Now that Georges St. Pierre has re-established himself back in the Octagon, fans and fighters alike are volleying for exciting matchups and potential superfights.
While GSP was on the sidelines, the talk of a superfight with Anderson Silva quickly shifted to a superfight between Silva and Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Now that the Canadian sensation has returned though, attention has once again shifted his way.
For years, the debate over who was the best in the business was between Silva and GSP, at least in regards to UFC talent. The layoff certainly didn’t help GSP’s case, along with the criticism he carries for not finishing fights. While GSP looks dominant in his decision wins most of the time, his victories are sometimes stripped of a little value each time Silva and Jones have gone out and had amazing finishes in their title defenses.
But with three men, all back-to-back in weight class order, fans want to settle debates by having two fight each other.
There is the dilemma with superfights, however.
Yes, the financial gains and the fan excitement are enough to push some of these superfights into fruition, but it is also important to keep in mind other ramifications.
If GSP and Silva were to fight soon, many positive things would happen. Pay-per-view sales would be immense; the tickets would be sold out instantly; it would draw the biggest crowd; it would have the biggest marketing campaign, and would send fans, fighters and media sources into a frenzy.
However, what happens the next morning?
Whether it is Silva vs. Jones, Silva vs. GSP, or even if Jones vs. GSP, the fight would be spectacular to watch. We would be watching history in the making.
But, after the fight is over and the hype and excitement is gone, it inevitably leads everyone to ask “what’s next?” That may or may not have a straight answer. Also, with the two best going at it, it means someone has to walk out the loser.
This is how a superfight can hurt the business. GSP, Silva, and Jones are marketing powerhouses that draw huge crowds, numbers and other financial gains.
The three of them are all on top of their respective divisions, and this is where the strength of PPVs come from sometimes: having a big title fight against the king of the hill. Nowadays, fans will watch the PPV in hopes of seeing them challenged or dethroned, not necessarily to root for the challenger personally.
By having GSP and Silva fight, for example, could result in one of the best MMA fighters of all time to end his winning streak, lose public luster and other collateral losses. The only good thing that could come from it is the hopes that the loser would be re-motivated and get even better. However, in Silva’s case, his time in the sport is limited.
This leads to the other aspect of superfights: timing.
For instance, Silva vs. Jones on paper is a fight between two of the greatest talents to ever enter the Octagon. But one is a fighter who has been in the sport for over a decade, whereas the other has only been in the scene a little over four years. Silva is 12 years older than Jones, and the primes of the two athletes are separated by time.
Silva has still been putting on incredible performances, but his time in the sport is coming to a close. Jones has another potential decade himself before he gets to the age where most MMA fighters retire/go on the downslide.
GSP vs. Silva is a better scenario, but of course, there is always the issue with weight class and size differences. The weight factor isn’t the most important or what makes the superfights advisable or not, but it is still good to keep in mind.
Superfights are great notions, and have many positives to them; but sometimes the hype and idea can cloud the whole picture.
Think of it this way. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are the two best and most well-known in the sport of boxing. Everyone is calling for the two to fight each other, but it has not happened due to a plethora of issues. But if that fight were to happen tonight, the following weeks would be grim for boxing.
Which would you prefer?
Boxing is struggling enough as it is nowadays, and the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight is the last big breath it can take these days. This could change later, but boxing is doing better right now NOT putting on the fight, and letting the buildup continue.
MMA and the UFC would still be fine if all of these superfights happened, but it could hurt them in the future. The “idea” of GSP vs. Silva further grows the marketability of both men, and all fights that carry any implications toward that goal. Having two superstars fight, makes one brighter…but one of them dimmer.
Silva wants big fights from this point out, and the biggest fights are those with other champions; but the aftermath of one could be much more stale than people might think.