The UFC has resurrected "Primetime," a three-part series featuring an in-depth look at the upcoming UFC 111 welterweight title fight between current champion Georges St. Pierre (19-2) and number one contender Dan Hardy (23-6).
The debut episode will air TONIGHT (March 10) at 10:00 pm ET on Spike TV and episodes two and three will air on March 17 and 24, respectively.
St. Pierre is no stranger to the UFC Primetime series. "Rush" was featured during the show's initial run when it was constructed around the colossal UFC 94 welterweight title fight between himself and former welterweight and current lightweight champion BJ Penn back on January 14, 2009.
The Spike TV special garnered 880,000 viewers (.73 rating) in its debut and added another hefty 614,000 viewers (.53 rating) in the replay that immediately followed for a viewing total of 1,494,000. In comparison, last year's highest rated episode of UFC Countdown scored 782,000 viewers.
It's no surprise the network opted to bring the series back to the airwaves -- although it's a bit surprising it wasn't done a little sooner. MMA pundits expected a "Primetime" look at Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir for UFC 100; however, it never came to fruition.
UFC 111 will be the first appearance for St. Pierre in the "Garden State" since his submission loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 50: "War of '04." Since that loss, "Rush" has gone 12-1, and a 2007 stoppage to Matt Serra notwithstanding, has looked nearly invincible in all 13 of his contests.
Aside from avenging his defeat to Hughes at UFC 79 (and then finishing his title aspirations for good at UFC 83), the uber-welterweight also put his stamp of disapproval on BJ Penn (twice), Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves.
In fact, Dan Hardy was likely afforded a title shot because there aren't many competitors in the 170-pound division that haven't already got a crack at the surging Canadian -- and came up short.
That's not to suggest "The Outlaw" isn't deserving. After squeaking past Akihiro Gono in his Octagon debut back at UFC 89, the Nottingham native rattled off three more wins, including two over a pair of the division's burgeoning prospects, Marcus Davis and Mike Swick.
Ironically, Swick was one win away from his turn at facing St. Pierre in a number one contender match against Martin Kampann at UFC 103 back in September; however, the Texan suffered a "Quick" exit from the event after getting dropped on his head during practice.
After "The Hitman" was shot down by Swick substitute Paul "Semtex" Daley on Sept. 19, Hardy was yanked from his UFC 105 bout opposite "Stun Gun" Kim and given the opportunity to elevate himself into title contention with a big win over one of the original Ultimate Fighter stars.
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