2012 is a year ripe for change, with big things looming on the horizon and evolution seeming destined for MMA. But, what exactly could we see over the coming year? How might the MMA landscape look going into 2013?
It's virtually impossible to know, but I'm going to attempt to predict the MMA future anyway, with an eye on claiming major bragging rights at next year's New Year's Eve parties.
Nick Diaz Will Be The Reigning, Defending Welterweight Champion
2012: The Year of Nick Diaz.
Or maybe something like that. The Pride of Stockton has all the cards lined up to make a huge star turn this year, finally reaching his full potential and ascending to the very heights of the sport. Diaz already turned in a pretty solid 2011, picking up three impressive victories, one an absolute beatdown over MMA legend BJ Penn in his Octagon re-debut.
Now, having solidified himself as the man to shake up the welterweight division by turning in strong performances and playing the foil, Diaz is poised to face Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight title next month, with the winner to take on Georges St-Pierre when he returns from injury layoff to defend his championship belt.
Should Diaz defeat Condit (which is no easy task, but let's say for the sake of this scenario that he does), he'll be facing St-Pierre likely in late spring or summer, as the champ has had a serious knee surgery to recover from. That means that Diaz, consistently fighting throughout 2011 and 2012, will be facing a St-Pierre who's been out of the cage for likely over a year, most of the time spent off his legs rehabbing injuries.
Diaz is no easy out for anyone, and a rusty, mistimed St-Pierre could find himself with his hands full should he face the mean-mugging Californian in his next title defense.
My call is that Diaz will beat Condit to win the interim title and then St-Pierre to take the championship belt, which he'll go on to defend against Jake Ellenberger before getting shelved for being caught on the way to a press conference with an ounce of the kind bud.
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