(Editor's Note: This post was written in February shortly after the announcement of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and is being reposted ahead of tomorrow night's big fight)
Last Friday, the long-awaited and sought after superfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was finally made official. It will surely be boxing's highest grossing fight of all-time and is expected to set PPV box office records come May 2nd in Las Vegas. These are undeniably two of the sport's all-time greats as well as boxing's two biggest international stars over the span of roughly the past decade. While the process towards getting the two men to fight has no doubt been a well-documented pain in the ass, it's actually happening, and fortunately neither man has experienced any Roy Jones-esque sharp decline in skill.
As the boxing world prepares to have its big fight fulfilled, however overdue it may be, the MMA world is left to lament the "what-if" over the missed opportunity that was Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre. The calls for this fight to be made stretch as far back as 2009. In 2012 and 2013, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre had arguably reached their peak popularity. Silva had cashed in on a blockbuster rematch with Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, while GSP's return from multiple knee injuries saw him beat Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, pulling in an estimated 1.7 million combined buys in the process. Despite multiple quotes from Dana White indicating that Silva vs. GSP would happen, it never did, and in all likelihood never will. St-Pierre is unofficially retired and showing no signs of wanting to return, while Silva has since lost his middleweight title and tested positive for multiple steroids. There is a distinct possibility that neither one of them ever steps foot inside a UFC cage again.
For a very brief period, Silva vs. GSP even took a back seat to Anderson vs. Jon Jones. After all, Silva had multiple fights at 205 lbs and he'd be the one moving up in weight to face the light heavyweight champion, who was tearing through his first few championship opponents with consummate ease. For all intents and purposes, this particular match-up was shot to pieces when Chris Weidman KO'd Anderson in 2013, then dead on arrival once the two developed a friendship.
Similar to last year's piece on Zuffa figures claiming supremacy over soccer, here's a comprehensive timeline of quotes from all parties involved. Several of the older statements are from this 2010 article posted by former BE editor Mike Fagan. All bold emphases are mine.
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. - MMA Junkie
April 2010 (before the UFC 112: Silva vs. Maia fight)
If it's true [about what Anderson Silva said], 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. - Fanhouse
April 2010 (after the UFC 112: Silva vs. Maia fight)
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. - Quote provided by Ariel Helwani
"I don't want to see that fight now. He doesn't deserve to fight GSP." - UFC 112 post-fight press conference
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. - 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. - Off the Record
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. - MMA Live
Sergio Non, USA TODAY: So after Shields, how much more does GSP have to do before he's cleaned out the division?
White: "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." - UFC 124 press conference
"If (Silva) wins that fight (against Vitor Belfort at UFC 126), then Georges St-Pierre needs to beat Jake Shields in Toronto (at UFC 129)," White said. "If that happens, then we're probably going to do that fight (between St-Pierre and Silva). If they both win, that fight makes all the sense in the world."
"Georges St-Pierre said he would move to 185 (to fight Silva) and stay at that weight and not go back to 170," White said. "Should (they) win (their next) fights, that fight will probably happen this year." - MMA Fighting
"What happened is they're both close to cleaning out their division. If Anderson (Silva) beats Vitor Belfort and (Georges) St. Pierre beats Jake Shields, seriously, what's left for them?"
"It's a fun fight to do."
