GSP is considered by many to be the underdog for a potential superfight in Dallas. Should GSP defeat Carlos Condit when they meet in Montreal in November, Dana White has indicated the next challenge for Anderson Silva and GSP will, in fact, be each other.
After initially posting the story of GSP being set to return vs. Condit, and preparing for a superfight, I realized just how strong my opinions are regarding this fight. The result is this opinion piece you read before you.
This is the superfight. The one everyone seems to want, and should GSP beats Condit, it seems as though it will be the one we all get.
With many stories circulating the Internet about how badly Silva will beat down GSP, I've opted for a different approach. Perhaps, a more persuasive approach as to why I believe that, although it will be a close fight, we will see a GSP win.
This will be a point system and not a yes/no system. Why? Well, let's face it: This isn't a yes/no world we live in. It's not as though these fighters can't both punch or kick or grapple. It's more a question of who has better abilities.
Striking: I have to give this to Silva. There's no doubt that Silva is the better, more powerful, more accurate striker. That isn't to say that GSP doesn't have good striking because he does. He is accurate, with great counter-punch abilities; however, Silva is the stronger puncher, with quicker hands and is more accurate. Silva 5, GSP 3
Takedowns: I'm jumping straight to takedowns for a reason. This is what everyone knows about this bout so far: GSP will keep trying to take Silva down; Silva will try to fend him off with punches. Again, that's not to say Silva doesn't have takedown skills of his own, but this is all about who is going to try and win in what area and GSP has this. Silva 3 GSP 5
Ground Game Top: Silva has the weight and some serious experience. Again, I think this goes to GSP. Silva doesn't have the same sort of arsenal on top, nor the speed, as GSP. Now, don't read that as GSP being far superior either. While I believe GSP has the strikes and submissions in his toolbox, and I think he would be the better of the two in the top game, it's a very close call. Silva 4 GSP 5
Ground Game Bottom: Another close one here. Silva tends to lay in wait, find a spot to squeeze out of and manage to sneak out. He does give up his back a lot when doing so, however. GSP is just as slippery from the bottom but still poses enough of a submission and active guard threat to Silva to give him a slight edge. Silva 4 GSP 5
Unorthodox Attack: If anyone will whip out something ridiculous here, it has to be GSP. We've seen a few funny looking spinning back fists from Silva, yes, but the superman punch, spinning kick and punch style of GSP will also take this category. Not a big category and unlikely to happen yes, but the edge goes GSP's way. Silva 4 GSP 5
Size/Strength: Overall, this category is about the lifting abilities and the ability to put weight on your opponent to tire him out. Silva has this. While he still has to cut an extra few pounds to hit the catchweight of 180 pounds, he will put that back on quick and definitely be the bigger fighter. GSP is no slouch when it comes to weights though. Silva takes it for sure here. Silva 5 GSP 3
Submissions: Silva's ability in the standing game is matched by that of GSP in the submission game. Given Silva's affinity for giving up his back when in trouble, I have to drop this category to GSP—and this includes standing.
There is a chance, however slight, that GSP could take this in a standing submission. That has to be considered here too. Silva has submissions, don't get me wrong, but I believe GSP to take this category. Silva 4 GSP 5
Conditioning: Having not seen the Octagon for the past year, GSP's conditioning could be in question here. I am basing this purely on past performances by both fighters, and I have to say that GSP, simply by virtue of his last six fights, takes this. With five of his last six going five rounds and his other fight in that mix going four, GSP should have the better conditioning here.
Silva tends to gas, or at least pretends to gas, quick. He often has a little left in the tank at the end, but taking on a younger, quicker fighter might prove to be too much. Silva's ranking here is up a bit, thanks to the uncertainty of GSP's conditioning and knee but still goes to GSP. Silva 4 GSP 5
Finishing: Has to go to Silva. No doubt, Silva finishes, and that's something GSP has struggled to do. While he still tends to pull out the wins, GSP needs to finish his fights.
It's something he can do and something he has done before but not something I suspect he will be able to accomplish here. This could be stopped early for many reasons, the most dangerous of which are those for bricks at the ends of Silva's arms and legs. Silva hands down Silva 5 GSP 3
Total: Silva 38 GSP 39
Now, don't go saying I've said GSP will walk all over Silva. The fact is, no matter how I slice it, this one is too close to call. My opinion here, though, is that GSP has more opportunity to win. Silva will need to keep it a short fight on the feet to take the win; GSP can win standing or on the ground. GSP also takes this if it goes the distance. So for those reasons, I have to give this to GSP.
You can easily make the case for either fighter here, and I'm sure this will illicit much response. However, in MMA, it almost never comes down to numbers. This is a game of skill + luck = win. If either fighter is unlucky or misses a chance that day, it could mean the end of the debate for that fighter as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
I'm looking forward to this one no matter who wins. Cowboys Stadium with 80,000-plus fans roaring for the biggest fight? This is going to be great!
In the comments below, I'd love to hear your ideas for some of the other fights who should be put on this card. Who would help make this night the biggest night in MMA?