For reasons of which i'm not entirely sure, "Catchweight" fights have somehow received a bad rep. Well, that's not entirely true- I know why: the seemingly random stigma attached to CW fights are linked to the problems they pose to divisional rankings.
The most prolific example nowadays is Rich Franklin, and the infamous "Franklinweight" fights he's been involved in; since he's fighting in the 195 lb. twilight zone weight class inbetween MW & LHW, people are at a loss for which division he should be ranked in (technically, anything from 186-205 is light heavy) but the guys (Wanderlei, Belfort) he's fighting are otherwise exclusively MW's, whereas it's been stated that Rich's intent is to fight at 205. Other modern examples are guys like Nick Diaz (who has fought at catchweights with Shamrock & Smith)- he's widely considered to be an elite WW at this point
.But to get to the meat of this paper- the most obvious, interesting, and clamored after matchup in MMA: GSP/ Silva. Now, hear me out- even though Anderson & GSP have drawn considerable criticism for their last performances, and despite Dana's assertion that he has "no interest" in St. Pierre/ Silva after Ando's "disgraceful" last outing (which is thought by many as a ploy to protect his budding Canadian cross- over star), it's simply not about what Dana wants: it's about what the fans want. And the crowd at UFC 112 made it clear- the fans want a Rush/ Spider superfight. Silva & Soares have repeatedly said that all they want is to be involved in the biggest fights possible; both parties have said that they'd be willing to make the fight happen (although St. Pierre said that he was only interested if it would be at Welterweight).
Now, here's my reasoning behind saying that Georges & Andy should meet each other in the middle: They're both such dominant & successful champs, who are both so well suited for their respective divisions, and are both establishing their legacies. Interrupting that by forcing 1 of the competitors to ante up their title, and making it necessary for 1 of them to fight outside of their optimal weight class would lessen the significance and legitimacy of a contest between the 2. The following are a list of reasons why a catchweight would be the best way to go about the GSP/ Silva megabout.
- Meeting in the middle (at about 177.5, give or take) would mitigate any size advantage/ disadvantage either man would hold: St. Pierre has been (purportedly) bulking up, and it's said that his cut for the Hardy fight was particularly brutal; Georges could continue adding mass, and comfortably make weight at around 177/178. Anderson, on the other hand, hasn't made 170 since 2003; although he weighed in against Leites at 182, that extra 12 lbs would take away a considerable amount of muscle & water from Silva, and do we really want to see anything less than the best Anderson & the best GSP?
- The WW & MW divisional contenders are mostly regarded as a step or two (at least) below the reigning champs, this would give those contenders time to turn in impressive performances, work on their games, and make more emphatic cases for title shots.
- This could potentially solve both fighter's problems. It's been said that Anderson needs a real challenge, and someone who is as technically sound and physically capable as St. Pierre, who has a real ability to dictate the action of the fight could be just the challenge Anderson needs. Conversely, Georges has been accused of blanketing out wins and not taking enough risks, and the dynamic finishing ability of The Spider could potentially bring out an urgency to finish his foe.
-Historically, Anderson has had his most exciting fights with guys who engage him, which is something 'Rush' is certain to do.
- P4P (yeah, that 'guy' we keep hearing about): most MMA sites with pound for pound rankings have Anderson & GSP at #1 & 2, respectively (sometimes, a certain badass russian finds himself in front or in the middle). If they look comparably sized at the catchweight, then the whole concept of p4p suddenly becomes more legitimate, and therefore this fight could determine who the #1 p4p fighter would be.
All in all, it just makes much more sense (IMO) to have this at a catchweight, and to strike while the iron is hot. Regardless of whether both guys have had dynamite performances as of late, the fact of the matter is that they're at a loss for (seemingly) worthy challengers, and they've been thoroughly dominating all their current opposition.
And please, tell me if i've left anything worth mentioning out. This is just my viewpoint, and I would love your feedback as to whether or not 1) Having the fight at all is a good move, and 2) Whether a catchweight would be the best way to do so.