At UFC 217 history was made. Not only did Georges “Rush” St-Pierre return to the Octagon after a four-year hiatus, but a new UFC record was set as three title belts changed hands in one night of action.
GSP was able to choke out Michael Bisping to win the middleweight championship; TJ Dillashaw knocked out Cody Garbrandt to regain the bantamweight title; and Rose Namajunas shocked the world when she knocked out undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the women’s strawweight belt.
Will there be more changing of the guard in the other weight classes, or was that just a blip on the radar?
There are 11 legitimate champions in the UFC (with a couple of interim titles sprinkled in for good measure). Who is going to lose their title next and who will hang onto their shiny belt the longest? Below are our UFC Championship odds starting with the newly minted middleweight champ GSP.
There is already a lot of speculation on what’s next for St-Pierre. Some would love to see him drop down and return to the 170-pound welterweight division and challenge Tyron Woodley for the title. Zzzz … wake me up if that happens. Woodley vs. GSP (or Woodley vs. anyone) is not an earth-shattering matchup. The welterweight champ has become a snoozefest. Yet, the potential for St-Pierre to hold the belt in two different weight classes could drum up interest. GSP would be just the second UFC fighter to accomplish that historical feat, following in the footsteps of a certain Irishman.
Or we skip that altogether and go right to the bank.
Many (including myself) would love to see GSP square off with Conor McGregor. A marquee matchup of that magnitude would be the biggest super-fight in UFC history and rain money for all parties involved.
Could it happen?
At the UFC 217 post-fight press conference, Dana White poured cold water on all our hopes and dreams. The UFC president stated that GSP would be defending his new belt against interim titleholder Robert Whittaker. In fact, even before the Bisping fight, the UFC and GSP had an agreement in place requiring St-Pierre to defend the middleweight title at least once before moving to any other division.
Keep in mind though, UFC agreements are more like pinky swears. If White and GSP smell a huge payday elsewhere, they won’t hesitate.
That said, with all these weird fights being booked in the last year or so, having the 36-year-old defend his title before moving onto the next challenge seems like a reasonable request. There are logjams in a few divisions right now, and the champions need to defend and keep the lineup moving.
Barring some sort of injury or twist, right now Robert Whittaker seems to be the next one in line, but here is the full slate of GSP’s next potential opponents and more props on the legend’s future.
Odds on Georges St-Pierre’s next fight
- Robert Whittaker: 3/7
- Conor McGregor: 17/3
- Tyron Woodley: 9/1
- Yoel Romero: 50/1
- Luke Rockhold: 50/1
- Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: 100/1
Whittaker is what the UFC wants, but something tells me that Georges would love to hold two belts, meaning Tyron Woodley will be on his radar. One problem with that scenario: Woodley might need surgery on his shoulder and could be out for a long period of time. With his status unknown, he falls a bit in the “who’s next” odds.
GSP retirement odds
- Odds GSP retires in 2017: 100/1
- Odds GSP retires in 2018: 1/1
- Odds GSP retires in 2019: 3/1
- Odds GSP is abducted by aliens: 100,000/1
Leading up to UFC 217, St-Pierre mentioned that if he lost to Bisping that he would probably retire (for real this time). Now that he has the middleweight belt, retirement has been put on the back burner. That said, Georges is an unpredictable character and his next retirement could happen at any time (or the champ could be abducted by aliens) so it’s best to enjoy this GSP revival as long as we can.
Odds on longest title reign for current UFC champions
- Demetrious Johnson (flyweight): 2/1
- Cris Cyborg (women’s featherweight): 3/1
- Daniel Cormier (light heavyweight): 9/1
- Conor McGregor (lightweight): 9/1
- Tyron Woodley (welterweight): 19/1
- Stipe Miocic (heavyweight): 19/1
- T.J. Dillashaw (bantamweight): 25/1
- Max Holloway (featherweight): 25/1
- Amanda Nunes (women’s bantamweight): 50/1
- Georges St-Pierre (middleweight): 100/1
- Rose Namajunas (women’s strawweight): 100/1
Over/Under title defences for current UFC champions
- Demetrious Johnson (flyweight): 4.5
- Cris Cyborg (women’s featherweight): 4.5
- Daniel Cormier (light-heavyweight): 3.5
- Stipe Miocic (heavyweight): 2.5
- Conor McGregor (lightweight): 2.5
- Tyron Woodley (welterweight): 2.5
- Max Holloway (featherweight): 2.5
- T.J. Dillashaw (bantamweight): 1.5
- Amanda Nunes (women’s bantamweight): 1.5
- Georges St-Pierre (middleweight): 1.5
- Rose Namajunas (women’s strawweight): 1.5
We saw at UFC 217 that things can change in a hurry with one choke or a kick to the head. That’s the fun of MMA: anything can happen in a blink of an eye. Are any of the current champs invulnerable and set to reign for the foreseeable future, a la GSP in the middleweight division from 2007-13?
Demetrious “Mighty” Johnson is the most dominant champion at the moment; he has strong odds to remain the flyweight champ. Same can be said for Cris Cyborg (women’s featherweight) as there doesn’t seem to be a 145-pound woman on this planet who can keep up with the Brazilian champ.
As for new champions Rose Namajunas and Georges St-Pierre, they are long-shots to retain their titles for a significant period of time. Nobody knows how long GSP will be around or if he even defends his middleweight title at all. As for “Thug” Rose, she beat one of the most dominant champions in UFC history (Joanna Jedrzejczyk) and there will most likely be an instant rematch granted. Was Namajunas’ performance a fluke? We’ll find out in a few months.
The odds are based on past performances, future matchups and overall competitiveness of each champ’s division.