“That’s the thing, nobody wants to do it. GSP would never move up to 185 to fight Anderson Silva. He wouldn’t do it. That’s what makes Saturday so fun. You know how many times we wanted to do the GSP-Anderson Silva fight? GSP would not do it. Would not do it. Guys don’t do that stuff. That’s what makes Conor McGregor so unique, so fascinating and so fun. For GSP he was moving up one weight class. Conor McGregor jumped up two weight classes. Conor McGregor is so much fun in the fight business. Guys don’t do that. Guys who are making the money that Conor McGregor makes, has the money in the bank, and all the things that are going on with him, he has a world title, he just decides to jump up two weight classes and fight somebody else.” -Dana White
Conor McGregor moved up two weight classes to take on Nate Diaz last week, a move that is a rarity in the UFC. Starting in January 2009, the UFC started trying to put together Anderson Silva vs GSP. At first at 185lbs for Silva’s belt and eventually Silva offered a catch weight in the middle. All were met with refusal all the way til GSP’s retirement 5 years later.
GSP had once said “I believe size does not matter, only skill” and also said he would be willing to even fight Brock Lesnar. Perhaps the larger heavyweight in UFC history. But when it came to Silva, his excuse was size.
In reality Silva started his career at 167lbs, won a title there and was ranked one in the world at 170 before even Matt Hughes was. Silva fought at 175lbs just months before he won the UFC 185lbs title. Silva’s last bout at 205, we weighed 202lbs with no cut. Silva is known to get to 220 plus pounds in the off season when out of shape but when he’s in shape, his weight wasn’t that much higher that GSP’s which was usually between 190 and 195.
GSP would never do it, many other champs wouldn’t but McGregor did. But to be fair McGregor is nowhere near the only man willing to fight outside his class. Silva and BJ Penn are prime examples