Sorting Out the UFC Welterweight Situation

This thing is a mess…

Well as I’m sure everyone already knows, UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra has been forced to pull out of his scheduled title defense against Matt Hughes at UFC 79 next month after suffering a pair of herniated discs in his lower back.

So what happens now?

Well one thing we know for certain - Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva are going to headline UFC 79.

Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports leaked some information about what UFC officials are considering in terms of possibly finding Hughes another opponent:

According to a UFC official, if Serra is out for a long period of time and Hughes agrees to fight on Dec. 29, the two most likely candidates for an opponent would be Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves.

Fitch I can agree with, Alves I can not. In fact I think that Hughes and Fitch would be a great matchup. However we can throw it out the window according to MMA Mania because not only can Fitch not make it to the event, he won’t even be in his country:

MMA Mania can confirm that Fitch is not available to fight that weekend. In fact, he told us today, “I’m not even going to be in the country. I’ll be in Vietnam tending to some personal matters.”

Hughes will most likely only be fighting next month if Serra is going to be out of action for a long period of time. So if Serra is going to miss more than a couple months, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UFC bust out the infamous interim title. But if Serra is only going to be out until February or March, Hughes would be wasting his time in taking a fight next month.

Alves should not be getting a shot at any kind of title in my opinion, not yet. He’s lost to Fitch and Spencer Fisher and needs to at least defeat a top 5-6 welterweight in the UFC before he gets a chance at the big dogs. The same goes for Marcus Davis in my opinion.

Josh Koscheck is coming off of a loss so that’s not going to happen. Diego Sanchez is coming off of two losses and probably won’t be fighting at 170 lbs for much longer. Karo Parisyan may have missed yet another title opportunity due to injury once again after revealing that he fought Ryo Chonan with a broken left hand last weekend.

So who does that leave? How about Georges St. Pierre?

If St. Pierre isn’t being considered to replace Serra, he’s going to be waiting a hell of a long time for a title shot, quite possibly almost an entire year. I think the idea of an interim title would be enough to get St. Pierre to agree to the fight on short notice. That and if he’s been active in the gym and not just sitting around waiting until a couple months before his next fight to get back into shape.

On top of that, it would finally settle the series between Hughes and St. Pierre. It would also make the welterweight title picture a lot more clearer. The winner of Hughes-St. Pierre would fight Serra in the spring if he is able to come back. If Parisyan and Fitch are matched up in March as rumored, that creates yet another number one contender.

The UFC will probably have a better idea on what have to decide after Serra meets with doctors this weekend. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

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