Now that a majority of UFC fans have abandoned the Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva fantasy "superfight" in favor of "The Spider" taking on newly crowned light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones, it only makes sense to have "Rush" try to unify the 170-pound titles by fighting Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, right?
Not so fast.
The Canadian superstar won't have the chance to fight Diaz because according to Cesar Gracie, UFC welterweight number one contender Jake Shields is going to "take care of business" in his UFC 129: "St. Pierre vs. Shields" title fight on April 30 in Toronto.
Gracie is the mastermind behind the success of Shields, the Diaz brothers and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, which means a win for his team across the northern border pretty much eliminates any type of title unification bout for as long as Diaz and Shields retain their respective straps.
As Gracie explains to StudioMMA.com, his students won't subscribe to "teammate vs. teammate" matchmaking under any circumstance:
"As far as Nick Diaz is concerned, there's nothing out there like him, really. I'd love for him to fight GSP but I think his teammate's gonna take care of business. My guys won't fight each other, it's just one of the laws we got. Even if I didn't want that, they just don't want to fight each other. It's a big world with a lot of good fighters out there, why do they have to fight each other? Because people want to see it? People want to see a car accident, I don't really care. Our guys don't fight each other."
And there you have it.
Of course none of that matters if St. Pierre successfully defends his title in front of a hometown crowd, but does that put him any closer to a cross-promotional fight against Diaz?
There's been a lot of talk from the Zuffa brass about keeping the brands separate until the Showtime contract expires in 2014, but if Shields should fail, who else is in the UFC welterweight division that can give "Rush" a run for his money?
I'm sure the idea of GSP vs. Fitch II doesn't get too many fans excited, but what about the rest of the division? Anthony Johnson? Someone else?
Let's hear your take on the 170-pound landscape for the rest of 2011 -- and beyond.