All the hype and speculation leading up to Saturday's UFC 129 suggested a win by Georges St-Pierre in the main event would clear the way for the superfight mixed martial arts fans have been pining for against Brazilian middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
An efficient, but unspectacular five-round decision win by St-Pierre over Jake Shields, coupled with post-fight comments from Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White seem to suggest plans have changed.
While White has remarked in the past that St-Pierre, who has now defended his title with ease six consecutive times, has cleaned out the entire upper tier of the welterweight division, he pointed to Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz as a potential next opponent.
"I don't think there's such thing as exhausting your challenges," White said. "There's always going to be news guys coming up. There will be challenges if he stays at 170 [pounds and welterweight]Nick Diaz would be an interesting fight."
One stumbling block would be Diaz's contract. The UFC bought Strikeforce in March. At that time, White said it would continue to run as an independent promotion with all existing television and fighter contracts honoured.
"I imagine I could do whatever I wanted to do if I really wanted to do it," White said after Saturday's card at Rogers Centre, which drew a North American MMA record crowd of 55,724 fans. "We have a contract with Showtime and [Diaz]is a Showtime fighter. We're going to have to see how this whole thing works out, but that's an interesting fight."
Shields, who trains with Diaz in California, said his good friend would be a tough fight for St-Pierre.
"I think his style matches up really well," he said. "His pressure boxing could hopefully do what I couldn't: cut him [St-Pierre]off and put more pressure on him."
White watched Diaz's last fight, a technical knockout win over Paul Daley in early April, in person and came away impressed.
"I was blown away by Nick Diaz's last fight," White said. "He looked incredible."
Diaz debuted in the UFC in 2003 and also took part in the second season of the UFC's popular reality series, The Ultimate Fighter, in 2005. He fought 10 times for the organization before departing in late 2006.
St-Pierre missed the press conference, taken to hospital to have his left eye examined after a second-round punch left him with blurred vision.
"We'll see," he told UFC announcer Joe Rogan immediately after the fight when asked about moving up to middleweight to face Silva. "I just finished my fight. I haven't considered that yet. Going up in weight class is a lot to consider. Maybe there are other ways [of making that fight] We'll talk."
On Sunday afternoon, St-Pierre tweeted about his injury, saying he expects to make a full recovery:
"Hey guys just want to say that I am okay. I'll need to see a doctor in the next days! I was told it was not a retina problem."Report Typo/Error
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