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Georges St. Pierre vs Robert Whittaker
GSP is BACK. Nearly 4 years after announcing his departure from the sport of MMA, Georges St. Pierre returned to the octagon and defeated Michael Bisping to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion. Despite some cardio issues likely stemming from the long layoff and carrying extra muscle after moving up a weight class, GSP not only looked like the GSP of old, he seemed to have gotten better in his time away.
With it being in his contract that he has to defend his title rather than moving back down to 170, GSP’s next opponent is pretty much a lock according to UFC President Dana White. Georges St. Pierre will face UFC Interim Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout. St. Pierre would be facing a vastly different and more dangerous striker than he previously faced with Bisping, as Whittaker possesses some of the fastest hands in the division with devastating knockout power to go along with them. A loss to Whittaker would be quite a blow to GSP’s comeback run, and could propel Whittaker into superstardom.
T.J. Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz/Jimmie Rivera winner
In one of the most hectic title fights in bantamweight history, T.J. Dillashaw overcame adversity and became a 2x UFC Champion after he knocked out rival/former teammate Cody Garbrandt in the 2nd round of a heated fight between the two combatants. After surviving a scary round 1 which saw him get badly rocked in the closing seconds before the bell, Dillashaw was able to keep his composure going into round 2 and patiently used his kicks to keep Cody at bay until one finally caught him, eventually leading to a fight ending TKO stoppage started by a brutal counter-punch. Now champion once again, the target is back on T.J., and the UFC Bantamweight division has no shortage of contenders who would love to take that belt from him.
Despite calling out flyweight title holder Demetrious Johnson for a super-fight at 125 lbs., I think the best course of action would be to have T.J. would be to have him face the winner of the upcoming Dominick Cruz/Jimmie Rivera matchup set to take place at UFC 219. A rematch with Cruz would present a chance for T.J. to redeem his previous title loss to Cruz back in January of last year, but would also be a chance for Cruz to win back the title he lost to Garbrandt last June. A win for Rivera would present a fresh contender for the title, and a very intriguing stylistic striking matchup between him and Dillashaw. Either outcome is a win for the fans.
Matchups for the remaining UFC 217 fighters
-Michael Bisping vs Lyoto Machida
-Cody Garbrandt vs Renan Barao
-Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk II or Carla Esparza/Cynthia Calvillo winner
-Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas or 125
-Stephen Thompson vs Darren Till
-Jorge Masvidal vs Carlos Condit/Neil Magny loser
-Paulo Borrachinha vs Brad Tavares
-Johny Hendricks vs Rashad Evans
-James Vick vs Francisco Trinaldo
-Joseph Duffy vs Paul Felder/Charles Oliveira loser
-Mark Godbeer vs Timothy Johnson
-Walt Harris vs Arjan Bhullar
-Ovince St. Preux vs Ilir Latifi
-Corey Anderson vs Tyson Pedro
-Randy Brown vs Galore Bofando/Chad Laprise winner
-Mickey Gall vs Jessin Ayari
-Curtis Blaydes vs Andrei Arlovski/Junior Albini winner
-Alexey Oliynyk vs Stefan Struve
-Ricardo Ramos vs Russell Doane
-Aiemann Zahabi vs Douglas Silva de Andrade