GSP has probably made between $8-$10 Million since November 17th. Maybe it was an illness, or an Achilles injury that made GSP look slightly less than his vintage best at times, but a quote from Marvin Hagler also came to mind. "It's hard to get up and train when you are sleeping on silk sheets." GSP has been a spectacularly driven athlete when it comes to taking care of his body, training with the best instructors, and leaving no stone un-turned when it comes to being the best fighter and athlete that he can be, but with big PPV pay-days, mounting injuries, blue chip sponsors like Under Armor, and Gatorade paying him to endorse their products how long will GSP's drive and determination remain?
It is also very interesting to see that GSP signed on for a role in the next Captain America movie, and it could just be the first opening of the door to GSP's exit from MMA. It is no secret that one of GSP's heroes is Jean Claude Van Damn, and it isn't too much of a reach to see GSP acting in similar roles to what JCVD has had over the years. GSP likes to be great at everything he does, I doubt he will spilt too much time between MMA and movies and risk being just good or mediocre at either.
But what is the end game to GSP's MMA career? Is one of the great MMA careers coming to an end in the next 18-24 months? Here is my take on how things could play out
Sep/Oct 2013 - Johny Hendricks - This is the easy one to predict. Hendricks provides a serious threat to GSP with his punching power, but in the end I expect GSP to walk away from this fight still as the champion. Does the UFC make Maia vs. Ellenberger as the co-main event for this fight? That would once again give GSP's potential next opponent the chance to advertise himself in front of a large PPV audience. But UFC may not want that to happen, so that they can force the issue of an Anderson Silva fight.
Feb/Mar 2014 - Prior to UFC 158 GSP's former manager said that his plan was to fight Diaz, Hendricks, Anderson Silva then retire. But I honestly think that part of GSP's thinking is that his training partner Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight for and win the UFC Welterweight title when GSP steps aside. He still might be, but MacDonald has been slowed by injuries throughout his career, including currently recovering from his most recent. I would not be surprised if GSP was to take a fight with the winner of a potential Demian Maia / Jake Ellenberger fight. Let's face it once those two are done, GSP will have cleaned out the Welterweight division of interesting contenders for him to face. No offense to prospects like Gunnar Nelson, Tyron Woodley, or Jordan Mein but they all would have go through some big steps up in competition to be viewed as a threat to GSP by this time next year...
July 2014 - GSP vs. Anderson Silva - Even if Silva loses to Chris Weidman, this fight could still happen. Fans have wanted to see it for a long time, and as we learned from Chuck and Wandy a big fight has a long expiration date.
2016 - After making several straight to DVD (Except in Montreal) level movies, including one where GSP and JCVD are brothers out for revenge, for something... GSP decides he misses MMA and announces his come back. The timing is perfect because Gunnar Nelson has just defeated Canadians Rory MacDonald and Jordan Mein in back to back title defenses. GSP will only be 34-35 years old, and will look as good as ever in the gym to sell the fight. Everyone at Tri-Star will swear that GSP is still in his prime. When he loses to Nelson, it solidifies Nelson as the new biggest PPV star in UFC. GSP becomes UFC VP of Canadian talent relations.
Just a scenario...