It’s the fight on the mind of every fight fan. And Dana White has said it could happen “around May.” But there’s many other variables at play here. Let’s dive into a few of them:
(1) GSP is coming off a huge victory over the best Carlos Condit we’ve ever seen. It was a brutal fight in which he had to dig deep and because of which he will need time to recover. Perhaps even more important, the victory proved his triumph over his ACL tear, one of the most devastating athletic injuries any fighter can face.
(2) Few fighters have totally revolutionized MMA when it comes to the training component. Rickson Gracie is one of them. As is Frank Shamrock. And so is Georges St. Pierre. He has mentioned in several interviews about his “ectomorph” body and how he would need plenty of time to put on weight and do it the right way. This is not a guy willing to Krispy Kreme it. He’s a scientist and he has scientists surrounding him and advising him. Moving up in weight 15lbs is not as easy as it seems – not if you want to do it correctly. This is fighting not bodybuilding, which means many questions will be asked in terms of performance: Where to put on the muscle mass? How to do so without it changing your movement, your style and your cardio? How to do it so it gives you the best chance against the specific opponent you’re doing it for? What weight to walk around at? How long to walk around at this weight so the body adjusts? What impact will such a weight gain have on the recently torn ACL? What nutritional path to take? These are just a few of the questions GSP and his team will need time not only to mull over but also to implement if they do decide to move forward.
(3) In the time since GSP has been out of the game, the 170lb class has been developing. There are lions ready to take his belt and, as we saw with Condit, they are capable. Of course there are guys like Johny Hendricks who are knocking people out to get a title shot, but there are also a host of fighters like Demian Maia and Nick Diaz who could prove worthy challengers.
(4) Years ago Anderson Silva fought at 168lbs. His body has certainly changed a bit since then, but he’s still able to withstand the grappling prowess of wrestlers better and bigger than GSP – guys like Chael Sonnen. Stylistically, Georges is used to using his rhythm to set up his wrestling. He admits he can’t wrestle like Chael or strike with the accuracy of Anderson. He’s a guy who has built his body nearly to its max at 170 – check out his lean body during his early fights, even those against Matt Hughes, and look how thick he’s become. The question is brought up, “Well, what about all those ‘size doesn’t matter’ quotes when it comes to the martial arts?” Fact is, at elite levels and when athletes are so razor-close in their skills, size can and does matter. It’s a variable like anything else.
This all makes it highly unlikely that he will move up in weight class in 5-6 months to face arguably the greatest fighter on the planet. Will it ever happen? Possibly. But Dana White’s suggestion of May seems a long shot to me.