The long-time welterweight champion has never really seemed especially keen on fighting Anderson Silva. The only time where a GSP vs. Silva superfight seemed like an honest possibility was in 2010 around UFC 112. This, as you may remember, was shut down after a less-than-satisfying bout between Silva and a scared-stiff Demian Maia drew boos and harsh criticism from Dana White.
Fast forward for today. A huge portion of the build-up to UFC 154 was the talk about forcing St-Pierre's hand by having Silva walk into the cage after the bout and challenging him in front of the whole world. I thought, just for a moment, that the fight might actually happen with such a turn of events
Then it didn't happen.
Now, I can confidently say that we are now, simply, not going to see that fight. Probably not ever.
Don't get me wrong, I would love that bout. Hell, I actually would favor GSP over Silva, who still has incredibly questionable takedown defense, and was bullied around by Chael Sonnen who lacks the quickness of St-Pierre.
But no. For whatever reason, GSP does not want that fight. He really, truly, does not want that fight and, until that changes, the superfight is going to remain a pipe dream.
With that in mind, what is next for the now-truly-undisputed welterweight champion?
Obviously, Johny Hendricks is the first person to talk about. With his electrifying knockout victory over Martin Kampmann (who, keep in mind, was the only person to beat Carlos Condit in the UFC to that point), he has clearly, unquestionably, undeniably established himself as the top contender in the welterweight division.
That said, it is unclear how popular of a fighter Hendricks is at this point. His knockout of Martin Kampmann was the most exciting moment of the night's pay-per-view broadcast, which likely had around 700,000 buys. If there was an ideal situation where he could establish himself as the top welterweight, it was right here.
Still, fans are very fickle and totally unpredictable. Hendricks could be a star now. Or he could be another anonymous body in a welterweight division that only has three stars that have caught on (being GSP, Condit and Nick Diaz). That, naturally, makes the viability of this matchup questionable from a revenue perspective. Unless GSP vs. Hendricks can draw a guaranteed 700,000 buys, it is not a guarantee that St-Pierre would agree to fight him.
Ultimately, assuming GSP does refuse the Anderson Silva fight, the best course of action is clearly this.
Wait. Wait a few months and push for a Johnny Hendricks vs. Nick Diaz top contender fight. By far, that is the best course of action for St-Pierre.
If Hendricks beats Diaz, it will be hard for even the most casual of UFC fans to ignore him. While Kampmann and Fitch are undeniably great opponents, they have nowhere near as much name value as Nick Diaz. A convincing win over Diaz would be impossible to look over and would truly leave nobody else for GSP to consider fighting.
Meanwhile, a GSP vs. Diaz title fight remains downright mouth-watering. Diaz realistically remains one fight away from getting back into the top contender spot, and if he beats Hendricks, it is hard to make a case against him. Obviously, every moment of the build-up will be a nailbiter, as it is hard to imagine Diaz actually coming through on the “professional” part of being a professional fighter.
Still, a GSP vs. Diaz title fight could, possibly, actually be as big as a fight with Anderson Silva (no, really!). I'm sure GSP would rather finally fight his de facto rival above anyone else.
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