GSP vs. Anderson Silva: Why You Shouldn't Care

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIAugust 29, 2012

Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Anderson Silva during a middleweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva is a pointless one-off fight fight whose only purposes are to sell tickets, sell pay-per-views and drum up interest in the UFC brand.

The fight shouldn't happen, Anderson Silva's insistence on fighting GSP—even if GSP loses to Carlos Condit at UFC 154—notwithstanding (h/t Sport TV, with translation via Bloody Elbow).

GSP vs. Silva has zero long-term relevance (And no, settling who is higher in the "pound for pound" debate does not count as relevance.) and only serves to further delay the growth of the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

Middleweight is no longer the kiddie pool of the UFC as it had been in years past. Gone are the days of Patrick Cote challenging Anderson Silva for a title. Now, a list of bona fide contenders such as Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher is ready and willing to fight Silva.

The top of the welterweight division is also a log jam.

Georges St-Pierre suffered an ACL tear in late 2011 that has kept him on the sidelines. An interim title was created to keep the division running—or at least that's what the idea was. When Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz for the interim strap, he decided he wouldn't actually defended it during the duration of GSP's injury, preferring to wait it out until the champ returned. 

Thus, the true welterweight title hasn't actually been contested since April 2011 when St.Pierre fought Jake Shields. This is much to the dismay of perennial 170-pound contenders such as Johny Hendricks, Martin Kampmann and others.

Furthermore, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva represent the precious few top draws the UFC has left. Why destroy one's momentum to feed that of the other?

The issue of their momentum is compounded by the fact that both stars are reaching the ends of their primes. St-Pierre is 31 years of age; Silva is 37—they're far from spring chickens.

Maybe the UFC is seeking to get a big PPV out of both fighters while they're still on the roster, but it's ultimately not something that'll live up to expectations.

Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva is a fight that perfectly parallels the hypothetical (but increasingly likely) Anderson Silva vs. GSP bout. 

Liddell vs. Wanderlei was the most called-for bout in MMA during the UFC vs. Pride days. Liddell was kicking a** and taking names in the UFC; Wanderlei Silva was doing very much of the same—except in more visceral, face-stomping fashion—in Pride.

Fans finally got what they wanted at UFC 79, in December 2007. The two icons fought one of the most exciting slugfests in the modern history of the UFC...but it just didn't mean all that much. 

Liddell had lost two straight heading into the bout and would lose three more afterwards—each more brutal than the next. Wanderlei Silva was coming off two KO losses and would only go a mediocre 3-4 after the fight.

It was nice to finally see the fight happen, but what was the point? Fifteen minutes of entertainment and the satisfaction of saying, "I saw a washed-up Chuck Liddell fight a rapidly declining Wanderlei Silva"?

The same logic is applicable to GSP vs. Anderson Silva. 

Yeah, it'll be fun to finally end all the speculation and see who is actually better, but it'd be much better for the long-term health of the sport to let GSP and Silva pass the torch to the next generation, rather than letting the torch go out.