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Reader Questions #1: GSP/Silva, Walker’s Rise & McGregor/Diaz Delays

We’re looking to give you, the reader, more input into what we’re doing here at Pundit Arena MMA, with that in mind, we’ve opened the floor to your fantasy matchups, general questions, and completely bonkers suggestions.

The best question of every given edition to this series will have their question answered in its own separate article but for now, here are the five runners-up.

If you want us to answer your question next time around, leave it in the comment section of this article on Facebook or tweet using the hashtag #AskPAMMA on Twitter.

#1. Fantasy matchup – Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva

There are two answers worth giving to this question.

I believe that if this fight were to happen in 2019, I would imagine that Georges St-Pierre would be able to get it done in a relatively easy fashion. We saw Silva have his moments at UFC 234 against Israel Adesanya but I don’t believe he has the readiness to engage necessary to threaten GSP.

St-Pierre would be able to calmly wait and figure out his timing before shooting in for the takedown – breaking his opponent down gradually to either a late stoppage or comfortable win on the scorecards.

If this fight happened when both guys were in their prime, though, it would no doubt be a tougher call.

The spark that Silva had in his heyday allowed him to be more reckless in there, more creative. There were no fears in his mind about taking shots or succumbing to a double leg because in that space in time, he knew he had the dynamism necessary to pull off the win.

To be honest, though, Georges St-Pierre at his peak was another animal.

If Chael Sonnen was able to work a dominant wrestling gameplan on Silva, I would imagine that GSP’s heavy top game would allow him to do the same.

Anderson would still stand a very good chance of catching him, make no mistake, but St-Pierre was far too clever in there to take a fight-ending shot and with displays of wrestling dominance against some of the best grapplers to ever do it on his resumé, I believe he would be able to grind out Silva and win the fight in the moments where it counts.

#2. The best fighter to never win a belt under the Zuffa banner?

ZUFFA was the parent entity of the UFC between 2001 and 2016 before they sold the company to WME-IMG.

I’m going to take this question as one asking for my pick on the best UFC fighter to have been fighting between the years 2001 and 2016 to have never once won a UFC title before, during, or after the ZUFFA era – interim or otherwise.

There are a lot of guys who fit these criteria.

Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Nick Diaz, and other could all well have been given the shout but since it’s a matter of preference, I’m going to go with Dan Henderson.

The former two-weight PRIDE champion managed to stick around in the sport longer than perhaps anyone could have expected but during the ZUFFA era, he owned some of the most vicious KO’s and was part of some of the most incredible fights we have ever seen.

His two title-bout apperances in the UFC during the ZUFFA era saw him lose to both Anderson Silva and Rampage Jackson but Hendo’s status as an icon and willingness to fight anyone makes him, in my opinion, the best of his era.

If you want us to answer your question next time around, leave it in the comment section for this article on Facebook or tweet using the hashtag #AskPAMMA on Twitter.

#3. Do you think Amanda Nunes should have gone straight after Valentina Shevchenko post-UFC 232 in an attempt to become a three-weight world champion?

I think if Amanda allowed herself to pack on some extra muscle for her trip up to the featherweight division – which it seems like she did – cutting down to 135lbs would no doubt be that bit more strenuous on her body.

Taking it all the way to 125lbs – directly after winning at 145lbs may well have been impossible.

I’m not saying she can’t do it in the future, but like we saw with TJ Dillashaw and his pursuit of Henry Cejudo’s flyweight title in Brooklyn, such things require a completely obsessive level of preparation and even then, the results might not work out as expected.

Shevchenko has lost to Nunes twice, yes, but she came very, very close to beating her last time around and now, a physically-compromised bantamweight champion coming down to capture her third title might see the ever-improving Valentina finally bridge the gap.

If Nunes decided to drop down and fight for the belt at 125lbs this year, I would side very firmly with Shevchenko.

#4. Why isn’t Dana White making the biggest fight out there right now,
McGregor vs. Diaz III for a new championship title at 162.5lbs?

First of all, I doubt the division would be 162.5lbs.

Sure, it makes sense as a half-way point between 155 and 170 but we’re likely looking at a 165lb division if it does ever happen.

I don’t believe we’ll see it this year.

As for McGregor and Diaz. We’d all love to see these guys back in there soon, no matter who it is that they face but despite them both being amongst the most game fighters in the sport, each has matured into stubborn negotiators – especially in the case of Nate Diaz.

If Dana and co. were to offer Nate enough money he would fight tomorrow, make no mistake. But there’s a strange relationship at play between him and UFC and it’s hard to know exactly who is telling then truth and when.

According to his social media activity and word from his teammate Gilbert Melendez, Nate has been in the gym frequently during his time off – which is more than we can say for Nick.

As for Conor, he hasn’t exactly hidden the fact that he wants to run that fight with Diaz back for a third time but again, factors outside of the octagon are leading to him holding his tongue for now.

Let’s remember that only fought five months ago.

Relax, he’ll be back before too long.

Right now, he has some issues outside of the cage to deal with but if i had to guess, I’d imagine he’ll be back either for International Fight Week in July or, more likely, in Autumn/Winter.

Everyone wants this fight to happen – and it will eventually. But with three separate parties as stubborn as these are attempting to work towards a common goal while making bank, do not be surprised if we have to wait a while for it to go down.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 12: UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor trains during an open workout at his gym on August 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor is scheduled to fight Nate Diaz in a welterweight rematch at UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 on August 20, 2016 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

#5. How do you think the dynamics of the light-heavyweight division would change if Johnny Walker stormed the division, beating everyone, including Jon Jones and became champion? Do you think it would create more competition in the title-chase?

Divisions need some chaos in order to thrive. When long-time champions are finally removed from the throne, we see a new hunger from the divisional contenders to make their ascent.

We saw it when Silva fell to Weidman, when Aldo lost to McGregor, and most recently, with the defeat of Tyron Woodley – a man who was quickly becoming seen as an immovable force at the peak of the 170lb division.

If Johnny Walker can continue to do what he has done so far and then do it to the champion Jon Jones, it would no doubt make for an incredible spectacle.

We learn a lot about a fighter once they taste defeat for the first time and in the case of Jones, where motivation has been an issue in the past, we could well see another level of intensity.

Not only that, but Walker’s defeat of Jon would serve as a massive confidence boost for all of those in the rankings below – spurring them on in the gym in preparation, creating a better fighter once the octagon doors close.

Seeing a champion of that level lose almost humanizes them to a certain extent and while I don’t see Johnny Walker troubling the top-5 of the division in 2019, there is quite a bit of fun to be had with this train of thought.

205lbs certainly needs it!

This week’s winner:

What is the super-fight of all super-fights in MMA today?

Thank you Niall Donnelly for the question! I feel it definitely deserves its own article in response so keep an eye on Pundit Arena MMA this week for my response.

If you want us to answer your question next time around, leave it in the comment section for this article on Facebook or tweet using the hashtag #AskPAMMA on Twitter.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at [email protected]