UFC 158 is now in the books, but some of the howling over Georges St-Pierre’s victory over Nick Diaz has not subsided.
Even though GSP controlled the match, he did not deliver the beatdown he promised before the fight. When it counted, he reverted to his tried-and-true gameplan of taking Diaz to the ground.
This has ruffled the feathers of some fight fans, who are disappointed with the champ’s predictable ways.
They want the GSP that stopped B.J Penn years ago. Even the St-Pierre that transformed Josh Koscheck into Popeye the Sailor Man will do.
In case you missed it, here’s a quick UFC 158 recap
It is true that Georges hasn’t finished a fight since B.J. Penn in the superfight rematch of 2009. B.J threw in the towel that night. So, Matt Serra would be the last true finish, which makes it about five years.
St-Pierre has explained this many times and most fight fans understand. In his last six fights there were two fights he probably should have finished: Dan Hardy and Koscheck. Credit these two for not quitting as well. Borderline are Carlos Condit and Diaz.
But, back to UFC 158. MMA Crossfire readers keeping score know we discussed this in depth Sunday evening on MMA Crossfire Radio, so here’s the jist.
The champ sent more half of the bout on the feet against the best boxer in the UFC. And he held his own. Look at the superman punch and hooks that repeatedly got through to Diaz. The champ outstruck the challenger 105-41. Now, if GSP had stood the whole bout, the tide could have eventually turned to Diaz’s favour. Nick typically takes a few rounds to warm up. But he squandered the stand-up opportunities in the bout.
This was an exciting technical battle. Several questions were answered, the biggest one being if Diaz enforce his standup gameplan on GSP.
As far as UFC 154 is concerned, it would be foolish to try and match Carlos Condit on the feet when everybody knows his weakness is wrestling, and after a surgically repaired ACL. Look at what Johny Hendricks did. He took it to the ground when he needed to, just like GSP.
Jake Shields was an anomaly. Remember St-Pierre had the service of only one eye after a few rounds at UFC 129. And did we really expect GSP to roll with the best UFC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt at the time?
Out of his last six fights, I score Koscheck, Diaz and Condit as the unquestionably exciting ones. It’s not like the other ones were terrible either.
Safe, maybe. But boring? Not yet.
The pay-per-view numbers bear this out. GSP remains a top draw. The pay-per-view numbers aren’t out yet but with a gate of $3.7 million and 20,145 at the Bell Centre it’s safe to assume the event did well when the pay-per-view buys are counted.
What is needed is a fighter who isn’t afraid to match GSP’s wrestling and standup. Force him to change up the winning gameplan and take him into deep waters.
That fighter could be Johny Hendricks.
He impressively dismantled Carlos Condit on the same night using a GSP-certified gameplan.
His wrestling pedigree could give St-Pierre problems. Only his cardio and the status of his left hand are the only question marks.
Hendricks should be able to truly bring out the best in the champion.
And that’s an exciting prospect for fight fans.