Assuming Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre win their matches against Vitor Belfort and Jake Shields respectively, UFC fans could witness the greatest matchup in the history of the sport in 2011. A dream come true for the lifelong fans of the UFC. The fight would decide the best pound for pound fighter in the world. This match also has the potential to be the biggest disappointment in the history of mixed martial arts.
The serious fans of UFC and MMA will be anxiously awaiting this amazing matchup, but what about the casual fans? Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre are two of the most well known fighters in the UFC, so of course the casual fans will be eager to catch a glimpse of history. Is this the fight that will convey the brilliance of MMA to the general public? My guess is no.
When looking at Anderson Silva’s history, one can make the argument that, while he is dominant and a talented fighter, he has not been a very exciting fighter lately. Excluding his light heavyweight bouts, Anderson Silva has not knocked his opponent out since his fight with Rich Franklin in 2007. While he was able to finish Chael Sonnen with a triangle, one can assume that George St. Pierre’s ground game is too developed to be caught off guard with a submission attempt.
Following the fight between Silva and Demain Maia, Dana White said he was “embarrassed” by Silva’s performance. He supposedly does not pack the same punch when fighting at 185 pounds, let alone the catch weight necessary for this fight.
George St. Pierre has also received his fair share of criticism when it comes to finishing fights. While any serious MMA fan can appreciate St. Pierre’s pure dominance in title fights against dangerous opponents such as Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy and Thiago Alves, the casual fan may not understand the remarkable skill that St. Pierre is actually displaying.
When anticipating this incredible fight, an experienced MMA fan imagines it will be a tactical, flawless bout while the ordinary fan is most likely expecting a much more intense, all out fight. While respect for submissions and decisions is growing, many people still want knockouts. They want action. They want blood baths. Even though this fight may be the greatest fight in the history of mixed martial arts, many viewers may not get what they are expecting.