We’re less than two weeks away from the return of one the best fighters to ever grace the octagon.
Georges St-Pierre (GSP) (25-2) was last seen in the cage in 2013 when he won a split decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre sustained a lot of punishment from the heavy-handed Hendricks that night. Battered and badly bruised, GSP stated in a post-fight interview that he needed to step away from the sport “for a little bit.” He officially vacated the belt a month later.
The vacant belt was won by Johny Hendricks, who gave it up to Robbie Lawler, who fell to the current welterweight king, Tyron Woodley. GSP had become a memory. The division and the fans had moved on.
In February, it was revealed that GSP had re-signed with the UFC. In March, we learned his comeback fight would be at middleweight, a new division for the former welterweight great, against the champion, Michael Bisping.
After four years, we’re all gearing up for the return of Georges St-Pierre at UFC 214. To celebrate the occasion, let’s take a walk down memory lane and recap the five biggest wins of his career.
#5 Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz started his second tenure in the UFC in 2011. Diaz had gone 14-1-1 (NC) since his first stint in the UFC, becoming the Strikeforce welterweight champ in the process.
Many felt Diaz had the tools to win. He had good boxing, great jiu-jitsu and he wasn’t going to be intimidated by St-Pierre. Though he’s one of the best in the game off his back, Diaz had no success with GSP in his guard. Landing takedown after takedown, GSP easily transitioned when he wanted and stifled any offense that Diaz offered. St-Pierre won a dominant decision against the Stockton native.
#4 Carlos Condit
“The Natural Born Killer” had been on a streak worthy of his nickname. Condit had knocked out Rory Macdonald, Dan Hardy and Dong Hyun Kim en route to winning the interim belt in a close fight with Nick Diaz. St-Pierre had almost a 19-month layoff due to a knee injury and he was coming back to face a scary man at UFC 154.
The first two rounds went much like most GSP fights do. He worked his jab and landed takedowns at will. Then, in the third round, Condit landed a thunderous head kick. Condit quickly followed St-Pierre down to land punches and elbows. GSP survived the assault, regained his wits, and went right back to implementing his gameplan. GSP had faced adversity for the first time in a long time and showed he still had the heart to fight on. He went on to win a unanimous decision
#3 BJ Penn 1
GSP faced one of his toughest tests to date in BJ Penn at UFC 58. Penn was a former welterweight champion and making his return to UFC after a stint in K-1 Hero’s. This was two of the best in the world going at it and the incredibly close fight showcased that.
Penn bloodied GSP and stuffed many of his takedowns early on. As the fight went on, St-Pierre began landing takedowns and working his ground and pound. Penn used his jiu-jitsu to get back to his feet and had success with his boxing throughout the fight, but GSP did just enough to win a split decision on the judge’s scorecards.
The two would rematch nearly three years later at UFC 94. Penn was the lightweight champion at the time, while St.-Pierre was the welterweight champion. GSP would dominate the fight, causing Penn to not come out of the corner for the 5th round.
#2 Matt Serra 2
In one of the biggest upsets in the history of MMA, Matt Serra TKO’D St-Pierre in the first round of UFC 69. A year later, GSP would get his revenge.
When the pair met again at UFC 83 the fight wasn’t even close. GSP immediately took Serra down and implemented his game. For two rounds St-Pierre worked Serra on the ground. In the second round, he landed a series of knees on the champion, forcing the referee to call an end to the fight. While I’ll never call Serra’s win a fluke (he definitely meant to punch GSP in the face), I will say the rematch definitely went more like we all expected the first bout to go.
#1 Matt Hughes 2
Georges St-Pierre lost his first outing against Matt Hughes at UFC 50. It was his third fight in the UFC and, despite making it competitive until he was caught in an armbar, GSP admitted he was starstruck in the fight.
GSP went on to win five fights before getting his rematch. This time he was much more comfortable in the octagon having faced some tough competition on his way back up. In the second fight, GSP was in control from the get-go. He picked apart Hughes on the feet, took him down, and stuffed Hughes’ own attempt at the takedown. In the second he landed low kicks until he faked low, threw high, and caught Hughes with a nasty head kick. GSP jumped on the dizzied Hughes and landed punches and elbows until the referee stopped the fight.
This was the ultimate changing of the guard moment. St-Pierre ended the reign of a legend and started his own legacy. Georges St-Pierre would go on to defend the title 9 times and cement himself as one of the greatest of all time.