The UFC made headlines again today with talk of a Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva superfight by President Dana White, a prospect that has many fans buzzing and many in conflict with each other as well.
You would think that a matchup between the sport of MMA’s top two pound for pound fighters would be a no-brainer, but a large chunk of fans seems to believe that it’s a bad idea because of a potential mismatch due to the size differential between 185-pound champion Silva and the 170-pound champ GSP.
Those are valid concerns, but they shouldn’t supersede the importance of this fight and the spectacle of what could be a once-in-a-generation matchup.
White said that the fight could potentially happen in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, where the UFC would pursue a new record gate above the 55,000+ fans that attended UFC 129 in Toronto.
As the article above said, a Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight in the same venue only did 41,000 at the gate, so the UFC would have its work cut out for it. A GSP vs. Anderson Silva fight could be much bigger, however, due to the combined star power of the two fighters. And that star power is exactly what the UFC has been missing for many months as it has dealt with a slew of unfortunate injuries and other problems and lost much of the momentum it had gained from signing a landmark deal with Fox to broadcast fights on network TV in prime time slots.
The Fox fights have been getting better, but the injuries combined with other issues such as Jon Jones’ refusal to fight Chael Sonnen (I can’t really blame Jones since Sonnen didn’t deserve the fight, but it still sends a bad message) has manifested in a major drain of the organization’s buzz.
The Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson title fight was a phenomenal matchup for the true fans, but the bar I watched it in was virtually empty, perhaps on a bigger scale than I’ve seen in a couple of years. Other cards such as the recent one headlined by Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao were Spike TV (from back in the day) caliber fight cards, and while Jose Aldo, Junior dos Santos and others are great champions for the UFC, they don’t stir the emotions like GSP and Silva do.
A matchup between St. Pierre and Silva, assuming GSP gets by Carlos Condit, that is, would be tough on the welterweight champ GSP weight-wise, but his wrestling could be the great equalizer. It’s better for MMA than Chael Sonnen’s, and his striking is superior even at a smaller size.
Plus, GSP could play the hero’s role of the smaller guy, the likely underdog, adding even more drama and compelling theater to the equation. GSP is also the kind of tough-minded, challenge-craving fighter who would go for such a fight even if the odds are stacked against him.
In an era where other top fighters such as Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are too distracted, too coddled and too concerned with protecting their records and legacy by not sacrificing for the sake of putting on a truly timeless sporting event, a fight between GSP and Silva would be a revelation and a game-changing breath of fresh air not just for the UFC but for sports in general.
White senses that it may be the time to make a GSP vs. Silva fight happen in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium, and to be honest it’s long overdue. The likes of Josh Koscheck, Sonnen, Dan Hardy, Thales Leites, Patrick Cote and the vast majority of Silva and GSP’s other past and potential opponents simply don’t belong in the Octagon with them, regardless of size or other over-scrutinized characteristics they possess.
Nicholas Tomasi is an AP-Award winning sports journalist and author turned health researcher who has covered MMA for the Dallas Morning News among other outlets. He currently runs AltHealthWORKS, a website dedicated to alternative medicine, organic food and the GMO-free movement.