Josh Koscheck was the last man to steal a round from welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. On Saturday at UFC 124, GSP quickly erased those five minutes and appeared to lap his weight class after hanging another unanimous decision victory over his chatty challenger.
St-Pierre has rattled off eight consecutive wins en route to reclaiming the crown. Although the gap between he and the field appears to be widening, former EliteXC and Strikeforce title holder Jake Shields will remain GSP’s next test.
“Shields has the shot at the 170lb title,” Octagon president Dana White flatly said at the post-fight press conference.
It was believed all Shields had to do at UFC 121 was get his hand raised against Martin Kampmann and he was a lock to face the victor at UFC 124. However, some believed the grappler should have lost his next dibs status when he escaped with a split decision victory. White’s pointblank statement quickly put that chatter to bed.
The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt was admittedly unimpressive in his win over the better conditioned Kampmann, but did just enough to secure the W. Although White was extremely critical of Shields’ lackluster big league debut, company brass will move forward with Plan A, nonetheless.
While pay-per-view purchasers aren’t doing YES! cartwheels over St-Pierre’s next potential victim, the future Hall of Famer believes Shields will mark the ‘toughest test’ of his illustrious career – blah, blah, blah.
“Jake Shields, I like watching him fight. He’s a very meticulous fighter, he’s a very technical guy, he’s a brilliant submission artist,” St-Pierre said of his impending nemesis. “He beat up everyone at 170, almost everybody at 185. He fights in both weight classes, he’s amazing.
“When it’s your first fight fighting in the UFC, it’s always something special. Because UFC is the biggest organization in the world, it’s like a shock. I saw the last fight of Jake Shields and I heard people criticize his performance, but he’s probably the No. 1 contender right now for my title and he’s someone I need to keep my eye on because he’s a very good fighter.”
White was vague regarding when GSP vs. Shields might go down. He was also noncommittal when asked if the two-time defending Canadian Athlete of the Year would headline the Octagon’s Toronto debut in April 2011.
Some purists were hoping the powers that be would wait for the verdict between Jon Fitch and BJ Penn at UFC 127 before giving the champion his next assignment. Fantasy fight fans are still dreaming he’ll challenge middleweight champ Anderson Silva for his belt in his next Octagon foray.