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GSP vs. Silva is Great for the Sport

This is going to be a long one, people. If you’re not up for a bunch of words being thrown at your eyeballs, sit this one out.

This write-up is a direct response to Jonathan Snowden’s post over at Bloody Elbow. His thesis is essentially “GSP vs. Silva is more spectacle than sport because the welterweight champion would be giving up a size advantage to his middleweight counterpart. With that in mind, the fight shouldn’t happen, and shame on everybody for wanting it in the first place.”

Once again, Snowden is taking an idea that the general consensus of MMA fans seem to agree on – that GSP vs. Silva is a fight that not only should happen, but in some ways needs to – and arguing against it simply for the sake of being, as he puts it himself, “contrarian.” Now, Snowden doesn’t actually admit to being contrarian, but merely uses the word to point out that many people accuse him of being so, and that such a characterization is simply misguided. It’s merely coincidence that he always seems to have an opinion that vastly differs from the majority, he would argue.

All I’ll do in response to that is call bullshit, obviously, and point out that Snowden has an obvious incentive to continue to support the “contrarian” view on certain “polarizing” topics: it stirs people up, which gets extra hits to the web site he writes for. It also gets people to focus on him, as opposed to the topic itself, which in turn makes him a bit more “infamous” in this MMA community we’re all a part of. That attention can only help the sales of those books he publishes every so often. To that end, I suppose credit must be given to Mr. Snowden. Even those that see through the bullshit still wind up feeding right into it, as I’m doing right now. So congrats buddy.

I won’t waste any more time focusing on Snowden, who in many ways is the Fox News of the MMA media, but will instead use this to post spell out the reasons why GSP vs. Silva makes a helluva lot of sense. I’m sure most of you who support this fight are already aware of most of what I am about to say, but why not use this space to spell it all out?

For starters, there is essentially nothing left for either man to prove against the contenders in their respective divisions. Sure, some purists would argue that Yushin Okami has been promised a shot against Silva, but does anyone really expect “Thunder” to pose a legitimate threat to the man that has finished world class guys like Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, Nate Marquardt, and Chael Sonnen? If Okami really is the top contender in the division, he should have little problem beating whoever the UFC puts in front of him. On top of that, the Japanese-born fighter is only currently riding a three fight win streak. These days it takes most fighters wins in six, seven, or sometimes even eight fights in a row before fighting for the belt.

More after the jump.

As for GSP, some want to see him fight the winner of Penn vs. Fitch II, if that fight is indeed booked. But GSP has already bested both men decisively, and actually holds two wins over Penn. Other than those men, there are rising contenders like Carlos Condit, Rick Story, and Diego Sanchez who might be due for a shot at the champ sometime soon. But the fact remains that not one of them has truly earned a shot at the belt just yet.

With all of that in mind, the fact is that the biggest threat to the dominance of both GSP and Silva is the other man. This is a sport where we are in a continuing search to truly find out who the best is. Both of these champions are inarguably the best in their respective divisions – and, most believe, the best in any division – so why not put them together to decide who is currently the absolute best in the world, or even the best of all-time?

The opposing argument is that Silva’s size advantage is just too great for GSP to overcome, regardless of his skill, heart, or talent. But how often in this sport do we see two fighters battle where there is a significant size difference between them? Anyone at lightweight who has faced off with the oversized Gleison Tibau can attest to that. Any heavyweight that hovers around 230-240 pounds who has had to trade blows with men like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin can back up my point as well. Moreover, GSP has consistently said that he would need time to put on the necessary muscle mass were he to compete with Silva. He currently walks around close to 190 pounds, so it isn’t entirely inconceivable that he could get up to nearly 200 if given the right amount of time to prepare and a good strength and conditioning coach. While Silva would still have a size advantage, it would be even more negligible than it is now.

Also, GSP is a guy who has consistently vocalized his desire to challenge himself and to become the best fighter ever. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that his recent public comments on taking the fight with Silva are more negotiating tactics than legitimate hesitation.

The point is that there are no true challenges left for Georges St. Pierre at 170 pounds. He has proven time and again that he is at another level in comparison to his welterweight counterparts. The only place for him to go right now is to the weight class above his, to face the Brazilian champion who no one else has been able to stop. Snowden is right when he says that there is a large element of spectacle in a potential GSP vs. Silva fight. But why is that a bad thing? Sport is spectacle. As fans, we sit and watch these athletes compete in the trenches and prove themselves, just so that we can savor the moments of when truly great things transpire – when sport and spectacle become one and the same. GSP vs. Silva is the pinnacle of both sport and spectacle, and there is no good reason why it shouldn’t happen.

