The title fight will take place in Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 16, and will headline a card that also features Rory MacDonald getting his rematch with Carlos Condit, as well as Johny Hendricks fighting Jake Ellenberger.
St-Pierre (23-2) was last in the octagon when he defeated Condit last month at UFC 154. The win came after a knee injury and 19-month layoff where he questioned whether or not he wanted to continue competing in MMA. Leading up the fight and after the win, much of the attention focused on a possible match-up between GSP and middleweight champion Anderson, but St-Pierre has said on many occasions that he is not currently interested in a super-fight with the 185-pound king.
Now a bout with Diaz (26-8, 1 NC), the former Strikeforce welterweight champ, is on the horizon and set up in GSP’s home turf of Canada.
Diaz, like St-Pierre, has had an extended layoff from time in the octagon, as well. However, as opposed to an injury like GSP has dealt with, Diaz’s octagon absence has been due to a suspension stemming from a positive post-UFC 143 drug test for marijuana metabolites. Attempts for appealing his suspension have been unsuccessful, but the punishment will expire in February 2013 — a month prior to UFC 158.
Following his win over B.J. Penn at UFC 154, MacDonald (14-1) called out Condit (28-6) in his post-fight interview, stating that he wants revenge for the one loss he has on his record. Just a few days passed, and Condit accepted the challenge. The two originally met at UFC 115, where Condit defeated MacDonald by technical knockout in the third round.
Hendricks (14-1) has been knocking out opponents while climbing his way up the welterweight ladder. His recent knockout of Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 was thought to have cemented his place as the No. 1 contender to GSP’s crown, but the champ’s desire to fight Diaz trumped Hendricks’ place in the rankings. Instead, he’ll fight Ellenberger (28-6), who’s coming off a unanimous decision win over Jay Heiron at UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot.
Additionally, the company announced a rematch between Alessio Sakara and Patrick Cote will take place at UFC 158. The two first met at UFC 154 where Sakara was disqualified for multiple punches to the back of Cote’s head.
Tickets for UFC 158 go on sale Jan. 19
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