“Rush” To the Top
Defeat is hard. Defeat does not hit when the opponent’s hand is raised as Bruce Buffer announces the winner. It is the first five minutes after sitting down in the locker room, trainers slowly removing your gloves and wraps, the beads of sweat trickling down the sides of the fighter’s face, and as the first drop of sweat falls from the tip of his nose, the heavy weight of defeat dawns on his shoulders collapsing on him even harder in the chair. This is amplified even more when losing a championship. It is hard to come back from such a rut and make a strong showing. However, such paths filter those who have weak hearts with such defeats. For Quebec sensation Georges “Rush” St. Pierre, the defeat was hard, but his heart didn’t quit and it gave him the necessary experience to come back stronger. Now, the new UFC Welterweight Champion looks unbeatable.
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre Fighting Style Analysis – Strengths
Georges St. Pierre has so many weapons in his arsenal that it overshadows the whole of the Canadian military. Regardless of where the fight takes him, Georges St. Pierre is simply a weapon and very seldom is he caught off-guard or exploited in a fight. His strategy is incredible, as his conditioning all fueled by a passion and a desire to never quit no matter where the fight may take him. St. Pierre’s last fight against Matt Hughes for the Welterweight championship fully demonstrated how a full circle fighter can exploit the weaknesses of a fighter who had retained his belt merely by an incredible wrestling and ground game. Despite being bested by Matt Hughes in a previous outing, St. Pierre hit the drawing board and worked on his takedown defense while upping his striking game to the next level. With this combination, there is hardly a person in the Welterweight division that has the potential of taking the incredibly athletic Canadian to the ground. St. Pierre’s striking is something that is revered by many fight critics with an incredible ability to use punching combinations with his front left kick, doing incredible damage as well. In the fight game, such technique is unheard of; using a front left kick much like a power jab or a quick straight right. The very same kick was able to dismantle Matt Hughes and caused him to start counting stars before St. Pierre quickly took him out. A majority of the strikers utilize their back leg for power to KO opponents although it telegraphs quite easily. However, in St. Pierre’s case, the utilization of his front left roundhouse kick shows the incredible flexibility to blindside his opponents with an unsuspecting kick despite giving up slightly on power. Yet, the power that is packed in such a kick by “Rush” shows how strong he is.
Furthermore, St. Pierre has been able to survive the very best of the ground game and has worked on it every since he got caught by the very simple armbar by Matt Hughes in their first clash. His improved ground game has been able to neutralize many Brazilian Jiu-jitsu specialists like BJ Penn, “Mayhem” Miller, and the very Judo-savvy Karo Parisyan. Such a ground game, combined with an excellent wrestling offense and defense, fantastic athleticism, and tremendous strength for his weight are all factors in him accumulating a 13-1 record and the UFC Welterweight title.
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre Fighting Style Analysis – Weaknesses
If any one thing can be pinpointed about St. Pierre’s weaknesses (which are very few), it is undoubtedly that he is prone to frequent injury. Such damage accrued through basic training will take a toll on a fighter’s body and, as a result, will place a shortened time frame on not only one’s career, but also his ability to perform one hundred percent at all times. Therefore, the longevity of St. Pierre’s reign is in question especially when compared to Matt Hughes’ title run. A small tweak in Georges’ training habits to have him less susceptible to injuries will allow him to perform at full capacity at all times. However, if something is not done, the St. Pierre that took the title from Matt Hughes could already be gone.
Vs. Matt Serra for UFC Welterweight Championship on April 7th
Matt Serra is a very good fighter. His ground game and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is top form against any fighter facing him, should they come up with a good ground defense game. However, Serra is too small for Welterweight and should seriously reconsider going back to his original fighting weight at 155. Much like the clash St. Pierre had with Sean Sherk, the battle will be quite lopsided with the bigger St. Pierre being too much for the Renzo Gracie trained fighter. The reach disadvantage will be a huge factor for Matt Serra to get around and unless he’s training with incredible low single takedowns, there isn’t much hope for the native New Yorker. St. Pierre has, by now, seen all that Serra could potentially throw at him, and even if St. Pierre makes mistakes on his own, Serra will have no way to exploit any specific weaknesses that St. Pierre might possess. “Rush” will take this win by sheer athleticism.
Future clash with Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez is a very formidable opponent and is one fans, both old and new, are salivating for. Both fighters are very similar in style, aggressiveness, and dedication to the sport. Sanchez might take it to the next level, but the way St. Pierre came out in his last fight, the intensity was identical to that of Sanchez, which could prove to be an absolute war. Regardless of how this fight might turn out, the fans will win in this one for it will be a beautiful fight, seeing two fighters trying to out-technique each other instead of your typical “bum-fight” that leaks into the octagon. Diego Sanchez’s wrestling and ground technique is a formidable weapon and might be on the same level as St. Pierre. They do not possess the genius that is BJ Penn, but both fighters are exquisitely good and have a unique ability to sequence their combinations off of and into takedown shots. Such sequencing is top-tier fight strategy. It is very hard to call this one, and I will reconsider revising it until after April 7th when St. Pierre fights Serra and Sanchez fights Koscheck.
The Welterweight Bermuda Triangle
With news that BJ Penn will be a coach on TUF 5, many are wondering what weight Penn will be fighting under in the future. Will he stick with being a Welterweight? Or is he going to drop to Pulver’s (the other coach) weight to saturate the Lightweight division even further. If Penn does drop weight, my “triangle” theory may not exactly hold up, but if Penn does consider staying, then such a moniker is quite appropriate. The triangle consists of the champions St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, and BJ Penn. When any fighter faces these big three, they get pummeled right to the bottom of the food chain. With the exception of Sanchez, it is hard to see any other up-and-coming fighters being able to trounce any of these three in decisive fashion. As the year will progress, the rubber match between St. Pierre and Hughes will undoubtedly occur as well as Penn making another run for the title if he does not decide to drop back into his original weight class of 155.
There is no fighter in the welterweight division remotely able to easily beat St. Pierre. He is undoubtedly one of the best all-around fighters in the entire UFC organization and is exciting to watch every time he enters the cage. St. Pierre is a young 26 and is improving everyday in his skill. However, the Bermuda Triangle he is a part of can easily turn on him if he doesn’t keep his skill up. 2007 will be a great year for Welterweights.
– Bardia Mehrabian, BuddyTV Staff Columnist