After four years and countless aborted attempts at bringing the bout to fruition, UFC president Dana White remains bullish about a potential superfight between welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and middleweight boss Anderson Silva.
"I want Anderson Silva to love this fight and want it," White told an assembled press corps in Montreal. "I want Georges to love this fight and want it, cuz they’re both gonna make a sh**load of money. That’s a no-brainer. I want them to want it for the right reasons. This is more of a legacy fight. This is the pound-for-pound fight.”
Unfortunately for White, neither Silva nor St-Pierre seem remotely interested in the fight he's been hard-selling to the press for nearly half a decade.
Silva watched St-Pierre's return to action against Carlos Condit with interest, but didn't enter the cage after the fight to challenge the hometown champion.
"I love it. It’s great. Georges is the best fighter,” Silva told Fuel TV. "I like the performance of Georges because he had control of the situation on the ground and up. I like it. I am watching and I see a new Georges. It’s good.”
And St-Pierre? He visibly shirked the moment. Eyes darting and body language absurdly negative, St-Pierre had no answer for announcer Joe Rogan when he asked about a potential fight with Silva.
"I need to take some vacation and think about it," St. Pierre said in the cage after the fight, hardly igniting passions with his enthusiasm. In post-fight interviews, he repeated the sentiment, but seemed more excited about potential challenger Johny Hendricks than Silva.
Watching the bout with Condit, you can see why St-Pierre would be hesitant. In the third round, the challenger caught him with a headkick that nearly ended the fight. Against Silva, that kind of mistake would be deadly, not merely dangerous.
Beyond that, when push came to shove, St-Pierre relied on a size and grappling advantage to hold Condit down. It's a nice safety valve for GSP in all of his fights. When the going gets tough, he can always count on bringing the bout to the mat and biding his time there.
Against the larger Silva, however, that strategy might be untenable. Silva has shrugged off takedown attempts by bigger and stronger wrestlers like Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. And if St-Pierre can't take it to the mat at will? Things will get ugly quickly for the Canadian star.
This potential superfight, as big a money maker as it may be for White and both fighters, crystallizes exactly why weight classes exist in the first place. Unfortunately, size more than skill will tell the tale if GSP and Silva meet in the Octagon. St-Pierre understands that keenly, and it explains his hesitation.
The two men are, without exception, the greatest MMA fighters of all time. And as much as I'd love to see them test their mettle against each other, it's simply not a fair fight. Anderson Silva, in my opinion, needs to pick on someone his own size.