Georges St. Pierre returns to "Sin City" this weekend for UFC 167: "St. Pierre vs. Hendricks," which takes place this Saturday night (Nov. 16, 2013) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a series of title defenses in Canada, "Rush" will have his work cut out for him when he takes on the devastating striker Johny Hendricks, who is on a six-fight win streak going into this championship bout.
The co-main event will feature two of the best fighters in the world today, as former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans takes on the charismatic and brash Chael Sonnen in a Light Heavyweight contest.
With the majority of this pay-per-view (PPV) card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let us look into the near future and map out what a victory on Saturday night might mean for these four combat sports stars.
Here we go:
Georges St. Pierre
That is a very good question ... what does a win mean for St. Pierre?
For starters, there are a few records he could break, including recording the most wins ever in the Octagon if he could defeat Hendricks on Saturday night. He is currently tied with one of his familiar foes, Matt Hughes.
GSP would also have the most wins in title bouts at 12, breaking the current tie with the holder of the record as it stands, Anderson Silva. Also, if the fight goes over 39 seconds, St. Pierre will become the fighter who has had the most time inside the Octagon, climbing over B.J. Penn.
However, what is left for "Rush" to prove if he is victorious at UFC 167?
Besides becoming the most successful Welterweight in the world, St. Pierre could be recognized as the best mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter on the planet, and maybe for some, the greatest whoever put on a pair of fighting gloves. With wide speculation that the pride of Saint-Isidore could retire after his bout with "Bigg Rigg," it would be tough to outline another stiff challenge that could be put in his way. There is Rory MacDonald, who could pose a threat to him if "Ares" defeats Robbie Lawler on the same night; however, the two training partners are reluctant to square off against one another.
With Silva being dethroned at UFC 162 and plenty of fights left for Jon Jones, St. Pierre would become the greatest fighter alive today if he secures his ninth straight title defense, with victories over some of the greatest fighters in the sport. His track record speaks for itself.
If Hendricks beats St. Pierre this weekend, it will be easily the highlight of his career.
"Bigg Rigg" has been involved in a nasty spat with the champion concerning the pre-fight drug test debacle, which both fighters could not agree on, and that should not take too much of his focus away from the fight.
A victory for Hendricks would make him the second active Welterweight on the roster with the most wins, and he would like nothing more than to crush St. Pierre to become the best 170-pound fighter on the planet, whether the record books say it or not.
The Texas resident is in a similar position to the one of Chris Weidman at UFC 162 when he defeated Silva -- a powerful up-and-coming force against one of the best athletes in the sport today. If Hendricks beats the champion, it would be a performance of similar magnitude.
With six straight victories inside UFC and only one loss on his record, Hendricks is the toughest test for St. Pierre in all of the division ... and perhaps his entire career to date.
"Bigg Rigg" would become a household name, and if he knocks out the current champion, it would be one of the most emphatic wins in UFC history.
In his post-fight interview at UFC 159 after being decimated by Jones in the main event, Sonnen was all but done in the sport. Having lost three title fights over two divisions, it seemed like it was time for Sonnen to call it a day.
Four months later, the polarizing figure earned "Submission of The Night" by slapping a guillotine choke on Mauricio Rua, stopping him in the first round. Was Sonnen a fighter reborn? Not necessarily, but definitely one we should not count out.
The best trash-talker in the history of combat sports may not have title shots on his mind as much as he used to and besides his desire to be champion some day, it seems like he is content chasing the big fights.
He will have his hands full with Rashad Evans this weekend, in a contest that will take place in the Light Heavyweight division, yet his post-fight plans are already set win or lose.
Alongside his arch nemesis Wanderlei Silva, Sonnen will coach the third season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil, and a win will give him leverage going into a possible war with "Axe Murderer" inside and outside Octagon in the upcoming months.
After an unsuccessful attempt at reclaiming the light heavyweight championship against former training partner Jon Jones and being upset by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira shortly after, it was the first time Evans found himself on a two-fight losing skid in his career.
Nevertheless he bounced back and he will be looking for another win over a tough opponent when he faces Sonnen in the co-main event of UFC 167.
Being a former champion and one of the division's most talented fighters, Evans does not have to do much to be reconsidered into the championship fold. Because of his status, one or two huge victories would cement his place in contention. Evans has beat a number of legendary fighters including Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson and has even had his way with up and coming talent like Phil Davis and Michael Bisping at the time.
If "Suga" can overcome Sonnen and looking impressive doing so, he is right back at the top of the ladder with one or two more fights before he starts calling the brass for his championship rematch.
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