mma / Columns

Striking While The Iron Is Hot: Silva vs. St-Pierre

February 24, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

Georges St-Pierre is coming back. While I would have liked him to stay away, get out of this sport with his head and legacy intact, he’s coming back.

This fortune can’t be wasted by the UFC. They have to finally give us the fight that we’ve been waiting almost a decade for. Even though the iron burnt out long ago, it’s time for the UFC to make the most out of the scrap iron that they have left. Give us Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre.

Don’t be one of those people who says, “it’s too late for that fight. I don’t care about it.” Yes, it’s happening far later than it should, but don’t act like you don’t care. Maybe you don’t care right now. And maybe you won’t care when the fight is announced. But the week of the fight, when you realize that the two greatest fighters of all-time are just days away from stepping into the cage against each other. When you see both men meet in the center of the octagon, because you’ll watch. You may not pay for, but you’ll watch. When you see both men meet in the center of the octagon, you’ll be just as excited as the guy next to you and you’ll gasp with every punch thrown, knowing it could be the last time you see one of these men throw a strike.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather is an obvious comparison. The fight happened years too late. Manny had dropped a questionable decision and been knocked out prior to winning three straight fights where he didn’t look all that impressive. Mayweather was classified as a boring defensive fighter who couldn’t finish anyone. Sounds a bit familiar, right? The fight shattered PPV records. It wasn’t a good fight. In fact, it was extremely disappointing given the anticipation. But people knew it would be disappointing given that Mayweather fights are typically defensive masterpieces that don’t translate to JUST BLEED fight fans.

While Silva vs. St-Pierre wouldn’t break the PPV mark set by Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, it would likely be the biggest non-McGregor PPV in UFC history with a chance to surpass those numbers. St-Pierre’s return is going to draw against anyone. He’s still a huge name in Canada and the second biggest draw of all-time. Silva’s drawing power has always been hit and miss, but when matched up against another big name, he’s delivered.

Beyond PPV numbers, this is a relatively safe fight for St-Pierre for his return.

Let’s not forget that St-Pierre hasn’t fought since 2013, blew out his left ACL in 2014, and didn’t even look like the same fighter after blowing out his right ACL in 2011. He’s also 35. While GSP was highly skilled, his strength and athleticism played a big role in how he was able to dominate for so many years. He was a supreme athlete in his prime. That athleticism has faded with time, fights, and injuries. While he picked up comfortable unanimous decision victories over Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, that wasn’t the same guy who ran through the division from 2007 to 2011. And the guy who fought Johny Hendricks should have lost.

Match-up St-Pierre with Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, or Stephen Thompson and things could end badly for “Rush.” Give him one fight to ease into things, just to see where he’s at given his age and layoff.

At 41, Silva definitely isn’t the same fighter he was in his prime. His reflexes and timing, which were the best in the world during his championship run, are a full hair slower. He used to make guys pay for one tiny mistake. Now, guys can make multiple mistakes and live to tell about it. He’s still a dangerous guy, but he’s unlikely to sleep St-Pierre the way he may have seven years ago. And if he does knock out St-Pierre in 2017, it’s probably a good thing that GSP didn’t fight Woodley or Lawler.

Silva vs. St-Pierre is a win-win for everyone involved. It gives the fans a super fight that was promised in 2012, it allows us to see whether or not St-Pierre can compete in 2017, it protects the legacy of both men and it does big business.

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