There’s one person who doesn’t want to hear anything about Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre… and that person is Georges St-Pierre.
The UFC’s reigning welterweight champion was in Toronto on Tuesday for a press conference promoting UFC 129 and his upcoming title fight against No. 1 contender Jake Shields. The first question fired his way pertained to a super fight against fellow pound-for-pound contender Anderson Silva. The two are widely regarded as the top pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world, although people argue who sits at the top.
St-Pierre, who has stated in the past that if he faces Silva he would have to make an adjustment that would likely see him move to middleweight permanently, had other things on his mind than a fight against the UFC’s middleweight champion.
“I don’t even think about this right now. I never thought about it. I always live in the present moment, and my biggest problem is Jake Shields,” St-Pierre answered when talking about a fight with Silva. “It would be foolish for me to look past Jake Shields. He poses the biggest threat to my title. He’s a very well rounded fighter, and the UFC brought him in, and I’m glad they did because he’s the No. 1 guy for the welterweight title.
“As a champion, I’m a proud champion, and I want to fight the best guys. I’m going to fight Jake Shields, and I’m happy to do so.”
Shields has been almost in this exact spot before. When he was entering the final fight on his Strikeforce contract, the promotion matched him up against Dan Henderson at 185 pounds. Almost everyone thought the Cesar Gracie trained fighter was being led to slaughter.
Shields of course had other ideas, dominating Henderson en route to a unanimous decision win.
“Maybe a little, but not really,” Shields answered when asked if he felt disrespected by all the GSP vs. Silva talk. “They’ve both been so dominant in the UFC the last few years, people are talking about it, but I think it’s a big mistake to overlook me cause I plan on coming out there and spoiling that fight.”
Even though Shields has been on a longer winning streak than Anderson Silva over the last few years, with wins over opponents like Carlos Condit, Yushin Okami, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and Dan Henderson, his name is slow to come up when talking about the best fighters in the sport. If there is a definition of underrated in the world of mixed martial arts, Jake Shields is the poster boy.
“I love this role. I love getting looked past, same as Dan Henderson. Everybody’s talking about Henderson, the next champ, Strikeforce was trying to throw me out on a loss, but I definitely had different plans,” Shields commented. “Everyone’s talking about GSP this, and GSP that, which I do think he’s a phenomenal fighter and deserves all this, but I plan on going out there and dethroning his title run.”
UFC President Dana White is one person that believes in Shields. He knows that the former Strikeforce middleweight champion is as dangerous as they come. There are no doubts in White’s mind that playing spoiler for the big GSP vs. Silva fight is a great motivator for Shields.
“People have been talking about this super fight between (St-Pierre and Silva) forever, and one of the things that I’ve always said is it’s a fantasy fight right now. Half of it’s over, (Silva) just beat Vitor Belfort. That was a very dangerous fight, and now Georges St-Pierre’s in a very dangerous fight up here in Canada. (Shields) is so stealth, it’s unbelievable, but that’s how he’s been his whole career,” White said on Tuesday.
“The oddsmakers made this fight six-to-one in Las Vegas. Let me tell you what, people have been counting this kid out forever, and I’ll admit, me too. He just fought Dan Henderson at 185 pounds and anybody’s who ever covered mixed martial arts in this room, and probably even his training camp, didn’t think he was going to win that fight. Not only did he win that fight, he dominated Dan Henderson, and beat him.”
White was quick to say following UFC 126 that if everything works out, he will match St-Pierre against Silva for his next fight, but that’s a big if because Shields is still standing in his way.
“Georges has to get through this fight first before we can even talk about an Anderson Silva fight,” White said.
One match-up that we won’t see when St-Pierre vs. Shields is over, is Shields moving back up to middleweight to challenge Silva. While Shields has said in the past that he would welcome a chance to face the UFC’s best middleweight, White thinks that only a GSP vs. Silva fight would make sense at this time.
“Jake has been on this run and he’s fought at 185 pounds, too, and been dominant there. But the thing is the reason this Anderson Silva/Georges St-Pierre fight makes so much sense is because these two have been consistently fighting in the UFC, and this is more of a legacy super fight,” White explained. “People argue over who the pound-for-pound best in the world is. Is it GSP? Is it Anderson Silva? If he beats Jake Shields, (Anderson) just beat Vitor, they’ve cleaned out an entire division over the last several years and the fight makes sense.
“It’s like the pound-for-pound championship.”
The talk about St-Pierre vs. Silva won’t stop just because UFC 129 is around the corner. But if Jake Shields is looking for bulletin board material as he prepares for his title shot on April 30, all the chatter will definitely give him something to hang up.