TSN.ca's MMA staff takes a look at some of the hottest issues in the world of mixed martial arts.
1) Will Georges St-Pierre defeat Carlos Condit at UFC 154 in Montreal?
John Pollock - Host, TSN Radio 1050 - The MMA Report - I think it's impossible to discount St-Pierre until he gives evidence to that point. I find it to be a benefit to St-Pierre that he is coming in vulnerable for the first time in years and people have tons of questions regarding his status and how the knee holds up over the course of the bout.
The St-Pierre of old should be able to control Condit, use his power double takedowns and be the better fighter. However, a torn ACL can have significant impact on his speed and takedown abilities, which are his bread and butter. Condit is certainly a threat but I feel Georges St-Pierre wins this fight.
James Lynch, TSN.ca - Yes, but it won't be easy. This is a very tough fight to pick when you factor in that St-Pierre is coming off major ACL surgery, has not fought since April 2011 and that Condit hasn't been finished since a 2006 submission loss to Pat Healy (his last actual loss was a close split decision to Martin Kampmann in 2009).
It's always cliché to hear GSP say, “This is the toughest fight of my career” and no offence to Dan Hardy or Jake Shields, but in this case, I actually agree with the 31-year old this time. Many fighters, let alone athletes, don't bounce back from a major surgery. I think the difference in this fight will be St-Pierre's mental toughness, as he has overcome adversity before.
Back in 2007 when he lost the title to Matt Serra at UFC 69 and faced Josh Koscheck months later, I think many GSP fans had the same nervous feeling they do going into this Condit fight. We all know what happened against Koscheck, St-Pierre dominated the Ultimate Fighter alum and did so at his own game by outwrestling him. We'll see if the same result plays out on Saturday night.
2) Win or lose at UFC 154, who should fight St-Pierre next after Condit?
Lynch - Forget Anderson Silva, I think regardless of the outcome, St-Pierre should fight Nick Diaz when he comes back from his suspension. Even if Johny Hendricks or Martin Kampmann has a spectacular finish in their “apparent” number one contender's bout, it won't be as intriguing or as entertaining as a fight between the Cesar Gracie fighter and the Canadian.
Consider that Diaz hasn't been finished in years and his last loss, against Condit, was a very close decision. Also, as the UFC has proved with the booking of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, track records aren't precedence for booking fights and having the opportunity to put the “Hero” St-Pierre against “The Villain” Diaz is something very exciting for MMA fans.
Let's not forget this fight was originally booked last year (before GSP's injury and Diaz no showing at the presser). The Tristar fighter has stated on many occasions that he hates Diaz and this has the potential to be one of the biggest fights in UFC history. So I say, Joe Silva book it now!
Pollock - I don't take anything away from Anderson Silva's apparent posturing that he will take the majority of 2013 off and fight at the end of the year. St-Pierre has lots of options win or lose coming out of this fight with Diaz and Silva's names at the top of the list. Diaz could be preoccupied with Koscheck and not be ready for a St-Pierre bout until next summer.
Should St-Pierre win, then I feel the UFC will move heaven and earth to put the mega-fight with Silva together and with a loss, I would say you do the Diaz bout as that is a big fight people want, whether Diaz is successful or not against Koscheck. If I was Joe Silva and St-Pierre loses, than I scrap the Koscheck bout.
3) Excluding the main event, which Canadian on the UFC 154 card needs the biggest win?
Pollock - Mark Hominick's back is against the wall with three consecutive losses heading into his bout with Pablo Garza. Hominick came out of UFC 129 as the feel good story of that card even in defeat, but after the Chan Sung Jung and Eddie Yagin losses, it puts him in a precarious spot at 145 where another defeat puts him in grave danger of being cut.
The reality is the UFC roster is bursting at the seams and with the Strikeforce situation, it is going to force the UFC to make some cuts and this is must-win for Hominick.
Lynch - Out of the eight Canadians gracing this event, Hominick needs a win more than anyone. After putting on a 2011 fight of the year candidate against Aldo for the featherweight title, the Thamseford, Ontario native seemed on top of the world, even in a losing effort.
Then with the sudden passing of longtime friend and trainer Shawn Tompkins and reeling off two straight losses, suddenly the 30-year old has become irrelevant in the featherweight division.
While Garza has a slight height and reach advantage, this is a fight Hominick should win. It would be a great story if Hominick was able to turn around his career around with a defining win in Montreal, a place he started his MMA career with the defunct TKO organization.