Georges St-Pierre; born May 19, 1981, often referred to as GSP, is a Canadian mixed martial artist and the current Welterweight Champion of the UFC. St-Pierre is ranked as the number #1 Welterweight in the world according to Sherdog. He is also ranked as the #2 “pound for pound” fighter by Yahoo! Sports and #1 P4P by Sherdog.
St-Pierre has been praised by many media outlets for his well-rounded skill and he is currently ranked by multiple MMA publications as the number-one welterweight in the world. In 2008 and in 2009, he was named the Canadian Athlete of the Year by Rogers Sportsnet, as well as the 2008–2010 Most Outstanding Fighter by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Georges St-Pierre also won the Fighter of the Year award from the 2009 World MMA Awards.
At UFC 83 on April 19, 2008, St-Pierre fought Matt Serra to determine the undisputed UFC welterweight champion. It was the UFC’s first event in Canada and was held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Québec. Instead of starting with strikes, St-Pierre pressed the action early with a takedown and then mixed up his attack, which never allowed Serra the chance to mount a significant offense. In the second round, St-Pierre continued his previous actions and forced Serra into the turtle position and delivered several knees to Serra’s midsection. Near the end of round two, the fight was stopped by referee Yves Lavigne with Serra unable to defend himself from St-Pierre’s continuous knee blows or improve his position.
St-Pierre’s first title defense since winning the belt back was against Jon Fitch at UFC 87. Fitch was on a 16-fight winning streak; a victory against St-Pierre would have been Fitch’s ninth consecutive UFC win, a new UFC record. St-Pierre defeated Jon Fitch by unanimous decision with scores of 50–43, 50–44, and 50–44, to retain his UFC welterweight title. He dominated Fitch, scoring multiple devastating strikes and taking the former Purdue wrestling captain down seemingly at will.
The win over Fitch set up one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history, as BJ Penn stepped into the octagon after the fight to essentially challenge St-Pierre to a rematch of their bout at UFC 58 in 2006, which ended in a split-decision victory for St-Pierre. The rematch occurred on January 31, 2009, at UFC 94. The first round of the fight was somewhat even, with Penn exercising elusive head movement, fast hands and good take-down defense, thwarting all of St-Pierre’s take-down attempts while both exchanged punches. In the ensuing three rounds, however, Penn turned out a lackluster performance. St-Pierre scored his first take-down of the night midway through the second round and by the end of the round Penn was visibly tired. At the start of round three, St-Pierre landed a superman punch that bloodied Penn’s nose and shortly took Penn down again. From that point on, St-Pierre took Penn down almost at will, repeatedly passed Penn’s renowned guard and persistently punished the Hawaiian with a ground-and-pound attack.
Penn later admitted that he could not recall anything that happened during the 3rd and 4th rounds because “I was probably borderline knocked out or something.” At the end of the fourth round, after more of St-Pierre’s ground-and-pound onslaught, Penn’s corner man Jason Parillo requested that the referee stop the fight. Penn failed to attend the post-fight press conference due to having stayed in the hospital. During the fight, Penn complained that St-Pierre was too slippery to hold, which led to suspicion about petroleum jelly being illegally applied to St-Pierre’s back. The matter was formally investigated by the UFC and Nevada State Athletic Commission upon the request of the Penn camp. Upon investigation, all claims were dismissed as false and warranted no disciplinary action or further investigation.
Prior to UFC 100, Beau Dure of USA Today stated that St-Pierre was possibly “the best in the world.” At the event, St-Pierre defeated number-one contender Thiago Alves. Alves showed promise on his feet standing up in the fight, but St-Pierre’s wrestling offensive, endurance and ground control proved too much for the challenger and put St-Pierre en route to a unanimous decision victory, despite suffering a pulled groin muscle in the third round. While St-Pierre said in his post fight interview that the injury was sustained in the third round, he later said on his blog that the injury in fact occurred in the fourth round. On July 18, 2009, it was revealed that St-Pierre’s groin injury would not require surgery.
A scheduled bout between Mike Swick and Martin Kampmann would have determined the number-one contender for the UFC Welterweight Championship. In early September, Swick pulled out of the fight due to an injury, effectively cancelling the title elimination aspect of the fight. After Martin Kampmann lost to Paul Daley at UFC 103, a fight between Swick and Dan Hardy was announced for UFC 105, with the winner, Dan Hardy, earning number-one contendership for St-Pierre’s title.
St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight title against Dan Hardy on March 27, 2010 at UFC 111 which took place in Newark, NJ. St-Pierre dominated the fight with his wrestling. He caught Hardy in the first round with an armbar, but Hardy refused to tap and eventually fought out of the hold. In the fourth round St-Pierre caught Hardy in a kimura while in the reverse-mount position, but Hardy once again refused to tap and St-Pierre released the hold before causing any serious damage. St-Pierre went on to win the fight by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44 and 50-45). After the fight, he stated that he was glad to win but was not impressed by his performance, stating that he wanted to finish the fight. He also gave credit to Hardy for his toughness.
St-Pierre’s next fight was a rematch against Josh Koscheck at UFC 124, where he won by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45). St-Pierre once again dominated the fight, this time relying on superior striking, utilizing accurate boxing. He landed a total of 55 jabs to Koschecks head. Joe Rogan stated it was “the most jabs I’ve ever seen in an MMA fight.” During the first round, Koschecks right eye became very swollen from one of St-Pierre’s jabs. By the end of the fight, his right eye was completely swollen shut and suffered a broken orbital bone. St-Pierre stated at the post-fight conference that he wanted to catch Koscheck off-guard by striking with him instead of wrestling.
UFC president Dana White stated that Jake Shields will be St-Pierre’s next opponent and confirmed that the two will meet in the main event of UFC 129 on April 30, 2011, in Toronto. White has said that if St-Pierre defeats Shields, it could mark a move to middleweight and a superfight against Anderson Silva.