As the MMA world continues to wait and see whether Georges St-Pierre fights one more time, Anderson Silva is arguing that the legend isn’t interested in real challenges. Is he right?
Since St-Pierre returned to the Octagon last November and choked out Michael Bisping to win the 185 crown, there’s been extensive speculation as to whether the former welterweight champ will fight again. A key reason being that GSP was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis after the win, and as a result, he vacated the belt. Further, while St-Pierre has expressed an interest in fighting again, he’s also repeatedly said it needs to be a fight that enhances his legacy. As a result, he’s shot down the idea of fighting the likes of Nate or Nick Diaz, and has said he would be interested in fighting the lightweight champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov (health permitting).
Well, the aforementioned Silva previously said he’d be down to fight his fellow legend, but St-Pierre has never embraced that idea. At a recent presser, Silva was asked about facing GSP, and he had this to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I believe Georges St-Pierre does not take the real challenge,” Silva said. “He just tries to do something easy for yourself, but this is Georges St-Pierre. He’s so smart. That’s the game, that’s the business. He’s a business man.
“For me, I prefer to take real challenge. Don’t put nothing in the mind of my fans, (saying) ‘maybe yes, maybe not.’ That’s why I accepted the fight with (Daniel) Cormier in two days (at UFC 200). That’s the difference … it’s not about fighters – it’s about martial arts. I like challenge and I try to do my best every time.”
Is Silva on point here? Does GSP only target match-ups that he sees as highly favorable for him? As a means to increase his chances of winning? Is it more about business than martial arts competition?
It’s an interesting argument and Silva’s not the first to float it. After all, before St-Pierre’s return fight against Bisping was booked, many argued that he should try to reclaim the welterweight crown and fight Tyron Woodley. But, GSP said he wasn’t interested in pursuing the 170 title again. Woodley, and others argued that the real reason the Canadian star didn’t want that fight was on account of the champ’s wrestling pedigree. Thus, GSP decided to fight Bisping, who isn’t a decorated, former collegiate wrestler.
While we don’t know for sure whether GSP was thinking that way, after he defeated Bisping, news came out that he had been quite ill leading up to the contest. St-Pierre elected to fight anyways. Does that constitute a big challenge? Many would probably say yes.
In addition, GSP’s supporters would also cite the star’s lengthy reign as the champ, whereby he didn’t pick and choose opponents, as further evidence of his determination. During St-Pierre’s run as the welterweight champion, he faced accomplished grapplers, wrestlers and dangerous strikers.
Ultimately your views on this might depend on what you view as a challenge or an easier match-up. Does GSP match-up better against Khabib? One of the best grapplers on the planet who has never lost? But who could be undersized against St-Pierre? Or Silva? One of the greatest strikers of all time, who would have a significant size advantage? But, who is now 43 year’s old and has been outwrestled in several fights? Could it be that GSP sees both match-ups as very favorable to him? But since only the fight with Khabib can deliver that historic third division title, that’s the one he wants?
The reality could very well be that at this stage of the game, GSP is looking for a fight with the lowest risk and the biggest reward. As one of the most successful fighters in MMA history that’s his prerogative.