Silva has proven beatable in several fights, it was highlighted big-time in the 2 Sonnen fights, he has a huge hole in his game, he simply has well below average takedown defense. The problem is that the one and only strong wrestler who Anderson has been forced to fight, has horrible striking, and horrible sub defense. The fact that he managed to dominate him for so long in the first fight despite those shortfalls just shows how beatable Anderson really is. I firmly believe that had Sonnen not went for a strike that was clearly outside his skill level, the fight would have gone drastically different, but he did, and that just shows that good wrestling alone isn’t going to get the job done. However, good wrestling, with competent striking, and good sub defense, WILL get the job done. The only reason we haven’t seen this is because the UFC knows that if they give Anderson a fight against a well rounded, wrestling based fighter, he will lose, and they will lose their “P4P greatest fighter of all time”. IMO GSP is clearly the P4P best fighter in the world, he is so good at everything that he doesn’t have to be protected by the UFC from great strikers, or great wrestlers, he can dominate them both. Furthermore, if Silva ever has to fight GSP it will look just like Silva vs. Sonnen I, minus the last round sub. IMO Silva ranks third among current champions and even lower in respect to “All Time”, GSP has had a better title run against better opponents, and all though it has been shorter, JJ’s title run is already more impressive than Anderson’s. He has shown, like GSP (and unlike Anderson), that he has no glaring holes in his game, and that he can beat great wrestlers (Ryan Bader) great strikers (Shogun, Machida), and a great wrestler and striker (Rashad Evans). Even if you don’t agree that JJ’s legacy is already greater than Silva’s, you’re blind if you don’t see that he is on pace to eclipse it completely. And as far as his “all time great” status, he’s on the list somewhere, but not at the top, IMO Randy Couture, and Matt Hughes rank over him, and like I said GSP and JJ’s as well.
Anderson Silva is not the greatest of all time by any means; he’s a protected champion who has fought a mile long list of handpicked fighters with aggressive striking styles that fit right into his strengths. As much as I wanted Sonnen to prove my point, Sonnen was the perfect one dimensional fighter for Anderson to create an illusion that he can handle wrestlers, when the truth is, any strong wrestler with an ounce or two of striking and sub defense would easily handle Silva.
I’m going to give my very late opinion on the @CarlosCondit @nickdiaz209 fight from @ufc 143, I realize this is old news now, but I missed that fight on PPV, and I just watched it on fuel. This wont take long, this fight was as clear cut as it gets. I don’t see where the controversy was in this fight, for all of the Diaz lovers that complained about Condit “running” the whole time, you guys are freakin’ crazy. He was circling away from the cage to avoid being trapped, while constantly landing shots. Diaz spent half the time taunting, and clearly landed fewer strikes throughout the fight. IMO Condit clearly won the fight, in every way imaginable, I don’t think you can even give Diaz “octagon control” because he clearly wanted the fight to be against the fence, and Condit didn’t let that happen, he absolutely controlled the octagon, just because Diaz was moving forward doesn’t mean he was controlling, or even that he was more aggressive. Circling and creating angles does not equal running, and I would argue that the fact that he landed more would mean he was in fact the aggressor. Condit clearly won that fight, and anyone who can’t see that is clearly smoking the same stuff that Diaz was before the fight.
The purpose of this post is to decide the validity of the belief that GSP fights conservatively now, in 2012, based on his KO loss to Matt Serra in 2007. Internet forums on every MMA site are full of fans complaining that GSP fights too safe, and that he’s lost his killer instinct, the popular belief being that ever since he was KO’d by Serra back in 2007, that he is afraid of getting KO’d again, and fights safe now as a result.
Let’s examine this for a moment, prior to his loss in 2007 against Serra GSP had a record of 13-1, of his 13 wins 10 were finishes and 3 were by decision, giving him approximately a 77% finish rate. Since that fight he is 9-0 with 3 finishes and 6 decisions, giving him about a 33% finish rate. At first glance the numbers seem to speak for themselves, but perhaps it’s not a simple as it looks.
One major point to consider has to be the level of competition before and after the Serra fight, at 13-1 GSP had finishes over fighters such as Travis Galbraith a fighter you’ve probably never heard of, who currently has an 18-7 record, and all 7 of his losses were by TKO, KO, or Sub. On the other hand in his recent 9-0 run, he has faced fighters like Josh Koscheck who has a 17-5 record against top competition, and has only been finished twice, John Fitch who has only been finished once in his last 23 fights, Thiago Alves who has only been finished twice in the UFC, and hasn’t been finished since 2006(12 fight ago), and Jake Shields who has only been finished twice in his entire career and they were 29 fights apart. Needless to say, a fighter moves up in competition as their career progresses, especially when they become champion and they’re perpetually fighting the #2 man in the division.
Besides the fighters mentioned above GSP also has wins over Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, and Dan Hardy. Matt Hughes is one of the greatest fighters of all time, GSP finished him (post Serra fight number 1), and at that time Hughes had only ever been finished or beaten 5 times in 47 fights, one of those finishes came at the hands of GSP in their previous fight, and 2 of the others were to the same person. GSP finished BJ Penn, who is also one of the greatest fighters of all time, and he’s only been finished twice, including that loss, in his entire 26 fight career. Then there’s Dan Hardy, I bring him up in this paragraph instead of the former despite the fact that GSP did not finish him in their fight, for one reason, an educated observer would have noticed GSP’s opportunity to break Hardy’s arm in half right below the shoulder much like we saw Frank Mir unmercifully do to Big Nog in his last outing, GSP had the exact same hold (kimura) on Hardy, in an even more dominant position(north/south vs. side control), and when Hardy refused to tap he could have snapped his arm and called it a day. However, much like Matt Hughes chose NOT to break Royce Gracie’s arm, GSP chose not break Hardy’s. GSP is an athlete that is interesting in winning and establishing a legacy of being the greatest martial artist to ever compete, not breaking limbs, and seriously injuring his opponents, this may mean that he doesn’t have the “killer instinct” that the fans seem to pine for so vehemently, but I personally find this commendable.
Last but not least there’s Matt Serra, and this paragraph alone could make the entire point. Simple logic would suggest that if a KO loss to an opponent was so traumatic that it would cause a fighter to change his style for the rest of his career, that the best example would be in a rematch with that same man. Lucky for us this fight did happen, and guess what, GSP FINISHED Matt Serra, he dominated him so completely that Serra had no choice but to ball up on the matt and take the beating of his life, until the ref saw fit to stop the fight. Again simple logic would suggest that if GSP was really so affected by the KO loss in the first Serra fight, that he would “play it safe” for the next 5 years, we would seen that fear in abundance when he was put across the cage from the very man that knocked him out. This was not the case, he was aggressive, dominant, and finished the fight. That in and of itself is proof positive that the “Matt Serra Affect” is nothing more than a myth.
As a fan of GSP I would love nothing more than to see him finish every opponent put in front him, but the reality is, that since becoming champion in one of the most competitive divisions, in the world’s premier MMA promotion, GSP has faced a who’s who of the top fighters in the world, and I believe that most fighters would take a 9-0 record with a 33% finish rate facing the world’s best, over a 13-1 record with a 77% win rate against…maybe, not so great competition. GSP has done both, and if you subscribe my conclusion that the Matt Serra loss has nothing to do with GSP’s current “low” finishing rate, then you must consider that both records contain the common denominator of the same dominant fighter, and the only difference is the level of competition that fighter is facing.