How Would You Improve GSP’s Finish Rate?


As many, I’ve been a big fan of Georges St. Pierre’s for years. The first time Rush came to my attention was in his 2004 UFC debut at UFC 46, when he defeated Karo Parisyan via unanimous decision.

Inclusive of his first outing, the current welterweight champion has gone 19 & 2 in the division, is on an 11 fight winning streak and has been champion since 2008 (2007 if you count the interim belt). The only other man in the sport that could claim better numbers and a more impressive record (right now) would be the middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.

Of his 19 wins in the promotion 8 of them have been by way of stoppage (5 TKOs’ & 3 submissions). The rest have been by decision. Most importantly the champs last 6 fights have all been decision victories. The last time Rush stopped an opponent was in 2009 (UFC 94), when an exhausted and battered BJ Penn’s corner conceded the fight at the end of round 4 of the bout.

Short of that match and a tacit acknowledgment that the Koscheck fight “should” have been stopped by the ring doctor due to Josh’s broken orbital bone, the champ has continued to turn in a workman-like performances in up-holding his belt, yet in doing so, he has failed to “impress” both his fans and his detractors.

Many have put GSP’s lack of finish down to timidity post his loss to Matt Serra in 2007 (UFC 69). Those that cite the fight will claim that the champ had his jaw tested that night and didn’t like the results. Subsequently, he’s been “gun shy” ever since.

As an ardent fan I know this to be factually incorrect, because “The Terror’s” punch clipped Rush behind the ear and not on the jaw. It was his equilibrium which gave, not his chin.

Regardless, the reality of it is and for whatever reason, GSP hasn’t finished a fight in 4 years.

So the question becomes, why?

For me, I have to put it down to the coaching and particularly his ground coaching. One would think, that for an athlete who spends as much time on the ground as he does, Rush would have become better at it and more decisive. However, he has not.

In terms of his stand-up, although solid, is not stellar and he’s never exhibited power. He has zero Kos’.

So, as the champ himself has spoken of this issue and his frustration with it, what do you see as the solution to the problem?

If it were up to me and I could pick anyone to train him for his upcoming bout with power slugger and #1 contender Johnny Hendricks, then I’d bring in a new striking coach in the person of Chuck Liddell and a new ground coach as well and either Robert Drysdale, Eddie Bravo or Roger Gracie.

What would you do to bring back GSP’s finish?


  • So now you know more than a professional fighter that's considered one of the all time greats? C'mon. GSP is a grinder, that's his style. He dominates with it and does not need to change a thing.

    • in his every fight he has zero percent of finishing his fight, his only goal is to take his opponent down and win via decision, hopefully he will replaced as a champion by johny hendrix, no im sure he will be changed the way johny is fighting.

    • @Watermelon fresh,

      You're right – I have no idea who disagreed with you – then again, anyone who disagreed with you has no idea.

      Lets start by taking a look at the opposition he has overcome,
      1. Diaz, 2. Condit, 3. Shields, 4 Koscheck, 5. Hardy, 6. Alvez, 7. Fitch, 8. Serra, 9. Hughes…

      Each one of these fighters have posed different strategic and tactical questions which have had to be answered inside the Octogon…

      As the reigning Champion, GSP is defending his position and his title, therefore he is not challenging for it… Each of these and other challengers have all failed to impose their game regardless of the size of the incentive.

      As Mr Watermelon says, if he is dominating why should he change, his style is grinding and it works… What I will say is that if, and it's not such a big if, Johnny Hendricks beats GSP, you will see a completely different fighter in GSP.

      Until then, he's playing it safe… and as the World Champion, whether you like it or not, that's his perogative.

      • Because he could be truly dominate and not only hold on for boring victories, but make a legit statement that would have kept him in the debate for P4P greatest of all time. He loses ground with ever boring victory. Anderson Silva's finished every opponent he's tried to finish. Jon Jones has finished everyone except Rashad. Aldo's been short on finishes recently but IMO he needs to move up soon and work on his cardio, I haven't seen him look full speed to finish a 3rd round in a while, with his record of finishes and the fact that he just beat the ex-champ from the class above I think him n GSP are very close to 3rd on my list.

      • All of that is true, Odesa.

        Big Rig beating GSP is a very real possibility. That said, his only threat to Rush is getting hit with one of those power left or rights. Other then that, Hendricks has nothing to offer the champ. He's zero threat on the ground and I don't think he's much of a threat up against the cage.

        Tough match for Rush though, no matter what though.

      • he should have finished Dan Hardy who was never worthy of that shot in the first place other than from a business stand point for the UFC…

    • R u for real? Doesn't need to change a thing. GSP is so boring to watch lately and despite the fact that he does dominate with that style who watches MMA to see that? I know I don't. I understand wrestling is important and I don't mind when a fighter uses it but do something with it. Either submit him or try to finish but don't just control top position for 25 mins. Talk about a effin snooze fest. I don't want to see some one so concerned with winning that all they wanna do is control top position cause they r scared to stand or god forbid do something entertaining. How he gets the PPV draws I'll never understand.

  • Watermelon,

    Respectfully and as I noted, even the champ himself has remarked about how he wants to finish a fight. Even he is frustrated.

    I also wrote the piece as a fan. A huge fan. I buy every PPV he's on. He's been my favorite fighter for years. When he lost to Serra i was in a funk for 3 days. I couldn't believe it. It was the same thing with the Hughes loss.

    That aside, I hear his detractors as does the champ. The last thing that GSP wants to turn his (already cemented) legacy into, is that he was a winning version of Jon Fitch.

    He has a big fight coming up and against a fighter who is very hungry, packs a lot of power and is heavily schooled in GSP's bread-and-butter, which is wrestling.

