Sunday, November 18, 2012
Superfight with Silva still hinges on GSP
By Chuck Mindenhall
MONTREAL -- Well, that clears things up. Or at least there’s a chance the events that took place at UFC 154 will lead to where we suspect they might.
Everybody knew that Georges St-Pierre was fighting more than Carlos Condit on Saturday at the Bell Centre. He was fighting -- at least in other people’s minds -- for the chance to bring a superfight between himself and Anderson Silva one step closer to reality. This was the perception, and perception, particularly in the fight game, is reality.
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But even though middleweight champion Silva was cageside for the main event, with his reactions being televised as the fight unfolded, the man he was watching was never sure what hung in the balance.
And after the fight, St-Pierre still didn’t exactly know. He has heard the speculation, the clamoring, the proclamations by UFC president Dana White and all the big stadium talk -- but it’s complicated.
“It depends,” GSP told ESPN. “If [White] wants me to go fight [Silva] at heavyweight, I cannot go fight at heavyweight. I’ll fight anybody at 170 -- I don’t care. But it depends on weight class; it depends how it’s done. I want to sit down and talk about this. I don’t know how it’s done.
“Because I don’t want to do what [light heavyweight-turned-heavyweight boxer] Roy Jones did and go up in weight, then come back down and mess up my body. Maybe some people can go up and down and play with their body like this, I can’t personally do this. I cannot gain 15 pounds and then go back down, I just can’t. Physically, I could probably go to 155 easier than 185, the way I’m built. But I don’t do it because of my health.”
St-Pierre, whose face was still purple and swollen from his encounter with Condit, says he will take a vacation and think things over. Obviously, everybody knows what Dana White wants.
“GSP versus Anderson Silva is the fight I want to make,” White told ESPN after UFC 154. “I just literally talked to Anderson. He wants the fight. We’re going to give Georges some time. I’m sure Georges feels like he’s been hit by a bus after an 18-month layoff, so we’ll give him a week or so to heal up and then we’ll talk to him.”
This then becomes a very important vacation, because it will demand St-Pierre’s clear-headedness. If GSP decides to fight Silva, it will almost certainly be the centerpiece of a stadium show in Toronto, Dallas or Brazil. It will have to happen at a catchweight of somewhere in the vicinity of 178 pounds. We haven’t seen Anderson Silva so excited to fight somebody since Rich Franklin in 2006.
But St-Pierre is being asked to make the biggest compromise of moving up in weight against the game’s pound-for-pound best. He has the most to lose right when there’s a crop of fresh challenges for him at his home of 170 pounds.
There’s Johny Hendricks, who is coming off yet another first round knockout, this time of Martin Kampmann. And there’s Nick Diaz, who will be returning soon from his suspension. We know that St-Pierre welcomes a Diaz fight, too, which was supposed to take place back at UFC 137.
But White knows he’ll play a hand in persuading St-Pierre when the time comes. “That’s my job, so I’m pretty convinced I can [make it],” he said.
Does it make it inevitable? No, but it certainly makes it likely. And for all the options that St-Pierre will weigh in the coming weeks, at bottom it might come down to one thing -- he’s a fierce competitor who has a lot of pride.
“I want to push myself and see where I can go,” he said. “I want to be the best. I just finished the fight, and I got hit a lot. I need a vacation; I got hit a lot on the head. I need some vacation to consider things.”
So clarity in the aftermath of UFC 154 looks like this -- we have to wait until St-Pierre comes back from his hard-earned holiday to find out for sure just what’s going to happen next.