Reeling off seven-straight victories in the Octagon is impressive no matter who the opposition is. But to have the three most recent wins on that resume being against Top 10 fighters Karo Parisyan, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, and Josh Koscheck, that just begs for title shot consideration.
UFC president Dana White seems to think so too. He confirmed at a question and answer session in Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday that Thiago Alves – who maintains that resume – is next in line for a shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
Current champion Georges St. Pierre will defend his belt in a mega-fight with UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn on Jan. 31 at UFC 94. If St. Pierre is successful, he will then have Alves on tap.
When asked if St. Pierre would face Anderson Silva if he got past Penn at UFC 94, White answered, "No. If he beats B.J. Penn, he'll fight Thiago Alves. And then, if he beats Thiago, maybe we'll start talking about (St. Pierre and Silva) meeting at a catch weight fight or GSP going right to 185 and fighting."
White later clarified that Alves will get the shot, not only if St. Pierre wins, but even if it is Penn that wins the UFC 94 mega-fight. "He's next in line for a title shot. If GSP beats B.J. Penn, then (Alves) fights GSP. If B.J. Penn wins, then he fights B.J. And then he'd have to defend that title for a while before I let him move up and try to fight Anderson."
For those salivating over the thought of St. Pierre vs. Silva, you'll have to hold on a little longer, but it looks like the wait is just about over for Thiago Alves.
The same may not be said for Kenny Florian, who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to challenge for the UFC lightweight title that Penn currently holds.
After Florian defeated Joe Stevenson recently at UFC 91, White told ESPN during a post-event telecast. “I said the winner of this fight is the next 155-pound challenger.”
But if Penn is successful in moving up and wresting away St. Pierre's welterweight strap, it looks like Florian may have to make the tough choice on whether to keep the bench warm a little longer and in waiting for Penn or risk his position on the title contention ladder by facing another top fighter in the lightweight division.