That is, unless Jake Shields pulls off the impossible on April 30th, at which point this entire argument will have been for nothing. Don’t you even think about ruining this for me, Jake.

  • Reverend Clint

    I want Anderson vs Brock

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    “The point is that there are no true challenges left for Georges St. Pierre at 170 pounds”

    That sums up everything right there.

    As far as I’m concerned GSP can do one of two things after UFC 129:

    1) Fight Silva at 185

    2) Move up to 185 and fight a tune up match or two to iron out the kinks at the new weight/new body

    Either way the dude has to move up to 185 as everyone has zero interest in watching him tune BJ, Fitch or Alves again (and as awesome as Condit is he’s a ways out from a title shot and wouldn’t have a great chance against GSP anyway).

    Obviosuly putting him in against anyone other than Silva at 185 is a huge risk to a monumental PPV event, so I have to assume that option #2 is off the table.

    I understand that “risk taking” against someone as big and dominant as Silva (maximum risk) is potentially bad for GSP’s career and against his entire fighting philosphy. But looking like a bitch, pissing of UFC brass and UFC fans, fighting and beating the same four WW over and over, and generally making a whole division stagnant is WAYYYYYYYYYYY worse for your career/lagacy in the long run. If GSP doesn’t take this fight he’ll be remebered as the champ that wouldn’t take the superfight and unforuntately not for all of the amazing things he’s done to this point.

    Nut up or retire the belt and work full time for Under Armor. Becuase after UFC 129 no one will want to see GSP fight at WW for a looooooong time.

  • Billytk

    I have to say I agree more with Jonathan Snowden then with Shawn, while I think P4P GSP is a better fighter then Silva there is just too much size difference for this to be a reasonable fight, GSP has the ideal frame for WW (and isn’t even one of the biggest WWs) while Silva is borderline HW material if you look at his fight with Forrest (who many consider HUGE for LHW) they were basically the same size. We as fans should be shouting for a superfight between Anderson and the LHW champ not the WW champ.

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    ^^”We as fans should be shouting for a superfight between Anderson and the LHW champ not the WW champ”

    Essentially I agree. However, the LHW belt has yet to be defended. Talk of pitting champion vs champion is just to soon at this point as there are still LOTS of contenders at that weight.

    Everyone is clammoring for GSP/Silva because there are NO contenders left at either weight (Okami aside) and both champions are so ridiculously dominiant that it just makes sense. I agree that GSP has a body for WW, but that doesn’t mean he can’t beat Silva. Christ, he takes Rashad Evans down at will at Jackson’s not to mention Marquardt. 

    I feel bad for all of the pressure on GSP for this fight to happen, but LHW isn’t ready for a champion/champion match-up and there’s nothing left for GSP at WW. GSP is so beyond his peers at WW that who is honestly to say that he can’t be a major threat to the MW champion given some time to prepare?

  • glassjawsh

    im fairly certain that medical science has proven that agreeing with jonathan snowden makes you a hermapherdite

  • Billytk

    ^^ even a broken clock is right twice a day

  • shawn

    Snowden’s problem is that his arguments are always backed by faulty logic. Don’t like the idea of Silva vs. GSP? Come up with literally any argument other than “Silva is too big.” Reason being, there are so many glaring holes in that argument, primarily the fact that we very often see size disparities between fighters even when they’re fighting within their own weight class, and especially at the heavyweight level.

  • agentsmith

    “Contrarian” = trolling.  Isn’t that right, Take It Easy?

  • Take It Easy

    i troll people with the bitter truth they dont want to hear and crush their baseless opinions with fact

    being a contrarian means trolling people by writing the most retarded shit possible

  • Take It Easy

    you could improve your piece like 3x if instead of giving that faggot hack “credit” you called him a terrible journalist (true) and call for him to be fired from bloody elbow (still wont save that shit site)

    \if youre going to be admit to getting trolled at least shit on him in turn

  • frickshun

    I may be in the minority but I don’t really care about this fight. You guys are stuck in some fucking comic book mentality where a dream come true is to see Superman battle fucking Batman.

    PS: Haveing nothing to do w/this in particular, Snowden is fucking lame. And next time I get busted for turning tricks in a Port Authority bathroom, I’ll hire Shawn to defend me.

  • shawn

    what the hell did i tell you about doing that shit. it’s tough to plead not guilty when there’s photos of bum jizz on your face

  • agentsmith

    I hereby award +1 internets to Frickshun for the Superman vs Batman reference.

  • agentsmith

    @ Take It Easy:

    No, you talk shit.  Plus you can’t stop talking about how much this place and its writers suck, yet you can’t stop coming here.  Classic sign of trollery, right there.

