Mixed martial arts continues to be one of the fastest rising sports in the world. Ever since Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar tore down the house in their 2005 fight, the sport has been on the fast road to being the most popular combat sport, surpassing boxing. In my eyes, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has even crept into the conversation as one of four premiere sports organizations in the world behind the NFL, MLB and NBA. That being said, with the latest fallout surrounding their cancellation of UFC 151, now, more than ever, the UFC needs the mega-fight between middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, and welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre.
GSP is returning to the Octagon at UFC 154 to fight Carlos Condit to unify the welterweight and interim welterweight titles. UFC President Dana White has already stated that the promotion will look to place GSP in a fight with Silva at 180 pounds if GSP can get past Condit in November. With all the hatred the fans now have towards Jon Jones for his role in the cancellation of UFC 151, the UFC needs to book the super fight fans have wanted for years regardless of the GSP/Condit outcome.
Silva came onto the UFC scene in 2006 when he knocked out the Crippler Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 5. He was awarded a title shot at Rich Franklin in his next fight, and the rest is history. Silva has gone on to become the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC and the sport by winning 16 straight fights, including 15 inside the Octagon. He has beaten Chael Sonnen (x2), Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Franklin (x2) and Forrest Griffin and in most cases, has done so without breaking a sweat. He has run through the division and is need of a solid opponent.
For GSP, his fight with Condit will be his first since dominating Jake Shields for five rounds in April 2011. I have no doubt that he will be prepared for the Condit fight, but it won't be an easy road for the champion. GSP hasn't been as dominating in his UFC career as Silva, but he has come closest compared to anyone else. Ever since taking Matt Serra lightly at UFC 69 in 2007, GSP has won nine straight, including wins against Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck (x2). Aside from a grudge match with Nick Diaz, no other fight in the welterweight division even makes sense for the Canadian superstar.
One way or another, the UFC needs to give their fans this fight. At 37, time is running out for Silva to compete in these super-fights, so realistically, it is now or never. MMA fans have already missed out on their chance to see other big-named fights in the past (Fedor vs. Randy Couture, Fedor vs. Brock Lesnar), so the UFC needs to make sure they keep their fans happy and give them what they want.
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
More from this contributor:
Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.