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By: Chris Park, MMATorch UK Specialist
As another welterweight title bout is confined to the records books, Georges St. Pierre walked away the victor following yet another shut-out five round decision at UFC 124 in Montreal.
The carousel of welterweight contenders has almost gone full circle, with Koscheck the first to fall in a queue of fighters desperate for what would end up being a second humbling defeat at the hands of the Canadian phenomenon.
With fans frustrated by the lack of challenge that the welterweight division seems to present to St. Pierre, the super fight of all super fights is now more relevant than ever before. UFC President Dana White has recently spoken the words the MMA world have been craving by stating that the pound-for-pound title fight "will happen" sooner or later.
Georges "Rush" St. Pierre vs. Anderson "The Spider" Silva is the one fight that would be an absolute must see for MMA fans worldwide and would likely be the biggest fight the UFC will have ever put together. Both athletes have staked their claim as the No. 1 fighter on the planet, but neither case is conclusive, meaning the only way to decisively settle the debate would be to pair these men in the centre of the Octagon.
While GSP crushed B.J. Penn during their Champion vs. Champion clash back at UFC 94, it was in fact Penn who was moving up in weight to take on the much larger welterweight king. On that note, GSP has never competed beyond his own 170 lb. division.
Silva, on the other hand has cleared out the entire middleweight division and even made two trips to light-heavyweight to tackle James Irvin and then Forrest Griffin, in what will go down as two of his most devastating career victories.
A jump of 20 lbs. made no difference to Silva; if anything the Brazilian thrived as his larger opponents attacked, while he sat back awaiting his opportunity to strike. While Silva has found great success, winning all 12 of his UFC bouts, the opposition he has faced outside of his weight class are not at the same championship level that B.J. Penn competes at, so until he and St. Pierre square off no one will ever know who is the true pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet.
Despite St. Pierre displaying tremendous boxing technique against Koscheck last weekend, the Muay Thai skills of Anderson Silva would prevail should a toe-to-toe war break out between these two.
Silva would not fear the stand up threat of St. Pierre, while the Canadian would find it far more difficult to land that predominant jab and control the Octagon - in the manner he did against Koscheck - meaning he would likely approach this fight with a totally different game-plan to the one displayed at UFC 124.
As was witnessed at UFC 117, Anderson Silva had anything but a quiet night when he tackled Chael Sonnen. Silva was repeatedly taken down by Sonnen and quite literally beaten up for the first time in his career. It appeared Silva had no answer for the American's incredible wrestling skills, but with minutes remaining submitted Sonnen via triangle choke to retain his title.
With the natural wrestling ability that St. Pierre possesses, and the success Sonnen found for the majority of his bout with Silva, one would be forgiven for assuming that St. Pierre would use the that bout for reference and subsequently rely heavily on his own wrestling skills to topple the Brazilian.
Despite being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt under the Noguiera brothers, Anderson Silva doesn't base his offensive plans on this skill. Instead it has been used more as a "get out of jail free card" with the comeback against Sonnen being the prime example of this.
As well as Sonnen, Silva submitted Dan Henderson to unify the titles as the UFC and PRIDE merged, while St. Pierre has also had submission success, seeing off the likes of Frank Trigg and Matt Hughes. GSP has also come within a whisker to finishing a number of his opponents during his reign, and this aspect of his game can be credited for helping achieve several of the decision victories on his record. For this reason it would be St. Pierre that would be more comfortable and therefore would benefit the most should this go to the ground.
Anderson Silva has proven that he is deadly when given the opportunity – finishing 10 of his 12 opponents in the UFC – and he has also proven that he has the chin to go with the offensive flair that he possesses. While the loss to Matt Serra means St. Pierre will always have that question mark over his "chin," and with the fact that four of his last five have gone to the judge's scorecards, this would steer you away from the belief that a stoppage victory for GSP could be on the cards.
It makes more sense for "Rush" to avoid the clinch, avoid a stand up battle and take this to the ground, while Silva would like nothing better than to lock those fingers around the back of St. Pierre's neck and rekindle the type of viciousness that he displayed when dismantling Rich Franklin.
As well as the various aspects that both of these men display, there is one crucial factor in all of this, and that is weight that these two would agree to tip the scales at. While a welterweight bout is unimaginable, a showdown at middleweight would heavily favour the much larger, Silva and that makes it difficult hard to visualise St. Pierre winning in those circumstances.
Should the bout take place somewhere in the region of 175-180 lbs. - in the true spirit of the occasion - then the playing field would be significantly leveled, and as a result of meeting at this catch weight there could be no question that whoever comes out on top would be rightfully crowned the undisputed pound-for-pound king.
Chris Park is the MMATorch UK Specialist and guest columnist at ESPN.co.uk. Please email any comments or questions to Chris at; firstname.lastname@example.org or look us up at http://www.facebook.com/mmatorchuk2 our new MMATorch Facebook home for UK Fans!
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