5 Big Questions Heading into UFC 158: GSP, Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit and More

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The UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz event is almost upon us.

It should be another huge event for the UFC PPV wise, and also is what appears to be a stacked card on paper as well. There are a number of questions that have piqued my interest going into this event. Check out the top five below:

Can GSP return to the 800K+ PPV buyrate figures he used to pull before his knee injury?

GSP was/is the UFC’s biggest PPV draw, even bigger than Brock Lesnar was in my opinion. He consistently was able to draw over 800K PPV buys prior to his knee injury that kept him out for near a year. The last four PPV events that GSP headlined pre-injury averaged 822,500 PPV buys. The UFC 154 bout against Carlos Condit did 700,000 PPV buys. I’m not sure how much of a factor this was in GSP choosing to fight Diaz. It is ‘personal’ after all, or at least that’s how they are billing it. History has shown us that grudge matches always do well PPV wise for the most part. This is a fight that people want to see and Diaz is a favorable matchup for GSP because of suspect takedown defense. It’s a fight that GSP will more than likely win, and look good doing so because Diaz is never in a boring fight. If this fight doesn’t do 800K or better, we could be looking at the decline of GSP as a PPV draw.

Can Johny Hendricks avoid tripping at the goal line of getting a title shot against former interim champion Carlos Condit?

Make no mistake. Johny Hendricks should be fighting GSP in the main event since he’s the rightful number one contender in my opinion. However, things happen and sometimes doors won’t open until you knock hard enough. I’m not sure how much harder Hendricks can knock, but beating Condit leaves no doubt that he deserves a title shot(there’s no doubt now actually). However, we’ve seen fighters be on the cusp of title shots and fail miserably in reaching that lofty goal. Michael Bisping, Alistair Overeem, Hector Lombard, and Alan Belcher are just a few of those fighters to pull a Kevin Dyson in the Super Bowl at the end of the game. We’ll find out if Hendricks can avoid that on Saturday night against a very game opponent.

 Which Nate Marquardt will show up on Saturday night against Jake Ellenberger?

Will it be the Marquardt that put them thangs on Tyron Woodley to become the Strikeforce welterweight champion? Or will it be the Marquardt that got his leg beat to death with leg kicks en route to a unanimous decision loss against Tarec Saffiedine? It’s a three round fight which should favor Ellenberger who has had major gas tank issues in the past. He didn’t look too hot in his last outing against Jay Hieron either, and arguably deserved to lose to fight although the judges saw otherwise. A Marquardt win would certainly validate him as a welterweight since this is only his third fight in the division. A loss would be pretty devastating for a guy that will soon be 34 years old fighting in a stacked division.

Will Rick Story be able to keep his roster spot after Saturday night?

I was really high on Rick Story at one time. He had a granite chin, can right after his opponents, and is always a fun fighter to see in action. I picked him to beat Thiago Alves although he came into that fight as a big underdog and he proved me right that night. However, he’s lost three of his last four fights with his fight on Saturday night coming against Strikeforce veteran Quinn Mulhern. We saw what happened to Jacob Volkmann after losing to Strikeforce veteran Bobby Green with the UFC announcing they were actively trying to trim their roster. UFC President Dana White has stated that the Strikeforce fighters coming to the UFC are hungry. Let’s see if Mulhern is hungry enough to take Story’s spot on the roster.

Can TUF 14 Finalist TJ Dillashaw make it three in a row inside the octagon?

TJ Dillashaw has looked really good inside the cage after losing his official UFC debut against John Dodson. He has rattled off two consecutive wins and looks for a third against Issei Tamura on Saturday night during the preliminary portion of the PPV card.The bantamweight division is in need of title challengers since it’s a relatively shallow division. Dillashaw could be in the mix with one or two more wins after Saturday night. Tamura is a SHOOTO veteran and is currently (1-1) inside the UFC. Let’s see if Dillashaw can make a statement on Saturday night.

Stay tuned to this week for more UFC 158 coverage and fight previews.

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