If you’ve taken a look at the welterweight Top 10 lately you’re going to find something in common with almost all of them. They have been beaten by Georges St. Pierre. Over the last two years “Rush” has beaten Thiago Alves, Jon Fitch, Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Matt Serra and Josh Koscheck. Pretty impressive to say the least. The biggest challenge for the UFC will be finding suitable opponents for the Canadian champion to be able to sell to fans the idea that GSP has even the slightest chance of losing. Jake Shields the answer.
During the UFC 100 broadcast it was announced that the winner of Martin Kampmann vs. Mike Swick may get the next title shot. MAY. It’s not for certain and the UFC may want to reconsider this match up, if they want to keep the interest in St. Pierre high. Kampmann and Swick are both top 10 fighters and unbelievable talents. They deserve to be where they are. But a fight with St. Pierre? They might not be ready. But more importantly the fans aren’t ready to believe this will be a formidable challenge for GSP.
The reality of the situation is no one at 170 lbs can compete with St. Pierre. It’s a harsh reality the rest of the welterweight division must face. If the UFC offered consolation belts, I’d nominate the welterweights to get first dibs.
The one name that the UFC could sell as a challenge to GSP’s belt would be Shields. Forget the fact that he is under contract with Strikeforce for a moment (If the UFC wants him, they can get him) and consider these facts about Shields
- He hasbeen in the top 10 longer than the majority of the welterweights.
- He has gone up in weight and beaten a top 5 Middleweight in Robbie Lawler in the first round
- He has incredible ground skills.
- Some rankings have him as high as number 2, whereas I would put him at 4.
- He trains with one of the best camps in the world and is always improving.
Do I think Shields would be GSP? No I don’t. But I think he would give St. Pierre a good challenge and most importantly the UFC could sell him as a serious threat to St. Pierre – unlike Kampmann, Swick or anyone else in the welterweight division for that matter. They would position it as the submission expert Vs. the man who was once submitted. It’s not too exciting, but it might be all that they have.
You see, St. Pierre has become so dominant that the welterweight division now looks like the middleweight division. It’s as though Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre are standing atop the mountain while the rest of the division is trying to find their climbing shoes. Let’s hope the St. Pierre run will be more exciting than Silva’s as of late and the UFC can drum up some interest and a challenge for St. Pierre.
Shields may be the one who can solve this problem. As we gaze down from the moutain it appears as though Jake Shields is in the lead. Albeit a distance second, he may be the last hope for the rest of the group.