Anderson Silva made an awful lot of people eat their words at UFC 126. In yet another dominant performance Silva quickly dispatched the latest pretender to his throne, knocking Vitor Belfort out with a front face kick midway through the first round. Silva showed his usual patience to slowly feel Belfort out before piercing his guard with a single shot and then clinically finishing the fight.
The victory means that Silva improves to 13-0 in the UFC, having made eight successful defenses of his World Middleweight Title. It’s a reign of terror that has made him the most dominant champion in UFC history, more than even the legendary Royce Gracie or superstar champions such as Matt Hughes or Chuck Liddell. There is only man that can even begin to challenge his claim to be considered pound for pound the best fighter in the world today. That man is Georges St. Pierre. The Welterweight Champion has to navigate a tricky title defense against Jake Shields at UFC 129 in the organization’s first ever event in Toronto. In front of over forty thousand fans Georges St. Pierre will look to put a cap on a glorious run at welterweight by ending the fifteen fight, two-weight win streak of Jake Shields. If he can do that then the stage is set for mixed martial arts’ first ever Pound for Pound King match with UFC President Dana White openly talking at Saturday’s post-fight press conference about St. Pierre moving up in weight and being the next challenger to Silva’s crown.
From an in-ring perspective the fight would be huge, the two most dominant champions in the organization’s history finally squaring off. Silva has the record for the longest series of victories in the organization’s history while St. Pierre has not lost a single round in over three years. Their fighting styles are a study in contrasts; the explosive counter striker against a pressure fighter who leads with his wrestling, the knockout artist against a man who tends to grind out decisions, the kickboxer versus the wrestler.
If you were to create a fighter to defeat Anderson Silva he would look an awful lot like Georges St. Pierre – intelligent striking, great wrestling and the ability to apply a gameplan to minimize exposure to risk. If you were to create a fighter to defeat Georges St. Pierre he would have lightening fast hands and feet that pack genuine knockout power plus the ability to surprise opponents with innovative tactics, something that Anderson Silva possesses in spades. Their strengths are designed to exploit the other’s weaknesses perfectly, a fact that makes the match so intriguing and difficult to call.
The differences go beyond their fighting styles, covering also their personalities and the reaction they inspire. Silva is increasingly hated by casual fight fans, a feeling he encourages with his increasingly arrogant and bizarre ways. St. Pierre is beloved by most casual fans who respond well to his politeness and unassuming manner. Silva is admired by many who find his behavior amusing and his fighting style exciting. Those same fans often find St. Pierre’s personality bland and his safety-first fighting style boring.
Should Georges St. Pierre manage to get past Jake Shields then the UFC will move ahead with what will be the biggest match in its history, with the possibility that it will break even the records UFC 100 set for commercial success. With Dana White already talking about the possibility of holding the event in Texas’ Dallas Cowboys Stadium and fans having eagerly anticipated the match for years it will be the biggest fight in the sport’s history. And for Anderson Silva it will give him the opportunity to secure his legacy and cement his status as the best fighter in the world today.
Tags: anderson silva, Georges St. Pierre, Jake Shields, Mixed Martial Arts, pound for pound rankings, UFC 126, ufc middleweight division, Vitor Belfort