as bad as it may appear without Diaz/GSP on the horizon.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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