Like all great sports buoyed by passionate fans, MMA is one that is best enjoyed with healthy side serving of debate. Discussion. Discourse. People shouting loudly at each other from behind their keyboards with the fire of a thousand suns. It’s that kind of fervor that led us to launch The Champions Roundtable, a weekly discussion of the biggest topics surrounding our noble sport featuring three of Champions’ least noble writers: Jared Jones, Jason Nawara and Justin Golightly. Be warned: beyond this line lies takes hot enough to melt steel beams.
Jared Jones: (*panting heavily*) (*dabbing sweat from forehead*)
You guys ...GSP is back!!!
What do we do?!! What happens now? Who should he fight first?! Does it even matter?!! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME PROCESS THESE FEELS.
Jason Nawara: This pleases me greatly. I think GSP has a few good years left in him, but Father Time is quite the bastard. Should he get a warm up fight?
Justin Golightly: Obviously, the first thing you try and do is lure #ConorMcGregor away from his lofty boxing aspirations with Floyd Mayweather and give him the biggest possible fight the UFC could make now: Georges St-Pierre vs. McGregor. Can you even f-cking imagine the absolute chaos if GSP just tweeted:
You put that mighty morphin’ super fight on in Ireland, you put that in Canada and get that fire started again, hell, you put that in Uzbekistan and it breaks every record that McGregor has already broken.
Jones: Woah woah woah, let’s everyone just pump the brakes on this McGregor vs. GSP nonsense. Look, I get that Conor McGregor is, like, one of the two major stars that the UFC has going for it now that GSP’s back, and that their fight would sell approximately 6 billion PPV’s, but why bother putting your two biggest stars against one another just to immediately bury one of them with a loss? McGregor has a lightweight title to defend, a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz ever-looming, a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather apparently all but inked, and the small issue a newborn child on the way to deal with. St-Pierre, on the other hand, hasn’t fought in four years.
All I’m saying is, let’s give the man a warm-up fight against suddenly gunshy #AndersonSilva (that’ll still do blockbuster numbers, because GSP) to let him get his bearings back. Or a rematch with Diaz. Or a “mega fight” with Bisping, I guess. Just as long as we all agree that it’s not Woodley.
Golightly: Sure, McGregor fighting GSP doesn't make any sense in the long run, but since when does the UFC ever book with longevity in mind? Not to mention, this would be their shiny thing to distract McGregor from these silly boxing ideas. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for the Anderson Silva fight to happen, it's probably actually the smartest option and being able to mark that superfight off the bucket list after all these years would be amazing MMA nostalgia closure. At the same time, a McGregor/GSP match-up is something so big it could split reality as we know it into two separate universes: One in which the fight never happened, and one in which it did.
Jones: Could I be an indistinctly Eastern European billionaire playboy with a mini pet giraffe in one of those universes?
Opulence, I HAS IT.
Nawara: All of these names thrown around but none of them mean anything like Anderson Silva. That fight is the only one besides Fedor vs. Lesnar and I guess, Mayweather vs. McGregor, that has enraptured fight fans for years. Get that out of the way, then let’s figure something else out. I’m not interested in GSP vs. Woodley. GSP beat Diaz already, despite Diaz actually winning (he was also drugged) and GSP actually missed weight in that fight and also GSPs melt steel beams. Either way, back to the warm up fight — Anderson isn’t quite Anderson anymore, so let’s do that? Let’s. Do. That.
Golightly: I just want to state for the record, Buff Comeback Georges St-Pierre beats Post-Leg Break UFC 208 Dad Bod Anderson Silva 9/10 times based on nothing but hunches, MMA math educational guessing, and my crystal gazing.
Jones: ^Oh yeah, St-Pierre gon’ whoop that ass.
Golightly: UFC 208 Dad Bod Anderson Silva can't 'andle his riddum.
Nawara: We also have to remember the whole drug testing pool stuff. GSP is always in shape, always in this weird, perpetual camp in which he is thinking about space aliens, but he’ll be 36 years old by the time he returns.
But what about GSP at 155? We aren’t talking about that yet. He told Uncle Dana he can make lightweight.
Nawara: I’m more into this idea of lightweight GSP going after McGregor’s belt than Khabib or Tony just because #chaos. What do you guys think?
Jones: I think that I don’t want to live in a world where I see George St-Pierre stepping onto the scale looking like the Grim Reaper (or middleweight James Irvin). THAT’S what I think.
Golightly: A 155lb GSP sounds just diminished enough for McGregor to avoid the takedown long enough to land a death-sentence left to that perfect Canadian jawline. So, I support this because also #chaos.
Nawara: He says he can do it! I just want to see the fights that have alluded us for years and years. Now it’s time to have fun. Like Late Career Anderson, I’m just here to see fun matchups. Woodley vs. GSP? Ugh. Who cares? GSP has nothing to prove.
Does this “save MMA in 2017?”
Nawara: McGregor’s 10-month vacation is nearing the halfway mark, the Diaz bros are gonna come back sometime, and even if Ronda’s done, I would say this definitely helps things
Jones: Jeez Jason, the year’s barely begun for the sport and it already needs saving? Short answer: No, it doesn’t. Long answer (and EXTREMELY hot take): Georges St-Pierre is basically a less exciting, welterweight #DemetriousJohnson in the Octagon and nothing he accomplishes this year will convince me otherwise.
Golightly: Now, that’s a steel beam melting take! Science dictates that every action has an equal, yet opposite reaction. This is the opposite part of the whiskey-toasting, money party that was last year. UFC fattened the hog with the best and biggest fights imaginable, sold everything, and got the hell out. That’s why the new owners are left with cleaning up the streamers from the party and putting on cards headlined by your little brother’s created fighters from EA Sport’s UFC 2. Anyone who is a fan for longer than 4 years knows MMA (especially UFC) is in flux, this just happens to be a pretty severe flux juxtaposed with a super high. Haha, ‘super high.’ #Diaz125
Nawara: His PPV buy rate and general traffic that I see on our real-time analytics says otherwise. UFC 129 was big as f-ck. Set records. Tremendous gate. Yuge crowd. Say what you will about his fighting style, dude drew, especially in Canada. MMA in 2017 was definitely on a downward trend, but maybe I’m in a bubble.