In the world of MMA, everyone knows of the big name champions such as Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, or Randy Couture. However, casual fans rarely look to the next big name that might make a breakout. Canadian fighter, George St-Pierre, are one of these underrated fighters despite the fact that he is the currently reigning UFC welterweight champion.
Born on May 19th, 1981 in Quebec, St-Pierre started training in martial arts since the age of seven when he took up kyokushin karate. He later also took up boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling and currently trains in Muay Thai.
St-Pierre made his UFC debut again Karo Parisyan at UFC 46, winning by unanimous decision. At UFC 48, he defeated Jay Hieron in less than two minutes. His first opportunity at a title as at UFC 50 where he faced Matt Hughs for the vacant welterweight title; it would be St-Pierre’s first loss. With one second left on the clock for the round, St-Pierre tapped out to an arm bar.
He would rebound back from his loss by defeating fighters such as Jason Miller, former welterweight champion BJ Penn, David Strasser, and Frank Trigg. After defeating BJ Penn at UFC 58, St-Pierre was named the number one contender for the welterweight championship and he was slotted to fight Matt Hughs for the title.
At UFC 65, St-Pierre would taste championship gold for the first time when he defeated Matt Hughs with a kick to the head and barrage of strikes. However, St-Pierre would lose the title to Matt Serra at UFC 69. He made the excuse that he was dealing with the death of a close cousin and his father’s illness. He later retracted that statement, proclaiming he would make no excuses and that Serra was the better fighter of the night.
One of St-Pierre’s defining moments was UFC 74 when he defeated Josh Koscheck in a ground match. Koscheck was a Division I NCAA wrestling champion and a onetime NCAA wrestling champion. Many fans and speculators voiced opinions of Koscheck beating St-Pierre on the ground because of his accolades as a wrestler but St-Pierre proved them wrong by continuously blocking Koscheck’s takedown attempts and maintaining a higher center the entire match. St-Pierre also demonstrated his mastery of wrestling in a rematch against Matt Hughs for the interm welterweight championship. He was able to take Hughs down at will during the match, finishing him with an attempted kiruma-turned-armbar in round two.
He had a rematch against Matt Serra at UFC 83 and won by unanimous decision to become the undisputed welterweight champion. He would defend his title against fighters such as John Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, and Josh Koscheck. St-Pierre showed the world that he was capable to adapting to opponents and utilizing new skills in the ring he picks up from studying his losses.
UFC president, Jake Shields, states that St-Pierre will have a match with Anderson Silva at UFC 129 on April, 30th. This would mark St-Pierre’s promotion to the middleweight catergory.