Anderson Silva further cemented his legacy as the greatest middleweight fighter of all time this past weekend at UFC 126. He has dispatched every middleweight the UFC has thrown his way, and it’s a who’s who list of top fighters. He has not only defeated them, but he has dominated them with the exception of the Chael Sonnen fight.
It’s arguable that Anderson is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time right now after his win over Vitor Belfort. I’m sure some Fedor Emelianenko loyalists will present their debate on his behalf. That’s fine and I would welcome that, but I feel that Silva’s level of competition is a bit better than Fedor’s overall.
The one fighter that Silva needs to defeat to lay undisputed claim to the title of the world’s greatest mixed martial artist of all time is Georges St-Pierre.
I’ve heard all the arguments that Silva is too big to face GSP. If Matt Serra could knock GSP out, what would Silva to do him. So forth and so on. However, let’s take a look at some things:
-GSP’s competition level throughout his entire career is arguably higher than anyone else in the history of mixed martial arts. The UFC welterweight division was the deepest division in the UFC for many years, and GSP has beaten ALL of the best welterweights the UFC has had to offer.
-If we compare overall records, Silva has three losses (not counting the DQ loss to Okami). He wasn’t able or given the opportunity to avenge any of them. GSP has two career losses and avenged both of those in emphatic fashion.
-The only way Silva could lay claim to the GOAT title is if there was no perceived threat to take him out. GSP would be the most complete mixed martial artist that Anderson Silva has fought in his entire career. He’s a threat to Anderson Silva.
-It’s a fight that can be put together because each fighter’s weight class borders the other. Silva pretty much fought as a welterweight (170lbs) early in his career. He seems to have no trouble cutting weight to make the middleweight weight limit of 185 lbs. to defend his title. Of course, GSP is a welterweight that has to cut weight to make the 170 lb. limit. So there’s no reason why this fight couldn’t take place at a catch-weight of 180-182 lbs.
Of course, this is all subjective but I think those reasons provided give weight to anyone who claims that GSP is the greatest fighter of all time at the moment.
Silva is a complete fighter, but his biggest weakness is his take-down defense. We’ve seen him taken down by wrestlers like Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. I think most would agree that GSP’s wrestling in MMA is as good if not better than both of those fighters.
Silva could knock GSP out as he shot in for the take-down, but what if he wasn’t able to do that? We saw what happens when fighters rely on that tactic in the Demetrious Johnson/Kid Yamamoto fight at UFC 126. It’s possible that Silva could submit GSP, but I think it’s safe to say that his (GSP) grappling ability far surpasses that of Henderson and Sonnen.
All of the above could happen, but we’ll never know until they fight. These scenario’s and questions would likely dominate forums and websites leading up to the day these two square off. If GSP gets past Jake Shields, there’s a very good possibility that we could see this fight.
It would be one for the ages, and would certainly be the fight to determine who the greatest of all time is at the moment. However, until it happens, it will still be up for debate.