When the news broke on Wednesday that the UFC had booked Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami for UFC Rioin August, everyone wondered what happened to the potential super fight between Silva and current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
All of the roads seemed to be leading to a blockbuster match-up between the two fighters that occupy just about everyone’s slots as the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters among the pound-for-pound best in the sport.
After Silva’s first-round knockout of Vitor Belfort in February, all eyes were focused on St-Pierre’s title defense against Jake Shields on April 30 at UFC 129. Now Silva will defend his belt against Okami in August, but that doesn’t mean a Silva/GSP super fight couldn’t happen down the road.
According to Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, the Brazilian champion wanted to stay active and defend his belt, and was concerned the timeline for a St-Pierre fight may have put him on the sidelines for too long.
“I don’t think it’s anything about switching gears,” Soares answered when asked why the UFC opted to go with Silva vs. Okami instead of Silva vs. GSP. “Whether GSP wins or loses or whatever happens to GSP, the show must go on. There’s what seven champions? They’ve got to stay busy. That’s the first thing.
“The second thing is GSP has mentioned that he’s going to have to put weight on. So even if he fought the end of April, it’s not like he’s going to be able to fight in at least six months, seven months; he’s going to have to put weight on.”
Understanding that Silva’s end goal for his career is to retire as an undefeated UFC fighter, with more title defenses than anyone could possibly catch up to, a bout with St-Pierre still fits the bill as one of the biggest fights ever.
For now, he won’t have to field as many questions about facing Anderson Silva, but that doesn’t mean the fight won’t happen down the road.