It is true what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Brock Lesnar is set to return to MMA for an immediate shot at the world heavyweight championship. Shogun Rua could be in line for a 205 pound title fight and the talks of Anderson Silva versus Georges St-Pierre have started up again.
Doc Brown has fired up the flux capacitor and taken us back in time. In all seriousness, the GSP comeback 2.0 could be a great thing for the UFC, if booked correctly. Here’s my take on how to match-up GSP for his return.
In my opinion, it is way too late to book Silva versus St-Pierre. When speculation of that fight first began, there was a legitimate narrative to it. That fight would have determined which of the two is the greatest MMA fighter ever. That is not the case in 2018.
Silva and GSP are both out of their prime but GSP is much closer to his peak than Silva. In November, Georges returned from a four year lay-off to finish Michael Bisping. The man dropped and submitted another great, who was a lot fresher, to win the middleweight title. He achieved this whilst suffering from colitis.
All due respect to Silva, he is a legend, but his last win was a decision over Derek Brunson. It was his first official victory in four years, two if you count the Nick Diaz decision which was overturned. Silva in his prime would have stopped Brunson with ease.
At this stage in their careers the ‘superfight’ between Silva and St-Pierre would be a total mismatch.
Georges St-Pierre versus Conor McGregor has often been discussed. Firas Zahabi, GSP’s coach has even named Conor as a potential option.
That fight makes sense in the old fashioned approach to drama. The clashing of two opposing images has always made for high drama. You only have to look to Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank for evidence of that.
One fight is strongly reminiscent of the other. One is a fighter, unpredictable inside and outside the arena. Greatness emanates from him despite his untamed personality. The other is a martial artist who projects class, discipline and is dedicated to the honing of his skills.
However, Conor will undoubtedly face Nate Daiz in the trilogy fight after Khabib. GSP is a horrendous match-up for Conor. He is clearly not afraid to face the grappling specialist despite what people say. McGregor is set to face Khabib in October and he is one of the best wrestlers to step foot in the octagon.
With that said, St-Pierre is huge in comparison to Conor. He won the middleweight belt last year! Not only that, he did it by submission, if he was too strong for Michael Bisping, he is certainly too strong for Conor.
Khabib Nurmagomedov makes the most sense for GSP. It would determine which of the two is the best grappler in MMA history and could be promoted as such. It may even clear up the GOAT debate somewhat. Should Khabib beat Conor and then drop the lightweight belt to GSP, ‘Rush’ would be a three weight titilist. This would make history and contribute to his legacy.
If ‘The Eagle’ wins, especially if he defends against Conor, it would give him a flawless body of work. All time greatness status would perhaps transfer to him; I believe that claim lays with either GSP or Daniel Cormier.
Khabib versus St-Pierre is the fight to make from a purist fan perspective. It certainly does not sell as many pay-per-views as a Conor fight. Casual fans are oblivious to the greatness of these two, but this one is for the hardcore fans.