Superfights in combat sports represent a unique point of discussion. On one hand, fans love to talk about who prevails when one matches up a prime version of an all-time great against a current pound-for-pound king or even two top-tier athletes from two different weight classes against each other. Add in the concept of fights going down in “the early days” when fights resembled openweight contests and Vale Tudo bouts, and fans get to fuel their fantasy MMA fires further to where some could have actually seen the bouts transpiring. On the other hand, though, fans also want to see the best fight their division’s best, or in some cases, the remains thereof, because of the risks that come with changing weight classes, such as not only making weight safely, but also carrying on a number of strengths to the new weight class.

This concern for the athlete’s long-term health may explain why, after many years of trying to set the stage for champion-versus-champion fights with current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, UFC President Dana White finally laid the superfight idea to rest.

Some would ask if Silva’s UFC 162 loss to Chris Weidman, by itself, did enough to silence the masses in this regard. Although people took superfight talks with a grain of salt even before Silva’s loss, they also felt a win for the then-champion would finally set up the long-awaited dream fights with Jones and St-Pierre, provided of course that Jones defeated Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 and St-Pierre defeated Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. Fast-forward to today, and people still recall Weidman’s win over Silva, but many also feel that Gustafsson should hold the light heavyweight crown at this time and that the welterweight crown belongs with Hendricks.

With those close fights in mind, it’s difficult to put all credit to Silva’s loss alone for silencing the superfight discussion. In fact, some feel that Silva can make some other, less-discussed superfights happen at middleweight to round out the remaining fights on his deal, should he lose the UFC 168 rematch with his undefeated successor.

Still, if Silva’s loss didn’t mute the talks, then why did the talks really die out so fast?

Honestly, those discussions never really held any consistent and substantial foothold within the sport. MMA fans may rise up in firm support of their sport, but the consensus flip-flopped on Silva vs. St-Pierre, Silva vs. Jones and any other superfights proposed to UFC fans.

Immediately after a successful title defense from either Silva or St-Pierre, fans would want to see the bout happen because they knew both men would eventually run low on actual contenders. However, minutes later, fans reversed course on their desire to see the fight, because they saw a rising contender and simply gave him a chance to change the guard. Of course, it didn’t help that St-Pierre consistently kept his focus away from Silva and even stated once that dropping to lightweight would prove an easier task than a jump to middleweight.

Once Jones scored his UFC 128 win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to capture the UFC light heavyweight title, wins over the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen all fueled talks of Silva vs. Jones, with many feeling Silva’s only chance of getting challenged by a non-Sonnen would come at light heavyweight.

Can the discussion of any superfight resurface in regards to the UFC? Yes, it can, but it would be a different superfight and certain things would need to happen first.

For one, Jones must focus on Glover Teixeira, and then look towards the winner of the Alexander Gustafsson-Jimi Manuwa bout slated to go down in London in March. If he should conquer those two challenges, then he can toy with the idea of vacating the throne and working with his team at Jackson’s MMA to train hard for a lengthy run at heavyweight.

Once he moves to heavyweight, Jones can fight whomever can test him at that time. If Jones prevails through at least two or three foes, he could come calling for a Junior dos Santos or a Fabricio Werdum, both of whom currently rest just underneath UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. It should go without saying that if Jones can cap off his streak with a top contender at heavyweight, Velasquez should follow, provided he still holds the gold.

With St-Pierre firmly focused on closing out his career in the welterweight division, Weidman looking to start his dominance as the new middleweight champion, Jones seeking to return in 2014 and the champions at 155 pounds and under working to keep their streaks going, the UFC’s ultimate hope at a superfight lands in the lap of the big boys. Velasquez will never deny a challenger their right to compete so long as they earn it, and if Jones can do anything, he can earn himself a shot at a crown.

Photo: Chris Weidman (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.