"It is unavoidable. It is your destiny." -- Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi (1983)
The superfight between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is beginning to look inevitable. UFC President Dana White, who has stonewalled the fight for the better part of two years, spoke to the media following UFC 124:
Morgan: If you ever did put that fight together, do you like the catchweight idea instead of the belts being on the line between GSP and Anderson Silva, or would you want it to be a five-round, title-type fight?
Dude, I don't know. I'd really have to sit down -- if Georges said he was going to go to '85 and stay there, then it would be for the title. It would be a superfight for the 185-pound title.
Sergio Non, USA TODAY: So after Shields, how much more does GSP have to do before he's cleaned out the division?
He could do it now. He's cleaned out the division now. Georges St. Pierre has beat everybody. He lost to Serra, but came back and avenged it.
That's what it's all about to me. I don't like guys talking about fighting each other in different weights until they've done what those two (Silva and St. Pierre) have done. And they've both done it, so it's hard for me to say no. It's hard for me to say the fight doesn't make sense. When I was saying it, I was saying it when I thought he should go to 205.
These comments represent a sigificant shift in thought for Dana White. This past July, White went on ESPN's MMA Live and told Jon Anik that Georges St. Pierre has "still got a lot of tough fights before he cleans out that 170-pound division, and then we start talking about a possible fight with Anderson Silva."
If the UFC is serious about putting this fight together, it needs to start planning now. St. Pierre has stated that he would not be interested in fighting at both 170 and 185 pounds, and that he would need a year to put on the weight necessary to make the jump to middleweight.
In an ideal world, St. Pierre would begin making the accomodations necessary to fight Silva at 185 pounds in the fall or winter of 2011. There's a few scheduling conflicts, however. First, Silva meets Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 in February. The UFC also promised Yushin Okami a middleweight title shot after beating Nate Marquardt at UFC 122, and Jake Shields "has the shot" at welterweight after squeaking by Martin Kampmann at UFC 121. The UFC is also planning to debut in Toronto - one of the largest markets for MMA - in April, which would feel naked without the company's Canadian megastar headlining.
If the UFC wants to fulfill those obligations, they can book the following:
1. Silva fights Vitor Belfort at UFC 126
2. St-Pierre fights Jake Shields in Toronto in April
3. Silva fights Yushin Okami in August
4. St-Pierre takes a fight at 185 pounds in October
5. Silva and St-Pierre fight in the spring of 2012
But why not put all that aside and make the superfight priority number one? A loss or significant injury severely hampers this fight, and that's a legitimate worry with four fights and over fifteen months in that booking plan.