Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Among the over 20,000 fans expected to fill the Bell Centre on Saturday to bear witness to the main event is middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who came at the invitation of UFC president Dana White. Speaking to the media before the show, Silva made clear that he expects St-Pierre to win and set up what would possibly be the biggest gate attraction and pay-per-view telecast in mixed martial arts history, a matchup of the men widely considered the Nos. 1 and 2 pound-for-pound best in the world.
Beyond that, he opened the door to a possible fight with Jon Jones down the road.
"My first goal is the Georges St-Pierre fight, the super fight," he said. "The second goal? Maybe Jon Jones. But this is not my decision. This is Dana [White's] decision."
Silva's manager Ed Soares confirmed that Silva has two fights left on his current deal, but suggested the two sides would sit down after Saturday night's main event to discuss his contract. Unquestionably, the intimation is that the UFC would have to sweeten the deal for the longest-reigning champion in promotional history to take part in such mega-fights.
Silva did not confirm his availability for the suggested May timetable recently put forth by Dana White, saying that he'd have to consult with his team, but repeatedly insisted that as a UFC employee, he'd be open to whatever company brass decided upon.
Silva, smiling and in good spirits throughout his 15-minute question-and-answer session, displayed his characteristic confidence when asked how the matchup might play out.
"Georges has good jiu-jitsu, good grappling and good standup, but I have more time inside the octagon," he said with a wink.
Meanwhile, he offered just a vague hint of what he might want next if Carlos Condit upsets St-Pierre and foils the plans.
"I'm here for fighting," he said. "I go back to my house in L.A., I go back for training. If Georges [doesn't] win, I don't know. Maybe Chris Weidman. I don't know. All the guys fight to get me."
But pressed further, Silva said he expects St-Pierre to win, and indicated his focus is on that as his next fight. He said he would not enter the cage to personally challenge GSP, but the champ left little question of what's next in his sights. Silva said he would be willing to cut down to 177 or 178 pounds to fight St-Pierre in a catch weight bout, perhaps either in a Canada or Brazil stadium show.
After 19 months away, St-Pierre has enough to focus on with Condit, but the prospect of the biggest money fight in UFC history ensures the stakes are even higher than originally expected.
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