"The fans [understand] that (moving up weight classes is a long-standing tradition for any elite fighter). No doubt about it. That's what I love about this fight. I'm all about legacy. That's what matters more than the money. I love it if a guy will go up for a super fight like this. Anderson Silva has already moved up and fought at 205. For 'GSP' to do it, I think it's big for his legacy." - ESPN.com
"I think if we do the fight with (Anderson Silva) and Georges St-Pierre, it would be at a catchweight; probably like 178 (pounds), something like that." - X107.5 Las Vegas
I haven’t even talked to Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva about those guys fighting each other. If things all work out that way we’ll see what happens, but there’s no guarantee that fight’s going to happen. - MMA Weekly
November 2012 - Day before UFC 154: GSP vs. Condit
"If Georges St. Pierre beats Carlos Condit tomorrow, Anderson Silva will be there, sitting cageside, and those two will fight. Probably in May, at either [Cowboys Stadium], Toronto, or a soccer stadium down in Brazil." - Pre-fight scrum
"[Anderson] said he wouldn't fight Chael Sonnen again either, but he did," White said. "He always comes out and says this stuff. I don't know why he does it or why he says the things he says. I guarantee you, he will be there Saturday. If Georges St-Pierre wins, those two will fight and it's probably going to be in May." - ESPN
"I'm going to make the fight... I'll make this fight... They will fight, and yes, it will probably be in May or around May."- YouTube
November 2012 - After GSP/Condit
"It's the No. 1 best pound-for-pound fighter in the world against the No. 2 best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It's a big fight. We think people want to see it, and we think the guys want to do it, so we'll do it. They will fight, and it will probably be in May or around May." - Fox Sports
The division is stacked. Johny Hendricks looked awesome tonight, again. Everyone wants to see this 'GSP' vs. Anderson Silva fight. I'm gonna give Georges 10 days to rest, relax and regroup, and we'll get together. We're probably gonna fly out and talk to Anderson [Silva] next week, and then I'll get together with Georges in a couple weeks. - MMA Mania
"GSP is going to defend his title against Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva will defend his title this summer," White said. "And before the end of this year, we will see a superfight with either GSP and Anderson Silva, or Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. One of them is coming." - UFC 157 Q&A
"Anderson would go to [170 pounds], too. Yeah, he said he'd do it. He says he can make  easy. It's insane." - Press conference in London
"Yeah I think anything is possible. If Georges St-Pierre wanted that fight, I would definitely make that fight. I'm sure Anderson would too." - UFC 183 post-fight press conference
"I'd like to test myself and I always love to take on new challenges," Silva said of his thoughts about a drop to 170 pounds from the middleweight limit of 185. "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." - Yahoo
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. - Bloody Elbow
If you want to beat me up, make weight and come fight me in my category, my division. - MMA Torch
"Regardless of who wins, even if St. Pierre loses, a fight with me can happen. A fight like this is above anything else. St. Pierre is one of the greatest of the UFC. Right now, a fight with Condit is meaningless." - SporTV
"I'm on vacation for the fight. I think we just come back at the end of next year ... I'm going to Los Angeles and then going to Canada for the fight of St. Pierre. I'm already going to be there to shoot a movie, a feature film that I'll participate in with Lyoto (Machida). It's not my character to up and challenge anyone. I think it will not happen. I think not, I'm sure (laughs)." - Tatame
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. - MMA Weekly
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. - Sports Illustrated
"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."
I'm not afraid of any man in the sport. - Bloody Elbow
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. - MMA Junkie
"It could happen of course," he said. "It definitely can happen, but for me, that's far ahead in time. Right now, I'm not thinking about that. I can't. My main thing right now is to get better, and then when I'm going to fight, to get ready to win the fight, what I need to do to win and beat the guy. I need to focus on one thing at a time. - MMA Fighting
November 2012 (after defeating Carlos Condit)
On top of that, he weighs 234 pounds; I weigh 188. So there's a big weight difference. I've fought guys who were bigger -- I'm not scared of him -- it's just that I will take this fight when it makes sense for me. I just came back from an injury, there's money to be made, there are fights in my weight class, other challenges out there, and if I fight him, I will have to gain weight, while he will have to lose weight, and then afterwards, I won't be able to come back to my weight class.
First and foremost, I have things to do at 170 pounds. When I am ready and when I want the fight, that's when it will happen. - Tout le Monde en Parle
March 2014 (After his announced hiatus, relinquishing of welterweight title)
There were conversations before but they were talking about me going up at 185. I weigh 190 pounds, the guy weighs 230 pounds when he is off season. I'm 190 pounds off season. Right now I'm 195 at maximum. My friends saw him and he is now 230, 235. I know people who know him. He is very big. It's not a fair fight for me. Before, Anderson Silva was in my size when he used to fight in Japan but he is very big now. They were talking also that he was going to come in my division when I was the champion and I would have no choice. But me going up and after I fight go back down...I can't play with my weight. I can't come back and fight for the title or in a superfight. It has to respect my conditions, I all ask is a fair fight. Right now I need to take some time off. But if they have an offer with something good, maybe. - ESPN Brazil
February 2015 (after Silva's failed drug test)
"() told me to fight in Montreal and he also texted me to see if I was interested in fighting Anderson Silva right before the (drug test results) came out. I said no. And my answer was negative. Then the whole thing came up and it was bad."
"A fight versus Anderson wouldn't interest me. I never said never, but now is not the time for me. I am not interested right now. The way everything goes, I'm not interested right now. I am busy with other stuff too. I took a break and I now I am very happy." - The MMA Hour
....And last but not least.
Lorenzo Fertitta, December 8th, 2012, following Manny Pacquiao's KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez