When fantasy becomes reality it’s almost more than we, initially, can handle. Especially for mixed martial arts fans who have imagined, begged or pleaded with the UFC for a long awaited, and probably overdue, superfight. For the past three years the dream consisted of two top fighters — Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre (GSP). But, much like high school gossip, rumors swirled around these two superstars for three years.
UFC President Dana White has taken our fantasy matchup and voiced it into reality. In an interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, White appeared confident that a Silva vs. GSP showdown was looming in the near future.
“If that fight happens, it will probably happen at Dallas, TX stadium.” White said. He alluded to the fact that St.Pierre would need to beat upcoming opponent, interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, first. “If Georges St-Pierre beats Condit, that (Anderson Silva) could be the next fight.”
Finally! MMA fans have wanted, for years, a Silva vs. GSP showdown. However, I have to pause and ask a question: Is this the fight fans are pining for the most?
Clearly that depends on the fan. Both St. Pierre and Silva have them in spades. Yet, I’m questioning, is this still the superfight we’ve wanted to see for three years now? With their rise in popularity and more importantly talent, the UFC has positioned itself to capitalize on its aforementioned success.
However, like my high school crush leading me on for years, I’m beginning to wonder if this fight has the same meaning it once did. I see two decisive reasons why a Silva vs. GSP superfight has lost its “high school crush” appeal — performance and relevance.
Performance: Both fighters, within that three-year period, have posted lackluster performances within the Octagon. For GSP the complaint for years has hovered around his game-planning for fights. Simply put, St. Pierre plays it safe instead of finishing opponents far less talented then he. Silva, on the other hand, finds all challengers to be less than desirable.
Anderson has never deemed an opponent worthy of sharing cage space with him. Because of this mentality he has been guilty of giving UFC fans bland performances inside the Octagon. MMA fans are quick to forgive — what they consider transgressions — but never forget.
Both GSP and Silva have had performance issues inside the cage. Unfortunately, their relevancy might have suffered because of it.
Relevance: Clearly you’re reading this section and asking yourself ... really?! St. Pierre and Silva are UFC champions and have a very relevant mixed martial arts fan base. To help understand my reasoning I will pose a question: Can you name a fight — for either GSP or Silva — within the past two years that has caused excitement within MMA community? The silence is deafening.
Back to the original question: Is this fight one I’d like to see? Yes. Does it have the same superfight quality of three years ago? The answer is simple. No.
Do you believe a GSP vs. Anderson Silva superfight is still relevant? Is this the superfight you’re waiting for? Let me know via Twitter at @scottlevesque.
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.