This is part two in a three part series.
In part one, we looked at the level of opposition that Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre in their respective title runs. Throughout the past couple of years, many questions have been asked of the two men and UFC President Dana White regarding this fight. The answers have been a mixed bag, to say the least. So let's take a look at the chronology of discussion between the three principals. (Any emphasis is mine.)
A lot of people have been challenging me so far. I have a lot of friends at 185. To tell you the truth, I’m not afraid of challenging nobody at 185. I’m very confident in myself. I think I can do pretty well [against Silva]. I think I’m a different fighter than all the guys who have fought him in the past. There’s only one way to find out.
-George St-Pierre (MMA Weekly)
This is the earliest bit of discussion Google could find on this fight. At the time, St-Pierre was gearing toward his superfight rematch with B.J. Penn in January.
It doesn't bother me too much. I'm focused on this fight. As far as Georges St. Pierre, that problem will be dealt with a little bit later.
-Anderson Silva (Cage Writer)
I want to do a big event in Toronto. And who knows? Like I said, I don't like to look past guys. Everybody who fights in the UFC is tough. (But) if Georges St. Pierre could get through Thiago Alves, who knows? Maybe we do Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre in Toronto. I like the fight as much as anyone.
-Dana White (MMA Junkie)
I would have to sit down and see what the opportunity is. How long I have for the fight. Because if I fight at 185, if I do it, I want to do it well. I want to put some extra muscle on me, some extra weight. I would have to go on a I would have to go on a diet for a couple extra weeks, and it would take me some extra time, but I'm always excited for a new challenge.
-Georges St-Pierre (Sports Illustrated)
This talk appeared around UFC 97. Silva responded to a question at the pre-fight presser asking if the GSP talk was distracting. Dana's quote surprisingly comes from the UFC 97 post-fight presser. GSP continues his interest in the fight, albeit with the new caveat that he would need some sort of extended break.
My division is pretty stacked, so I don't know. Everybody asks me that question. It's a question of timing. I walk around 185 pounds. I'm not that big for a welterweight. If I do its for a challenge. But I'll have to take the time to gain weight and take care of business.
-Georges St-Pierre (UFC 100 Telecast)
After dominating Thiago Alves with an injured groin, Joe Rogan put St-Pierre on the spot in the post-fight interview. St-Pierre's answer is more non-committal than before, but he still seems interested in the fight.
I'm not afraid of any man in the sport.
-Georges St-Pierre (Bloody Elbow)
St-Pierre makes this comment in reference to Anderson Silva. By this point, Silva had sent Forrest Griffin running a few months back.
If he dropped to 170 pounds, probably. There is another thing to consider: If I move up, maybe I won't be able to come back down to defend my (welterweight) title. So it's a big decision to take. It would be the biggest fight in UFC history, probably. It would be interesting.
-Georges St-Pierre (MMA Junkie)
I’d like to test myself and I always love to take on new challenges. 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.
-Anderson Silva (Yahoo!)
I'm blown away that he even said that. If it's true, if he could cut down to 170, I would look at a GSP fight. I would do it. I don't like the idea of GSP moving up.
-Dana White (Fanhouse)
I don't want to see GSP vs. Silva after tonight. Silva might be the first champion fighting on a prelim. I don't want to see that shit.
I don't want to see that fight now. He doesn't deserve to fight GSP.
-Dana White (Fanhouse)
Ah, we get to the infamous Abu Dhabi disaster. St-Pierre remains cautiously interested. Silva claims he'll drop in weight to get this fight signed. Ariel Helwani seemed to break the news to Dana White, who at least appeared open to the idea.
Then Silva danced around Demian Maia in the desert for five rounds. White's embarrassed himself as a promoter after the event. He had every right to be upset and the bizarre effort of his middleweight champion, but making statements that Silva doesn't "deserve" to fight GSP comes off as a mother lamenting about the child she cannot control.
People ask me that all the time. This is what I believe. I believe my job is to put on fights that people want to see. I keep hearing that and if enough people want to see it, I guess I’m gonna have to do it.
-Dana White (790 The Ticket)
GSP told me straight up, I'll fight him [Anderson] right now. If you guys want to make that fight, make the fight. GSP is not concerned what so ever with fighting Anderson Silva. First, Anderson Silva has a couple guys he needs to beat. He needs to beat Chael Sonnen and probably Vitor Belfort, should Vitor win his next fight. Here's the other problem, Georges St.Pierre is a natural 170 pounder. Anderson Silva not only cuts to 185, he's fought at 205. That's kind of why the fight doesn't make sense to me. But if enough people want to see it, I'll make it.
-Dana White (Off the Record)
I don't think a fight with GSP [George St. Pierre] will ever happen. It's not a fight I want to have and I don't think GSP wants it either.
-Anderson Silva (Bloody Elbow)
If you want to beat me up, make weight and come fight me in my category, my division.
-Anderson Silva (MMA Torch)
Everybody keeps asking me about that fight. But realistically for Georges St-Pierre, Georges St-Pierre has some work ahead of him. Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch are gonna fight [at UFC 117]. We just got Jake Shields into the UFC, now at 170-pounds. He’s still gotta fight Josh Koscheck. He’s 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.
-Dana White (MMA Live)
The plot thickens. Let's start with Anderson, or try to start with Anderson anyway. Should we believe it's not a fight he wants? If he's being genuine, what made him change his mind? If he's actually still interested, has he really taken fighting at 170 off the table?
And then there's Dana. The ability to control the narrative here must be wonderful. Here's where the excuses about the weight difference come out. Then, there's the revolving door of chump challengers and the mysterious "division clean out" that somehow isn't complete even though St-Pierre's next fight after Koscheck appears to be a rematch with either Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves. Seems like some sort of Catch-22.
So what have we learned? Well, Georges St-Pierre appears to want the fight on some level, especially as a victory over Silva would serve well in his quest to become the greatest fighter who ever lived. He also does not take the decision lightly. Anderson Silva may or may not be crazy. And Dana White wants absolutely nothing to do with anything that might damage his Canadian cash cow. But more on that tomorrow...