So now it comes to this: After all the speculation, hypothesizing and guesswork about a potential superfight between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, trainer Firas Zahabi says everyone might have been looking in the wrong direction entirely.
According to Zahabi, if St. Pierre is to take the plunge and switch weight classes, he might be headed down to lightweight instead of up to middleweight.
“I'd want him to move down to 155 [pounds], if Frankie [Edgar] was not the champion ...,” Zahabi tells Sherdog.com this week. “I'd rather him go down to 155 because Georges is not a very big welterweight. People might think he is, but he's actually not very big and making 170 is extremely easy for him ... I really believe he could get down to 155 quite comfortably.”
While this is certainly an interesting assertion -- one that sort of slyly points out what a gargantuan task it would be for St. Pierre to take on Silva at 185 pounds -- we can only assume that Zahabi is speaking hypothetically here, as a pragmatic coach who wants the best for his fighter and must be very, very tired of fielding questions about Silva versus St. Pierre.
Because, obviously, any realistic talk of GSP at lightweight totally misses the point of the last couple of years.
The last thing the most dominant welterweight in history needs to do is move down in weight. St. Pierre has won nine straight fights against the top 170-pound fighters in the world, has famously lost just one round during his last four consecutive decisions and since a 2007 defeat to Matt Serra has so thoroughly run roughshod over his division that prior to the arrival of new contenders like Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz and Jake Ellenberger, people were about ready to call the whole thing off.
Putting that guy in a division where he’d only have more physical and tactical advantages? That doesn’t even seem fair, let alone interesting.
At this point, fans frankly do not care about what is "comfortable" for St. Pierre. They care about finding him a challenge, seeing how he responds to adversity and how he handles being the underdog, for once. Most of all, they want the holy grail of MMA -- a fight between the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, to see if the French-Canadian phenom can do the impossible, topple Silva and steal the mantle of being the best in the world.
Clearly, he can't do any of that at lightweight.
The only halfway appealing fight for St. Pierre at 155 pounds would be the one apparently already ruled out, because he and Edgar have ties through Renzo Gracie’s New York-based jiu jitsu academy. Even still, that fight would primarily be interesting not because of St. Pierre’s involvement, but because of Edgar's, since it would essentially pit a guy many think should be fighting at middleweight against another many think should be fighting at featherweight.
In other words, it would only be important if Edgar won. For St. Pierre, it would just seem easy. Generally speaking, people who open their wallets to watch fighting don’t want to see easy. They want to see history.
To provide that, St. Pierre can’t look back and he can't look down. He can only look up.