  • Take It Easy

    if dont do it none of you fags will and this site will never improve

  • ghostboner

    I could care less about GSP vs Anderson. After sucking GSP’s nuts this hard, alot of people are gonna look real dumb if Shields pulls out a sub. Granted the only person on this planet who even thinks that is possible is thingvolds, but still. The whole premise here is that GSP is untouchable at 170, (yet he has a fight at 170 in a few months) and that the only person who could challenge him is Anderson. GSP has no chance against Anderson. Not because of the size gap, which I don’t think is as big as everyone is making it out to be, but because of the talent gap. Anderson is just plain better.

    As far as getting 7 or 8 wins to get a title shot, all I can say is Shogun. Or B.J. Penn. Title shots seem to be more about being marketable these days than anything, which I assume is why Dana is so keen on this matchup.

    As far as there being nothing left for either guy in his class, I want to see GSP vs Condit. If Condit can keep it standing (which he prob can’t) I think he has a good chance. Even on the ground Condit has a solid game from guard. I would like to see Kampmann too, but the poor bastard’s finishing instinct has run away never to return, apparently.

    As for GSP and Silva being the biggest threat to the other guy? Not really. Silva is a weightclass heavier, so you can’t really consider him a threat. Unless we wanna consider GSP the biggest threat to Frankie Edgar’s title. And GSP being a threat to Silva? If he can beat Chael Sonnen or Yushin Okami or Demian Maia or Nate Marquardt or even Alan Belcher then maybe we can consider it. If you wanna use Jake Shields, saying he beat Hendo, who fights at 185, well we know how fuzzy MMAth can get. Besides, GSP still has to beat Shields. Presently we have nothing to say that GSP is any kind of a threat to Anderson, because he has not fought at 185.

    As far as GSP needing time to make weight, he said like 3 years ago that he was walkin into to cage at like 188. I’m pretty sure he is topping 190 in training, and that is a lean & cut GSP. Anderson might hit 220, but that is not an in shape Anderson. In the Griffin fight, Griffin still looked bigger, and leaner, than Anderson. I don’t know where people are getting this Silva looked bigger stuff from. Ya he has a giant melon for a head, but Griffin was definitely leaner and had more muscle mass. Will there be a size advantage for Silva? Definitely. Will it be 30 or 40 lbs like GSP is claiming? Hell to the no.

    Bottom line: if either guy wants to move up in weight, cool. If not, cool. GSP should have to win a couple at 185 before he gets a title shot at 185, and catchweight is lame so forget about that. I would like to see Anderson move to 205 and GSP move to 185.

  • Take It Easy

    your dumb and anderson isnt that good srry

  • Take It Easy

    ps this will be a Lesnar-style big event and if you cant see why that level of business and exposure for the two best athletes in the entire sport is something that the sport needs then please do the internet a favour and get yourself banned from every mma opinion site

  • Nachtfalter

    I stopped going to Bloody Elbow because Snowden’s continuous BS kept pissing me off. It’s really a shame that he chooses to be a troll instead of being a journalist because he happens to be a good writer. That said, his act has gotten really old really fast and I’m just done with it and done with BE by extension.

    As far as GSP / Silva… there’s no argument here. The fight needs to happen. There simply is no reason for it not to. No reason that’s not easily disproven, that is.

    And just because this is Fightlinker and that means I can: Fuck you, Snowden! I hope all the dicks you suck to get your books published are tasty!

  • iamphoenix

    why would you hope for tasty dicks. those dicks should be sour and burn his throat.

    i’m in bed with shawn on this one.

  • NoFlegraPor

    Snowden is in deep with Strikeforce which he praises for putting on fights for the sake of spectacle, yet condemns the UFC for a GSP/Silva match because it would only be for spectacle. Agreed; classic trolling.

    I have to come in on the minority with Frickshun in that this fight doesn’t interest me. GSP and Silva are singularly fascinating in that a) GSP’s devotion to training and laser-like focus on winning are inspiring, and  b) Silva never seems like he is trying that hard, and still knocks people’s teeth into the stands. Having them square off seems ridiculous and GSP knows it. 

    I have been trying to listen to the Bloody Elbow radio show lately because I’m so starved for MMA talk, but it’s like sticking needles into my temples. However, Forrest brought up a good point: What do you do with GSP and Silva after they fight each other?

  • Take It Easy

    thats a dumb question

    you can litterally do whatever because theyre stil the two best fighters inthe entire sport

  • Reverend Clint

    if one is a hard worker and the other a feckless michael jackson wanna be that in itself is interesting to me. Hard work vs lazy brown guy