September 6, 2011
GSP defers to Silva in MMA's pound-for-pound debate
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is one of the nicest guys in sports, so he agreed to let a, uh, hard-hitting radio guy arm-wrestle him at a media conference on Tuesday.
Reports that the same reporter then asked GSP for his autograph and to follow him on Twitter are fallacious at best.
However, you didn’t have arm-wrestle St. Pierre to get him to offer his opinion on a rather controversial topic in mixed martial arts these days, the question of who’s the best pound-for-pound fighter.
For years, GSP was considered by a great many to be that fighter.
But given his less-than-spectacular performances recently, including his decision win over Jake Shields on April 30 at the Rogers Centre, many UFC fans now consider Anderson Silva to be the pound-for-pound king.
And guess what? St. Pierre himself agrees with that assessment.
In his books, middleweight champion Silva is the top dog in the UFC.
“I think it’s fair to say that Anderson Silva is No.1 right now,” said St. Pierre. “That’s the popular opinion, that’s what most people think right now, and I agree with that.”
While St. Pierre recorded a decision over Shields in his last defence, Silva recorded a spectacular TKO victory over Japanese fighter Yushin Okami at UFC 134 last month in Rio de Janeiro. The fact is, Silva has recorded stoppages in four his last five fights, while the workmanlike St. Pierre has relied on a decision in five of his last six.
“Silva had a very good performance in his last fight,” said St. Pierre, who’s shockingly gracious for a professional fighter. “Me, in my last performance, I won over Jake Shields, but it wasn’t that great.”
Given his rather mundane victory over Shields, St. Pierre said he’s anxious to come up with an explosive win over Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas and prove to the world that he is a best pound-for-pound contender. He’s been training specifically with Diaz’ style in mind, concentrating on his offence.
“I’ve always been good at not getting hit, now I’m getting much better at hitting people,” said St. Pierre. “Not only striking, but a lot of different stuff that will help me out with my offence.
“I did what I had to do against Shields,” added St. Pierre, who was hampered during the fight by an eye injury. “But I faced a lot of criticism after. I wanted to finish that fight, but it was very hard.”
If he manages to stop Diaz, 25-7 (and one NC), the Montreal fighter expects again to be considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, if not the best. But he realizes such accolades are fleeting and, of course, totally unofficial.
“Those rankings change all the time,” he said. “Not long ago it was Fedor (Emelianenko) who was No.1, and then he lost and now he’s not even in the top 10 pound-for-pound,” said GSP. “So it can change in a blink of the eye. But, yes, I want to be considered the best.”
Of course, the only sure way to prove who the best fighter is between St. Pierre and Silva is for the two to actually fight, and that’s still a possibility, according to UFC president Dana White.
“Maybe,” said St. Pierre, when asked if thinks a “superfight” against Silva is in the cards. “It depends on the outcome of our (next) fights and what weight class. Is he going to come down, or am I going to go up? There are a lot of questions I need to consider. But never say never.”
But first St. Pierre has to get past Diaz.
“A lot of people in the sport consider him the best guy at 170,” said GSP. “So I need to fight him to see who is the best.”