Q: Among the possible opponents for GSP, which opponent fits these three criteria:
(a) The Biggest Money Fight
(b) The Most Relevant Fight for GSP and championships in UFC
(c) The Most Intriguing among newer top fighters who haven’t faced GSP before
ADAM TINDAL, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Well, the biggest money fight is simply Conor McGregor. If we are talking from purely a monetary standpoint, then without a doubt it would be McGregor. A former top draw in GSP coming out of retirement to face the current top draw in McGregor is a definite sell. However, the most relevant and most intriguing fight for GSP would be to face the winner of Tyron Woodley and Steven “Wonderboy” Thompson. Preferably Woodley, though. Because of the close relationship GSP already has with Thompson, I doubt that fight would be anything more than a friendly sparring match.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
The biggest money fight for every man on the UFC roster is obviously Conor McGregor. The UFC has decided to no longer recognize him as such, but most see him as a two-weight world champion and Georges St. Pierre vs. Conor McGregor for the UFC Lightweight Championship would shatter all UFC records. The fight itself would be interesting given that it would be St. Pierre’s first at 155 lbs., his first after a layoff that included multiple surgeries, and one against the most precise striker of his career. It would also be an opportunity for GSP to win a world title in a second weight class, which would further cement his status as one of the greatest fighters of all time. He’s said on many occasions that he could make 155 lbs., so this is the only fight in his weight range that satisfies all the wickets.
MIKE HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The biggest money fight for GSP is possibly the biggest money fight in UFC history and that, of course, would be against Conor McGregor. GSP fights always do best when he has an opponent that can counteract his squeaky clean, nice guy image, i.e. Nick Diaz, Matt Serra. No one fits that role better than McGregor right now. The fight could easily fill a stadium anywhere in Canada, and probably anywhere in North America or Europe for that matter. I think it could easily do 1.5 million buys and would likely set a new pay-per-view record for UFC if given proper promotion.
The most relevant fight from a championship perspective for GSP may be to fight someone like Demian Maia. Yes, GSP could go straight to a title match if he wanted to and he would get no argument from me, but there has been significant turnover at welterweight since GSP left, so a fight against Maia would be a good indicator of where GSP fits in the division in 2017. A win would mean he’s surely ready for title contention, but a loss would mean that he’s at least a level below the top welterweights. Maia is from the same era as GSP and would not pose a significant risk of knocking him out, so it’s a good first fight back for GSP.
The most intriguing fight against a new-era fighter would be GSP vs. Stephen Thomson. Thomson is a brilliant striker but has shown some vulnerability to good wrestling, GSP’s major strength. It would be a great style matchup and would have the feeling of the best of two eras colliding, especially if Thomson wins the championship next month.
CHRISTOPHER KING, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The biggest money-making fight to me is straight in against McGregor. Sounds obvious, and it is. McGregor against a scarecrow would sell millions. He is creating a headache for the UFC brass and they need to keep him interested and occupied. The Mayweather fight can wait, and why would you not want to test yourself against arguably the G.O.A.T. This PPV would sell a ridiculous amount. Maybe less than the Mayweather fight due to the crossover of the sports, but still it would be far and away the biggest fight the UFC could put on this year.
The most relevant fight for GSP is to go straight in against the winner of the Wonderboy vs.Woodley rematch. He never lost the title, his win streak was amazing, that is his division, and he should come back to stake a claim about what, I imagine, he assumes to be rightfully his.
Who is the most intriguing? Personally I would like to see him against Kelvin Gastelum, who I think is a similar fighter with slightly heavier hands. I am more and more impressed with him. However, that fight is so far away from potentially being made, that I think the Wonderboy match up is excellent. He has such a different style to almost everyone else on the roster that he is a real puzzle to solve, and he definetly looks to be the blue print of the next generation of fighters. Bisping is an interesting fight and is certainly a winnable one for him. However, I do think that Bisping may just be too big for him in the end.
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