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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC's welterweight division is in a state of flux with Georges St-Pierre stepping aside, and with a new Champion at the top of the division, things are wide open in the field.
However, with a new Champion in Johny Hendricks, there are questions about the divisions draw without GSP, and it's for that reason that one-time Welterweight Title challenger Josh Koscheck thinks the former champ will be back.
Taking part in a roundtable with ESPN.com, Koscheck thinks the UFC will have to ultimately pull out the checkbook to bring a big money fight back to the division.
"I buy [St-Pierre returning before the end of 2014]," Koscheck commented. "He's got a lot of money, so I don't think he cares either way. Here's the reason he'll fight, though. Even though the UFC and St-Pierre have a little bit of a grudge match going on right now, the UFC is going to suck up its ego and pay St-Pierre to come back."
"The UFC is losing money at 170 pounds because Johny Hendricks isn't going to sell pay-per-views. We know that. GSP is the pay-per-view king. The UFC will offer him something to come back and fight again. I can guarantee you that. It's all about the money."
Koscheck further commented on the state of the division, decrying the idea of a Nick Diaz Title fight and giving his thoughts on who should get Johny Hendricks next.
"How in the hell would they give Nick Diaz a title fight coming off two losses in a row?" Koscheck asked. "I should fight for the title if that's the case. You question the sport if things like that happen. That doesn't look good for the sport if Diaz is next in line for the title. Rory MacDonald, Tyron Woodley - those are good candidates for being next in line for the title."
Penick's Analysis: Harsh comments regarding Hendricks and Diaz, but they're actually steeped in truth at the moment. At least partial truth. We don't know what type of a draw Johny Hendricks is yet without St-Pierre. He was among the lower end of St-Pierre fights with UFC 167 last November, but how that fight translated to Saturday's UFC 171 card is yet to be seen. But the loss of St-Pierre isn't good for the UFC monetarily, certainly, and if they decide they need him back sooner than later, perhaps they'll make some concessions they haven't yet made for anyone else.
[Josh Koscheck art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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