Anderson Silva's brilliant front-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 126 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas generated plenty of comment from mixed martial arts fans.
So, too, did Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White's announcement that he'd pit Silva, his middleweight champion, against welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in a superfight later this year if St. Pierre retains his belt against Jake Shields at UFC 129 on April 30 in Toronto.
Some people like the idea of the megafight, but others have their concerns. I'll address those and other topics in this edition of the mailbag.
A big mistake for GSP
Does anyone other than me think that it's a bad idea for Georges St. Pierre to jump up to 185 pounds to take on Anderson Silva? He goes from being a big welterweight to being a small middleweight, and immediately taking on the best fighter in the world at any weight. Yes, Silva looked susceptible to good wrestling against Sonnen, but I think he was more injured than most people ever knew. He looked totally different physically in his win Saturday against Vitor Belfort. I like GSP and I don't want to see him make this mistake. I think it's a mismatch, and I hope someone in his inner circle has the guts to tell him as much. If people are so desperate to see Silva lose, why not pressure him to jump up to light heavyweight to take on Jon "Bones" Jones after Jones takes the belt from Mauricio "Shogun" Rua next month?
I think it's riskier for Silva than St. Pierre, Scott. You're right that Silva is a huge middleweight. It's not out of the question that he could fight successfully at heavyweight, especially against the smaller heavyweights. So if St. Pierre jumps and loses, people can immediately point to the size differential and say, 'Georges didn't belong at 185 anyway.' But if St. Pierre would happen to win, the significance of the victory couldn't be overstated. Conversely, if Silva were to lose to a guy many think is too small to be facing him, it would severely dent his reputation – and his long-ago losses to Ryo Chonan and Daiju Takase would gain in significance.
Silva far too big for GSP
I feel I'm the only one not excited about the potential 'super fight' between Anderson Silva and GSP. I am a GSP fan, and believe he's top two, while I'm not much of a Silva fan, though I acknowledge his pound-for-pound status. I think Silva would be as dominant, if not more, against St. Pierre as St. Pierre was against B.J. Penn. I loved Penn in that fight and was shocked at how St. Pierre manhandled him. These same advantages are more apparent in the Silva-GSP fight, which makes it less interesting to me. What do you think?
Strength is more of a factor in St. Pierre's game than it is in Silva's. So you saw St. Pierre physically manhandle Penn more than I think you would see Silva do to St. Pierre. I don't think strength would be an issue in the fight. It would essentially come down to Anderson's precise and deadly strikes against Georges' great wrestling.
Superfight a farce
I'm not surprised the Silva-Belfort fight ended the way it did. When you put two snipers into a fight, it can end at any second. However, I think the pending Silva-St. Pierre match is a farce. Yes five years ago Anderson fought Yushin Okami at 175 pounds. But Silva has got to make a full-time move to light heavyweight to make the most competitive fights. After seeing Belfort get a heel to the chin, I realized that this St. Pierre match is a waste of time and also puts the top three middleweights on the back burner. It's a great business move for the one fight and will create lots of revenue. As a matchmaker, however, I wouldn't put a cash cow and beloved champ like GSP in with Silva.
Long Island, N.Y.
I would rather see Silva move to light heavyweight, but he can still make 185 and doesn't want to give up his belt. You can't force him to leave his division. But I wouldn't care about putting the rest of the division on the back burner. Putting aside St. Pierre, who are the top middleweights you're talking about? Okami? Nate Marquardt? Demian Maia? Michael Bisping? Alan Belcher? I don't think any of those fights would be very interesting at this stage, and Silva's already beaten Marquardt and Maia. The Silva-St. Pierre fight would be huge for the sport because it would garner extraordinary attention, even from mainstream media which rarely acknowledge MMA.
Belfort is nothing special
Should anybody really have been surprised by the outcome of Silva-Belfort? Let's not forget that before rattling off five wins against lesser opponents, Belfort was never anything special. His résumé includes two losses to Alistair Overeem, and a loss to Dan Henderson, who Silva beat convincingly. Belfort was an overrated opponent whose only quality victory was way back in 2004 against Randy Couture, and even this was a victory that was avenged seven months later by Couture.
His 2004 win over Couture was a fluke because Couture's eyelid was cut by the seam of Belfort's glove in the fight's first minute. Other than that, his biggest wins were against Wanderlei Silva in 1998 and Rich Franklin at UFC 103 in 2009. He clearly hadn't made the most out of his skills, but the intrigue in the fight was that he clearly had the knockout power to stop Silva. As we know, it only takes one punch when you're wearing four-ounce gloves.
Blown away by Silva
I am blown away by Anderson Silva's ability to make it look so easy against such high-level opposition. I don't like his show-boating and disrespectful toying with his opponents, but it's insane that he can get away with it time and time again. You've written many times that you think he's the best pound-for- pound, especially after GSP failed to finish Josh Koscheck. But there's one thing that makes me lean toward GSP in the super fight. Didn't Chael Sonnen expose a big weakness in Silva? Silva had no answer for the double-leg takedown, which is GSP's veritable forte. What are your thoughts on this match stylistically, provided GSP gets past Jake Shields at UFC 129?
I agree that the style of match tends to favor St. Pierre. That said, Silva will have had more than a year since the Sonnen fight to work on his takedown defense by the time he'd fight St. Pierre. And, perhaps more significantly, it should be noted that he fought Sonnen with injured ribs. While I think Sonnen would have taken him down in any event, the injured ribs probably contributed to how easy it appeared.
What happens to Okami?
I thought Yushin Okami had won the right to fight the Silva-Belfort winner. If the Silva-GSP fight goes through, where does that leave Okami?
Though Okami has a win by disqualification over Silva from a 2006 Rumble on the Rock match, I don't see him as a major threat to Silva. And his style certainly isn't all that exciting. As a result, I believe he'll be forced to wait and may get the first crack at the winner. Of course, he'll have to keep winning in the interim.
Silva-Jones fight would be incredible
Jon Jones is an awesome fighter, which he proved again Saturday when he submitted Ryan Bader. What do you think of a Jones-Silva fight? If Jones defeats Rua at UFC 128, I think it would be more entertaining to see Jones, rather than St. Pierre, face Silva. What do you think?
I think a Jones-Silva fight would be phenomenal – assuming Jones beats Rua, which is a major assumption. Jones still isn't very experienced; when he is, he's going to be scary good.
Is Jones title shot fair?
Do you think it's fair Jon Jones got a title shot so quick? I personally love it, but do you think the other fighters in the division are unhappy about it? Also, if Ryan Bader would have won the fight, would he have gotten the shot?
El Paso, Texas
I do think it's fair. Who would you suggest should get the shot other than Jones, who is 12-1 and really hasn't been challenged? The UFC offered the fight to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, but he declined. Lyoto Machida has lost his past two fights. Forrest Griffin, who beat Shogun in 2007, was injured Saturday. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is coming off a loss to Bader and has a March 26 fight with Tito Ortiz. Jones clearly was the logical replacement and he's most definitely earned it. Bader likely would not have gotten the shot, however.