Whereas welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has remained non-committal about pursuing super-fights in other weight classes, it seems to be all middleweight champion Anderson Silva has on his mind.
Silva has made two successful forays into the light-heavyweight division against James Irvin and former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. “The Spider” has also expressed interest in competing at heavyweight against former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. As was evidenced in the interest shown in Silva’s bout with Griffin and another cross-divisional battle between lightweight champion BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre, fans like super-fights. The idea of a champion so dominant that he has outgrown his own weight class moving up to test himself against another dominant champion is a story line that sells itself. Lately, fans have been clamoring for such a fight between top pound-for-pound fighters and UFC champions Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
St. Pierre has expressed interest in the bout but seems to be backpedaling lately; citing the irreversible weight gain and the fact that he has friends and training partners at 185lbs. as reasons to stay at 170lbs. and defend his title. Ever searching for interesting and challenging fights, Silva told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that he may have a solution to this super-fight dilemma.
“I’d like to test myself and I always love to take on new challenges,” said “The Spider”. “It’s not that I want to go fight Georges St. Pierre for his title. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the reigning champion, the absolute champion, in that weight category. But I just want to test myself and see how I’d do at that weight.”
Although Silva, at 6 foot 2 and sometimes weighing as much as 220lbs. between fights, seems more suited for the 185-205lbs. divisions, he has fought as low as 167lbs. and his desire to compete against the best is enough for him to at least attempt the drastic weight cut. In the interview, Silva said that he would first want a test fight to see how the weight cut would affect him; and assuming he can perform well at that weight he would pursue the super-fight with St. Pierre.
This fight really is a dream matchup for fans; a stalwart grappler with precise (if under-utilized) striking taking on the best striker in the world who also happens to have a more-than-serviceable ground game. To add to that, we would be treated to a fight between two of the current pound-for-pound greats scrapping it out in their prime. The likelihood of it coming to fruition is very dubious; UFC president Dana White has mentioned on more than one occasion that he doesn’t like this fight because of the size disparity between the two. He would also be risking the fall of one of his promotion’s most high-profile fighters.
It’s impossible to blame a fighter as thoroughly dominant as Anderson Silva for pursuing all of the interesting challenges that exist for him in MMA, regardless of weight or viability. It’s also slightly difficult to picture Silva competing comfortably at 170lbs. A catchweight bout between Silva and St. Pierre with no title on the line is a viable and logical solution to this problem. Let’s just hope that the UFC sticks to their guns and makes this fight between two of the best come to fruition.