UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is a mainstay on most, if not all, pound-for-pound rankings lists. He worked his way onto those lists with a unique blend of athleticism, technique, and adaptation. Although he has shown chinks in his armor in past fights, lately few contenders have been able to offer him much of a challenge.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, St. Pierre had five pro fights to his name when he entered the UFC. He debuted at UFC 46 against Karo Parisyan and earned a unanimous decision victory. From there he would go on to knock out Jay Hieron to earn a fight with Matt Hughes for the vacant UFC welterweight championship of the world. After a competitive opening stanza, “Rush” tapped to an armbar with one second left in the first round.
In a testament to his ability to adapt and bounce back from a loss, St. Pierre worked his way back to a rematch with Matt Hughes by winning five fights in a row. During that streak he dispatched the likes of Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, and current UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn. In their rematch, St. Pierre dominated Hughes thoroughly before dropping Hughes with a head kick and putting a stamp on the victory with some unanswered ground and pound.
St. Pierre’s elation at winning the title would be short-lived. Fresh off of winning “The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback” and thusly earning a shot to challenge St. Pierre for the title, Matt Serra came to prove that he was a man to be taken seriously. An 11-1 underdog, Serra shocked the world when he derailed St. Pierre via first round knockout. St. Pierre would again be forced to prove that he has what it takes to be a champion.
“Rush” did just that; he defeated Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes (in a bit of irony, GSP showed off his Brazlian Jiu jitsu black belt and repeated the same move Hughes defeated him with in their first meeting by landing a slick armbar to finish the fight) in dominant fashion to earn a shot at Matt Serra and his championship belt. This time it was St. Pierre who had something to prove; and prove he did, the 3rd Degree Kyokushin Karate black belt battered Serra for two rounds before the referee pulled him off due to the deliverance of some brutal knees to the body of a crumpled Matt Serra.
From there St. Pierre would defend his belt against Jon Fitch, BJ Penn in a rematch, and most recently, Thiago Alves. Each man is a world class opponent and each man was completely shut down against St. Pierre; only adding to his current aura of invincibility.
Having come very close to clearing out his division of worthy challengers, there is much speculation that St. Pierre will soon be moving up to middleweight to test his mettle against heavier fighters and, possibly, against UFC middleweight champion and all-time great Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Before he makes the big move though, he has at least one more task to handle at welterweight: Dan Hardy. The British upstart is a big talker that possesses heavy hands and grit to back up his trash talk. Although Hardy will walk into the cage a heavy underdog, St. Pierre is not underestimating him.
“Dan Hardy is a very worthy contender and I’m preparing for a war,” said St-Pierre in a press-release for UFC 111. “He is hungry for the title and that makes him very dangerous, but I’m just as hungry to keep the belt and I am going to train and fight like I am the challenger on March 27th.”
GSP will have another chance to prove that he is one of the best in the sport when he defends his welterweight championship against Hardy. The two will meet at “UFC 111: St. Pierre Vs. Hardy” on March 27th at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.