Friday, April 6, 2007

Welterweight showdowns highlight UFC 69

By Dave Doyle

The standard line of thinking among the mixed martial arts intelligentsia about the future of the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division these days goes something like this:

After Georges St. Pierre fights Matt Serra, he'll have his title rematch with Matt Hughes, and then the winner of that fight will get the winner of Diego Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck.

Which is exactly the type of talk Serra wants to hear.

The 32-year old Long Island native, the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 4 170-lb. competition last November, finally gets his promised title shot on Saturday in the main event of UFC 69 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

On a night with long-term implications for the UFC's deepest division, Serra knows he can make the biggest impact of all.

"I like hearing how I have no chance," said Serra, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout. "What happens if I win? Then what? No one thought Randy Couture would beat Tim Sylvia either. I'm not comparing myself to Randy, but everyone thought he'd get his head knocked off and look what happened."

Serra knows what he's up against when he takes on St. Pierre, who is ranked No. 4 on the MMA world pound-for-pound Top 10. By now, any MMA fan can rattle off the list of top-notch competitors GSP has left in his wake: Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, and some guy named Matt Hughes, who just so happened to own the welterweight division for years.

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