Every fight with Brock Lesnar is a dream fight for the UFC, at least from a business perspective. The former heavyweight champion is by far the promotion's biggest draw, bringing in hundreds of thousands of fans just to see him fight. With Lesnar's fall from grace, what is the next Ace in Zuffa's proverbial hand? Is there a dream fight on the horizon? If UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta has his way, there is. Fertitta told MMA Junkie he has a fight he's dying to see: Georges St. Pierre taking on Anderson Silva.
Just two things stand in the way of the oft-discussed fight. Or, if you rather, just two people - Josh Koscheck and Vitor Belfort. St. Pierre and Koscheck are scheduled to headline UFC 124 in December. Silva is expected to battle Belfort Super Bowl weekend next year. If both are victorious, dreams may finally come true.
"One of the things we wanted to do was allow both of these guys to continue to get through their divisions – meaning there were a lot of contenders that deserved title shots. Because they're in different weightclasses, we wanted to let that all play out before we put those two guys together. But I mean we're getting to a point where they've pretty much cleaned out the division. Maybe it's time to watch them and see what happens."
It's a fight that has been brewing in MMA fans' collective consciousness for some time. Former BE staffer Michael Rome was a passionate advocate for the bout, accusing the UFC of failing to live up to its fan friendly reputation by refusing to make the fight:
Even though a fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre has not been announced, fans have loudly chanted for it all the way from Montreal to Abu Dhabi. Let me restate this, so that the importance of this point is not lost: fans all the way in the Middle East were chanting for Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva... actual UFC fans have voiced their "dream fight" preference loud and clear? The fans have made it clear again and again that they want to see Georges St. Pierre fight Anderson Silva. They've made it clear at autograph signings, they've made it clear at Q and A's, and now they've made it clear during Anderson Silva's fights. Is anybody listening?
Zuffa brass ought to think about what brought the UFC to the dance. A large part of it was creating the perception that the UFC responds to the fans, and delivers the fights they clamor for.
Wherever Rome is today (last spotted at the EA Sports launch party), I hope he's smiling at the latest news. After all, there isn't a more powerful advocate in the sport. What Lorenzo wants, Lorenzo gets. That's very good news for UFC fans - assuming both men escape two unheralded, but distinctly dangerous, challengers.
After the break, Kid Nate breaks down the fight.
Breaking it down aspect by aspect, it would appear to be a classic striker vs grappler match-up.
But this is deceptive. GSP's wrestling is probably the best in MMA, but he has always used it as part of an integrated game plan that makes his stand up far more effective than it would be in a straight kick-boxing bout where his opponent doesn't have to worry about being taken down. According to FightMetric, GSP outscored the three best strikers he's faced -- B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves and Dan Hardy -- on the feet.
Of course, Anderson Silva is far more dangerous than either Penn, Alves or Hardy. He's faster, has a much longer reach, has far more weapons at his disposal, and hits much harder. But conversely, if you look at Silva's fights against stronger strikers -- I'm thinking Patrick Cote and Lee Murray -- he hasn't been as devastating as he can be against brawlers like Chris Leben or even Rich Franklin.
And historically, going back to his PRIDE days, when Silva has been beaten it's generally been because he lost the positional battle to aggressive grapplers who put him on his back and kept him there. Clearly it's been a long long time since he faced Daiju Takase or Ryo Chonan, but he can be taken down as his UFC fights with Travis Lutter, Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt and even Thales Leites attest. If those guys can take Silva down, GSP certainly can.
That's why I think this fight will be decided on the ground -- even if it's finished on the feet -- if Silva can ride out GSP's first assault from top position, and even do damage or threaten submissions from his back, then he should take it. If not, GSP will claim the top Pound for Pound fighter honors.
No matter what happens, it's a fight I'd happily kill to see.