Rightfully so, there is plenty of buzz and anticipation for UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva vs. UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, the mega-fight set to take place later this year if St-Pierre can beat Jake Shields in April.
But I can't help but look forward to 2012 and what could be another dream fight come true: Silva vs. Jon Jones at 205 pounds—a fight I'm shocked no one is talking about.
I don't care what anyone says, Silva's future is at light heavyweight. In his two tests at light heavyweight (one against a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion), Silva has two KO victories in the total time it takes to go to the fridge and back. He walks around at well over 205 pounds, so the cut would be easier and even in his mid-30s, his skills are getting better.
Consider Jones as Silva 2.0, an amazing athlete who is competing for a world title after just three years in the sport—an unbelievable accomplishment for any pro athlete. Even if he loses against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in March, Jones is going to be a fixture at light heavyweight for as long as he wants to.
The UFC has to realize moving Silva up a weight class is a positive for all involved. After GSP, there will be no one left to beat.
Yushin Okami? No thanks.
Nate Marquardt again? No.
Michael Bisping? C'mon now.
The division will get more competitive if he departs, making for better fights and a closer title race. Silva is just too good, and it makes everyone look even worse.
While No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the P4P rankings seems imminent, we could get the 205-pound version in 2012 if the cards fall correctly. Start the conversation now as it will be incredible.
The new motivation for Jake Shields
Watching the post-fight press conference, one takeaway really stuck out: Shields suddenly got a lot more motivation for April.
Set to battle St-Pierre in Toronto was going to be hairy enough for Shields, but to essentially have the entire business overlooking him and assuming GSP/Silva is on deck, is a disrespect to Shields, even if he's an underdog.
For what it's worth, Shields is a former champion in two weight classes and knows his skills on the ground. Overcoming St-Pierre's vastly improving striking is going to be key, as the Canadian has messed up a lot of pretty faces over the past two years. But to assume Shields has no chance is foolish. Ask Matt Serra about that.
Suddenly, Shields finds himself in an unenviable position of being the spoiler for one of the biggest fights of all time. I'm guessing, however, the underdog is just fine with that.
I feel bad for UFC 127
While the PPV reports will unofficially be released in the next few weeks, early chatter among those in the know is that UFC 126 will do extremely well. With the addition of Jones to UFC 128 in March, that show gets another boost of viewer interest.
But what about poor UFC 127? You remember that card, right? With BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch as main event and Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera as the co-main event, the UFC's return to Australia doesn't have that feel of being important.
This is a classic "hardcore" fan card that has some good fights and isn't exactly star-driven. This will test Penn's ability to draw as a headliner on PPV, especially considering there's no title at stake. The promotion for UFC 127 is going to be more important than ever if this is to draw above average numbers in homes across the world.
- Why does the UFC not have full-time translators? With the amount of Brazilian and Japanese fighters the organization has, I don't understand this one bit.
- I wonder if this event could have done even better with the mainstream fans if it wasn't Super Bowl weekend. I know these shows do really well, but it was near impossible to get on ESPN last week if it didn't have the NFL associated with it.
- In case you didn't notice, the Brazilians are taking over the sport. Silva, Jose Aldo, Rua, Souza and Feijao all have championship gold, with Junior dos Santos in the UFC's heavyweight race. By the end of 2012, I wouldn't be surprised to see a clean sweep of UFC gold held by our South American friends.
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that has a Jon Fitch feature in February's FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He asks for your "like" for ESPN Boston to cover MMA. Follow him on Twitter.