Tarec Saffiedine: Georges St-Pierre's departure is 'exciting' for UFC's welterweight division

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Why so glum, chum? Just because Georges St-Pierre decided to leave MMA and vacate his UFC welterweight title doesn't mean the division is going to suffer, according to Tarec Saffiedine. "Sponge," in fact, suggests St. Pierre's absence will actually be "exciting" for the 170-pound weight class.

Not everyone thinks that Georges St-Pierre taking an indefinite leave from mixed martial arts (MMA) will hurt the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight division.

Chief among them is Tarec Saffiedine, the former Strikeforce 170-pound champion, who says that while he is a big fan of "Rush," his absence will spark a sense of excitement in the Welterweight landscape moving forward. Furthermore, he understands that a break from fighting after dominating for so long was a good thing for the former 170-pound king.

And while "Sponge" won't get the chance to square up against St-Pierre anytime soon -- a fight he says would have been great for the French community -- he's eager to climb his way to the top for shot at the title along with the rest of the contenders.

His words (via MMA Fighting):

"He has nothing else to prove. He's the champion for so long, he's at the top. I understand that he needs to some time off, I guess, for whatever reason he claims. He was a great champion and now it's going to be even more exciting for the welterweight division, for all the guys that want that belt. The welterweight division is so stacked, so many great fighters, and all the Top 10 are really tough. It's not easy to get a title shot, but I'm looking forward to that challenge."

The first two men who will get the chance to claim the vacant title will be Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler when the two-heavy handed hitters meet at UFC 171 on March 15, 2014, in Dallas, Texas.

As far as Saffiedine's prediction for the title fight, he claims that whoever lands first will likely win:

"Man, that's a great fight. I can't wait to watch that fight. It's going to be hard. They both have knockout power. Both looked really good in their last fight, even though Johnny lost. Robbie has been looking really great lately. Whoever lands that hand will get the win, I guess."

Saffiedine will make his much-anticipated Octagon debut when he faces off against Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC Fight Night 34 on Jan. 4, 2013, which is set to go down in Marina Bay, Singapore.

A win would give "Sponge" five straight and perhaps give him the edge he needs to crack into the division's Top 10, the first step he needs to complete on his road to becoming UFC 170-pound champion.

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