Georges St-Pierre said a super-fight with Anderson Silva will happen on his terms — not Silva’s — and he doesn’t want that fight right now.
In his first public interview since UFC 154, the welterweight champion from Montreal appeared on “Tout le monde en parle,” a panel talk-show on French television station Radio-Canada, over the weekend in which he says he is not afraid of the dominant middleweight title-holder who has been vocal about wanting to fight him next.
But St-Pierre, who is coming off a convincing title defence against Carlos Condit on Nov. 17 at the Bell Centre in his first fight in nearly 19 months, believes that if he beats him, there will be nothing else for him to do in MMA and there are currently still more challenges for him in his current weight class.
“(Silva) wants to fight me to then retire,” St-Pierre said. “I would like a fight against him as well, but if I beat him, what happens after that? Right now it’s not money that drives me to fight. My motivation is to be the best. But if I’m the best, what’s next? It’s over. I have nothing left to prove.
“Yes, I want the fight, but I will take it when I decide to take it, not when he wants to take it.”
St-Pierre also cited the difference in weight between them — he said he walks around at 188 pounds while Silva weighs 234 pounds — and should the two meet in the middle it could only happen after he’s finished fighting at 170 pounds.
“When I fight him I’ll have to put on weight, and then I cannot come back to my weight class,” St-Pierre added. “I’ve fought guys just as big, and I’m not afraid of him, but I’ll take it when it will be good for me. Right now I have other fights in my category and other challenges I want.”
St-Pierre, whose UFC 154 fight was his first following reconstructive knee surgery after tearing his ACL last December, believes there is still a lot of money for him to make in fights at 170 pounds — for example, against de facto No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks, or in a grudge match against Nick Diaz.
However, he reiterated that it’s not about money (he already makes $15 million per year). It’s about his legacy, and he looks to another Canadian sports icon as an example of what he wants to achieve.
“My ambition is to become the Wayne Gretzky of my sport,” St-Pierre said. “But I think I still have a lot to do to attain that level. I want people to remember that I made a mark on my era, I was a Hall of Famer, but not just the one who was the best in the Octagon, but who made a difference in the sport, to help it attain a new level.”
The good news for fans who are eager to see a GSP-Silva matchup is there is a cap on how long they’ll have to wait. The 31-year-old said he’s not one of those fighters who will be fighting well into his forties.
“I’m not interested in fighting until I’m 45,” he said.
He also said that many of Silva’s past opponents have been afraid to fight the man, who holds a UFC-record 11 straight successful title defences, because of the symbol he represents as an unstoppable force. But St-Pierre does not view Silva that way.
“He’s very good, but anyone can be knocked out,” St-Pierre said. “Nobody’s invincible.”
MORE MOTIVATION? St-Pierre’s teammate, Rory MacDonald, said at a fan Q&A the day before UFC 154 that he considers Silva, not St-Pierre, the best fighter in history. He stood by that statement even after St-Pierre’s impressive win over Condit. But that doesn’t mean he thinks Silva would necessarily beat him.
“If Georges and Anderson fought, I would be rooting for Georges and supporting him all the way, and I do believe Georges would have a very good chance at beating him, even at a higher weight,” MacDonald told Sportsnet.ca late last week. “I just think Anderson is the best in history because he hasn’t lost. I think his legacy is higher.”
Cleary St-Pierre has plenty of reason to continue building his legacy before the eventual super-fight with Silva.