RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
GSP is going to fight Anderson Silva after he dispatches Shields.� Whenever GSP says anything that sounds less than 100% enthusiastic about the fight, it's a money grab, plain and simple.� And considering the fact that fighters have near zero rights, good for him.� He (and Anderson) deserve every cent that they can bleed out of Zuffa's coffers.� And let's hope that instead of their massive paydays for this fight being a one-time deal, they set a new precedent for fighter salaries.� Especially now that fighters have one less option.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I have never wanted to see a fight more than the GSP and Silva super fight. �I am glad GSP has finally started to talk about the reality of what it will take to fight a much bigger fighter in Silva. I am also glad to see GSP is looking at moving up permanently, or that is how I am taking his comments. He has cleaned out his current weight class and so has Silva. It is potentially the largest pay per view fight in history. I get why the fans and the UFC want this fight so bad. I don't see this fight in 2011, though. I think it happens mid-2012.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think there's a good chance of it happening eventually, but not this year. Assuming that GSP beats Shields, there's nothing for GSP left to do. Who does he fight? Everyone that comes to mind has already been manhandled by GSP. If GSP beats Shields, I'd personally love to see them match GSP against Nick Diaz, just to see what happens.
I think GSP vs. Silva could happen this year, but it would mean a major turnabout for GSP. I want to see that fight happen more than any other fight right now, but only if both guys truly want it.
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Call me cliche but GSP sounded to me like he wants no part of Anderson Silva. �He listed many 'reasons' why he's opposed to the bout. Reasons=excuses. �He should be willing to fight anyone, anywhere. �I don't believe this fight will ever happen. �Anderson Is the best fighter of all time and I think GSP and his camp know it's a fight he cannot win.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Three weeks ago, I would have said that GSP fights Anderson Silva, no questions asked.� Now, with the acquisition of Strikeforce, regardless of what Dana White says concerning Strikeforce being "business as usual," the UFC's options to make fights for both fighters are a lot more interesting.� Though it's a fight fans want to see, the UFC themselves have to think that it's hard to have their two most dominant fighters face each other, knowing that one would (obviously) lose.� Yes, I know it's a sport.� But, looking from the UFC's perspective, I'm sure they are looking at all the options they have for the future, and wondering if this is a short term gain, or a long time investment.� I think the fight will eventually happen, after a few months of stalling, and when it does, a new era in MMA will unquestionably begin.
ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
If the UFC brass is willing to pay GSP a lot for it, I think he'll accept it.� Even though it's not fair to expect GSP to move up 15 pounds, a lot of fans will criticize him if he refuses to do so.� That social pressure (and, you know, millions of dollars) will push him into a bout with Anderson Silva.
MATT PELKEY, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It seems less and less likely by the day, but let's just get past the St. Pierre-Shields fight at UFC 129 first. That's not my way of saying Shields has a chance at pulling the upset (he doesn't), but let's not forget that Georges St. Pierre is right in the middle of training camp to defend his Welterweight Title. That's a job he takes very seriously and is very focused on. Perhaps he's not actually sitting around every day drooling over the prospects�of a megafight with Anderson Silva like the rest of us keyboard warriors. Perhaps that's why he sounds cool to the idea right now. I imagine the question can get annoying. Maybe St. Pierre takes a huge breath in the middle of the Octagon following a victory over Shields and exhales knowing he's leaving the welterweight division for a new challenge. Maybe he has no intentions of making the move up in weight or even doing a catchweight bout with Silva. No one knows right now, but I we'll get a better idea if we ask him again in two or three months.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
I think there's a slight possibility we can see it this year. The way that happens is if GSP gets past Shields and immediately begins the process of bulking up for this fight. While he works on getting his weight up to make this shift in his MMA career, Silva can take out the last true deserving challenger to his Middleweight Championship in Yushin Okami in August. Then, the UFC can book GSP vs. Silva on the year end show in December/January. I think that's the best-case scenario for the UFC to put this together, and though I think it can happen, it's most likely that this fight happens early in 2012 now. I think it can happen, and I still hold out some hope to see it, but no one knows how things will play out for sure in the next year.
[GSP art by Travis Beaven (c) MMATorch.com]