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Hughes vs. Penn: A better fight

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Hughes vs. St. Pierre Armbar Victory

The Weekly Tapout column on recently did a nice little piece on UFC welterweight contender Georges "Rush" St. Pierre.

As you know, St. Pierre pulled his groin while training for his upcoming rematch with UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes on September 23. According to the interview, St. Pierre injured himself on a simple wrestling throw during a basic sparring session.

It was serious enough that St. Pierre had to pull out of the fight, which he had worked so hard to get. Former UFC Welterweight Champion BJ Penn, who St. Pierre defeated via split decision at UFC 58: "USA vs. Canada" back in March to earn the title shot, was immediately named as his replacement.

Here's a snip from St. Pierre about bailing on the fight:

"You have to understand this is such a tough call to make. You cannot beat Matt Hughes if you are not at 100 percent. It would cheat the fans who pay their money for the fight if I am not at my best. I do not want to fight at less than 100 percent and lose to Matt Hughes and have the people think I am using an injury as an excuse."

This is a good thing for the UFC.


Because the St. Pierre story sounds like so many others:

An inexperienced fighter gets in over his head, loses, works hard, rattles off a string of victories, and returns years later "a better fighter" to avenge a loss to a dominant champion.

Didn't we just go through this with Babalu? We all saw how that turned out.

Of course "Rush" is a better fighter. But, so is Matt Hughes, which is scary. Let's not forget that St. Pierre got really beat up in the first round of the Penn fight.

That's because BJ pushed the pace and was aggressive. But, he stopped doing that midway through the second round and it cost him the fight.

There's no one more aggressive than Matt Hughes ... and he never stops. The more intriguing fight -- and the better fight -- is Hughes-Penn.

That's because the champion now has something to prove. We can't say that he won't lose, because Penn has already beat Hughes.

Make no mistake, St. Pierre is a good fighter and worked hard to get where he is. He deserves a shot at the belt ... but not before Penn.

"The Prodigy" should have fought Hughes from the moment he returned to the UFC. St. Pierre, unfortunately, had to get hurt to make that happen, but we're glad he did.

Because Hughes vs. Penn is simply a better fight.