The UFC is entering 2013 with two of the most stacked divisions in history in regards to the welterweight and middleweight divisions. Which is why it is quite perplexing that the president of the company is ready to pull its champions for at least half of the upcoming year.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]UFC president Dana White has been practically obsessed with making the Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre superfight. White has been talking about the fight for over two years yet it would appear that the fight is currently the closest as its come to being signed. Ironically both champions are also on top of divisions that feature more potential challengers than in recent years. Why White would want to make that fight now is something I have wondered for weeks.
Not even hours after Georges St-Pierre mauled Carlos Condit in a successful UFC welterweight title victory, White started talking once again about Silva vs. St-Pierre. White was asked in the post fight press conference exactly why he is so interested in making this fight.
“There are a lot of guys in line right for title shots at 170 and 185. But, we’re trying to make this super fight happen so we’ll see how it goes…. I agree [the middleweight and welterweight divisions are stacked right now]. It’s the number one pound-for-pound best fighter in the world against the number two pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. It’s a big fight, we think people want to see it and we think the guys want to do it. So, we’ll do it. Who knows, maybe we go into this thing and Georges St. Pierre says absolutely not. But. I just don’t see that happening.”
The pressure on GSP to take this fight has been obnoxious at times on the UFC’s behalf. St-Pierre has said numerous times that he is not interested in moving up in weight. GSP has also been lukewarm on the idea since the start. I thought it was a bit tasteless during the broadcast in the middle of a tremendous championship fight that the UFC showed Anderson Silva in the corner, already hyping the fight. Heck Dana White was on ESPN last week giving dates for the fight. The whole thing just doesn’t sound right.
In the middleweight division you have challengers more than deserving of a title shot who are biding their time. Chris Weidman and Michael Bisping both should be in line for a title shots. Instead they are taking fights while the champion and promotion sits back and ignores the rightful challengers. What is the point of having a division if you are going to have guys fight for title shots who never get them or make them wait it out long past their due date?
GSP has plenty of rightful challengers in the division himself. Johny Hendricks probably earned himself a title shot at UFC 154 with his 46 second KO of Martin Kampmann. Rory MacDonald would certainly be in line if he can put BJ Penn away on the FOX special. Jon Fitch also has to be back in the mix after that fantastic win at UFC 153. There is also the Nick Diaz fight that while not deserving of a title shot, Diaz is probably the most marketable challenger for the champion. With a division so hot, it almost seems ludicrous to pull its champion especially since he just sat out for nineteen months.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]The superfight is nice and I’d love to see it but the timing just isn’t there. What would happen if they do the superfight is you’d have all of these challengers fighting it out and by the time the champions return to the division, you’d have one credible challenger and a ton of parody. While GSP vs. Silva will draw more money than any of those title fights, the integrity of the division should mean a lot more.
I know Dana wants it but these men have responsibilities as champions while the UFC has responsibilities to its top contenders. The fight would have been a fun one, but it’s time for the UFC to close the door and concentrate on marketing the divisions.