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At 12:27 AM EST, the evolution was complete.
One year removed from his original upset loss to Matt Serra, Georges St. Pierre was finally able to avenge the defeat, dominating Serra on the mat over two rounds en route to regaining his UFC welterweight title in UFC 83’s historic main event Saturday night.
History has shown that if there’s any fighter out there that has the ability to bounce back from a loss and become better than ever, St. Pierre is one of them.
After spoiling an early welterweight title opportunity against idol Matt Hughes, St. Pierre rebounded by going on one of the most impressive winning streaks to date in terms of opponent-quality. Consecutive wins over Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, and then Hughes again were no fluke.
St. Pierre said that the loss to Serra was the best thing that ever happened to him. Then again, he also said that about his loss to Hughes years back. However the Montreal native has been right so far as both losses ultimately propelled his career and skill-level to new heights.
More important is the fact that St. Pierre’s climbing knowledge of the fight game was likely the real reason as to why he turned in such a dominating performance against Serra.
“My plan going into the fight was to put him on his back and work some ground and pound,” St. Pierre said at the post-fight press conference for UFC 83. “I wanted to stay on top and constantly pressure him. I wanted to be relentless. I thought that Serra giving up his back might have been an attempt to turn the fight into a jiu-jitsu match. Matt’s a world-champion grappler, I wasn’t going to buy into his game.”
Those hoping for St. Pierre to silence all remaining critics and prove that his prior knockout to Serra was nothing but a fluke by standing up with the Long Island native may have been a little disappointed in the amount of exchanges between the two. However St. Pierre had reasoning behind his assault of Serra on the ground. Good reasoning.
“I learned after I lost to Matt that I left myself open and got caught,” St. Pierre said. “When you fight a smaller opponent you have to punch down against them and it makes it a lot harder to be able to block punches and get away from shots while throwing, especially when you’re in the pocket. This time around I wanted to stay to the outside or in the clinch while standing and it worked out perfect. I had a good night.”
It’s St. Pierre’s drive to improve his game and fix past mistakes that has brought his career full circle and has positioned him at the top of the mixed martial arts world. Example: In just three short years, St. Pierre has become the best wrestler in the sport, even out-doing four-time All-American Josh Koscheck last August.
If St. Pierre’s continually-evolving game tells us anything, it’s that his turnaround is complete and a long stay at the top is in order for the Montreal native.
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