MMA: Is Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva a Real Possibility?
You can't say Anderson Silva doesn't have a sense of humor.
According to a translation by BloodyElbow.com, Anderson Silva says he'll never fight Jon Jones, who is his friend and in a different weight class, but that he's willing to fight Georges St-Pierre.
I'm just waiting for Jon Jones to announce on ESPN that he's willing to fight Anderson Silva "if that's absolutely what Dana White wanted."
But on a serious note, the emergence of Jones has really added some spice to the pound-for-pound and "greatest of all time" debates surrounding Silva and St-Pierre.
Silva holds a big edge in violence, but St-Pierre has his own edge in dominance.
Silva wins often in spectacularly violent fashion, but he can be taken down, roughed up, and put into compromising positions.
St-Pierre has only stopped two opponents within the distance since his loss to Matt Serra, but he's won almost every single minute he's fought since that time. He doesn't give his opponents a chance to do anything.
Setting aside those differences, what most others point to is the fact that Silva has had success across three weight classes, while St-Pierre has only had success in one.
This is where the argument gets a bit tricky...
If St Pierre must fight Silva, must Silva then fight Jones?
Anderson Silva's Success Across Three Weight Classes
Silva has fought at welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight, having success in all three divisions.
Silva defeated Hayato Sakurai at 167 pounds back when Sakurai was considered a pound-for-pound talent.
Then, Silva went on to dominate at 185 pounds, also making two trips to 205 pounds, defeating Forrest Griffin and James Irvin with ease.
With this list of his accomplishments, Silva backers and St-Pierre detractors have said that unless St-Pierre moves up in weight and fights Silva, then his resume doesn't compare.
That's not exactly true.
Although Silva has had success over three weight classes, he hasn't fought the same depth of competition St-Pierre has fought at welterweight.
Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, and BJ Penn have all been pound-for-pound worthy fighters, and there isn't one fighter on Silva's resume nearly as accomplished as Hughes.
Forrest Griffin, Mach Sakurai, Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin have all been on pound-for-pound lists, but none of them have been as consistent fixtures in pound-for-pound top 10 lists as Jon Fitch.
But most important, it's not as if St-Pierre needs to fight Silva to match his three-division accomplishments.
Silva didn't fight the top fighters at 205, he fought a non-UFC quality fighter in James Irvin, and a one-time champion, but still very mortal Forrest Griffin.
In order to match those achievements, St-Pierre doesn't need to beat Silva. Middleweight equivalents of Irvin and Griffin would suffice.
If St-Pierre were able to defeat a respectable but beatable fighter like Alessio Sakara, and a former champion like Rich Franklin, that would be more than enough to equal Silva's foray above his most natural and dominant weight category.
So Where Does Jon Jones Fit In?
If fans are not satisfied with St-Pierre unless he does fight against a top pound-for-pound fighter above his most natural and dominant weight class, then maybe we do need to see St-Pierre fight Silva.
But, should St-Pierre lose, which is far from certain by the way, Silva should be held to the same standard if he wants to distance himself from St-Pierre in the pound-for-pound debate.
Fans should then demand that Silva go back up to 205 pounds to challenge Jon Jones.
Breaking Down Silva Vs. Jones
I haven't been the quickest to crown and praise Jones. I still think he has holes in his game that can be exploited by the right opponent.
That said, Jones has all the tools necessary to beat Silva, and I don't even think it would be close or even competitive.
If Jones was forced to stand and strike with Silva, he'd be in for a world of hurt. Silva is a far better striker than Jones.
But Jones doesn't have to strike with Silva. He's got more than enough wrestling to put Silva on his back in the first minute of the fight, and from there Jones, can do everything Chael Sonnen did for four-plus rounds, except that Jones has a billion times more firepower.
Putting aside the irony and humor of Silva's excuse, perhaps he knows that Jones is a terrible matchup for him.
I don't think Silva should fight Jones.
That's not a fight, that's a torch-passing moment a la Gracie vs. Hughes.
Silva vs. St-Pierre is a fight.
St-Pierre is smaller, but he's still got the skill set to cause Silva problems.
That said, if the fight happens at 185, I don't think Silva puts himself out of St-Pierre's reach in the "greatest of all time" debate if St-Pierre can put up some solid wins at 185.
If Silva goes down to 170 and beats St-Pierre, he would leave no doubt.
Until someone like Jon Jones goes on a tear for three or four years.
And then, inevitably, we'll demand for that fighter to jump a weight class.
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