The speculation has been building for months. The potential for a superfight between pound-for-pound kings Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre has had the MMA world contemplating a middleweight showdown between the two best fighters in the sport today.
So, will the UFC 129 bout with Jake Shields be the last at welterweight for the greatest fighter the division has seen?
There have been several things to indicate that the superfight will not be happening in the near future. In the lead up to Fight for the Troops 2, UFC president Dana White said that the superfight would happen if both fighters won their next title defences.
However, since defeating Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, Anderson Silva has been scheduled to fight Yushin Okami in Brazil later this year.
However, the UFC may just want Silva to defend his title in Brazil because no Brazilian UFC card would be complete without him. He is one of the most recognisable names in MMA and in the eyes of many the best fighter on the planet.
He also has a legion of fans in his homeland that would feel aggrieved if they were denied the chance to see their idol fight in Rio. So it’s entirely possible that the Okami fight will be Silva’s last before he faces GSP.
St.P ierre has also been hesitant to commit to a move to 185. Whether this is because he just wants to focus on the Shields fight or if he genuinely wants to stay at 170 remains to be seen.
Will GSP move to middleweight if he defeats Jake Shields? Should he?
Given the size and reach advantage that Silva would hold, the fight would be a difficult one for GSP even if he did put on the right amount of muscle.
It is important to note that any move to 185 would be permanent, which may another reason for his hesitancy. If he were to lose to Silva, what then?
There are also reasons to think that St.Pierre will make to move to middleweight. His resume of victims at 175 reads as a who’s who of the division: Sean Sherk, Matt Hughes (x2), Thiago Alves, B.J Penn (x2), Josh Koscheck (x2), Frank Trigg, Matt Serra and Jon Fitch, among others.
GSP has beaten every notable fighter in the welterweight division, some twice, and avenged both of his two professional losses. Assuming he gets past Shields (which is no certainty) what else is left for him?
Aside from a rematch with Fitch and a possible fight with Nick Diaz at some point, there are no more challenges left at welterweight for the best fighter the division has seen.
Without knowing what is going through the mind of Georges St. Pierre, it is impossible to know whether he will continue to defend his welterweight crown or move on to a new challenge in Anderson Silva and the middleweight division.
A fight between him and Silva would probably be the biggest in UFC history, which means the UFC are likely to be offering him a big payday to take the fight. Whatever decision GSP makes, expect an announcement shortly after UFC 129.