    I would like to see Rush show a different face in this fight. The purpose of the article was to ask the reader a question, which was…what would you do to improve GSP's finish?

    I would have been remiss had I asked the question and in turn, not answered it. So, I did.

    My answer first and foremost for this fight would be a new striking coach. I suggested Liddell for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, because he comes from a Karate background, has KO power in spades and was one of the best counter-punchers in the business. Nobody KO'd more people backing up then Chuck. I think he'd be a great stand-up coach for GSP and that's without mentioning his amazing wrestling skills. Chuck was a master of staying up and getting back up, once down.

    As to the other three on the list, there names speak for themselves as to their accomplishments and credibility.

    As a fan, all I suggest is changing it up.

    • I think we need to give GSP a little more credit.

      Look, Alves was a wrecking ball going into his fight with GSP, Condit has more ko's then hendircks has fights, Dan Hardy Ko'd his way into contention, kos was another All American ko slugger going into his fight with GSP too.

      GSP has been there and done that. I see GSP out wrestling Hendricks off the bat and breaking Hendricks will. We've seen it in every GSP fight with these super star wrestlers. You always see either a stuff or a take down and you see the look on their faces. You see them thinking, "WTF, no body does this to me. Who is this guy?"

      Also keep in mind, GSP is the champ. He's fighting these guys on their best day. In a stacked division, finishing guys who are rarely finished is hard enough. But to finish them on their best day is another story.

      GSP just needs to aim for the jaw. Why was he hitting Kos's orbital bone? The target is the chin. Just hit the button and drop him. GSP doesn't need chuck, GSP needs to work on finding his target.

      • All of that is true NC. If ain't broke don't fix it and if he can find the chin with his current team, great.

        I just think Chuck could "help" in the search. 🙂

        • Dropkick beat me too it.

          Larry bird is another example. Decent coach, great leader. But no where near good enough to coach in the NBA for a winning record. However, Chuck is a good assistant coach. Look at Texeria. Chuck isn't his head coach but part of Tex's training team.

          Keep in mind, Freddie Roach is his boxing coach. So its hard to upgrade. He just needs a better stand up game plan.

        • Brian,

          Could you be more specific on how and where Chuck might help him.


    • GSP already trains with Roger Gracie and also John Danaher. That is the best in the world.
      There are people that can fight..and there are people who can train. Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player there has ever been, but with all due respect..he can't coach, never has been able to because the game comes so naturally to him I believe that he can't "dumb" it down enough. I don't believe Chuck will be able to.
      Chuck and GSP are two completely different fighters.
      As far as the ground game if you watch Gracie breakdowns on GSP, they will show you the things that GSP is doing that is putting him on a completely different level than almost any fighter in the UFC

  • Personally, I think the Welterweight division is the most stacked division so to me its not surprising that GSP is not getting a high level of finishes.

    GSP's strategy of ground control is often regarded as safety.

    One difference between GSP and fighters like Jon Jones is that GSp does not have the reach advantages of Jon Jones who secures alot more finishes.

    i know GSP gets the best trainers in the world, Greg Jackson, Tri-star, Freddie roach etc.
    I have even seen GSP learning spinning heel kicks from Joe Rogan. So I don't know whether GSP needs to surround himself with different trainers. After all he is winning and he is champion.

    Also there is no problem with Gsp' power. Fight science produced some stats on Gsp's power.

    His punch registered 2859 lbs of force, which is 629 lbs more than UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez‘s best mark of 2230 lbs.

    His kick also bested one of the hardest kickers in the UFC.

    The record holder up until St-Pierre stepped into the Sport Science lab was Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who folded the heavy bag with a crushing 2749 lbs of force. St-Pierre’s shin connected with 3477 lbs — 728 lbs more than Shogun.

    His anaerobic threshold where he begins to develop lactic acid and fatigue is at 85%, or the point where most fighters shut down.

    Some other numbers from the episode:

    • His right-left-left low-kick combination registered at over 6000 lbs of force in .98 of a second.

    • His superman punch moves at 15 feet/second (double the speed of his other punches).

    • His high-double takedown generated 2400 watts of power in 1.17 second (Rashad Evans generated 3000 watts)

    • I don't question any of what you state or the stats that you offer, but the one stat that stands out is that of decisions. He has too many. I say this as a fan, man.

      By the way 321, your must be an expert on Rush. Either that or you have a mastery of culling statistics, for that is impressive my man. Truly.

      Good for you, Enjoy. Your LK's go-to on all things factual, regarding GSP.

      Once again you impress. 🙂

    • Brian Cox

      I don't question any of what you state or the stats that you offer, but the one stat that stands out is that of decisions. He has too many. I say this as a fan, man.

      By the way 321, your must be an expert on Rush. Either that or you have a mastery of culling statistics, for that is impressive my man. Truly.

      Good for you, Enjoy.

      You're LK's go-to on all things factual, regarding GSP.

      Once again you impress. 🙂

    • I don't question any of what you state or the stats that you offer, but the one stat that stands out is that of decisions. He has too many. I say this as a fan, man.

      By the way 321, your must be an expert on Rush. Either that or you have a mastery of culling statistics, for that is impressive my man. Truly.

      Good for you, Enjoy. You're LK's go-to on all things factual, regarding GSP.

      Once again you impress. 🙂

    • I question not any of what you state or the stats that you offer, but the one stat that stands out is that of decisions. He has too many. I say this as a fan, man.

      By the way 321, your must be an expert on Rush. Either that or you have a mastery of culling statistics, for that is impressive my man. Truly.

      Good for you, Enjoy. You're. LK's go-to-guy on all things factual, regarding Rush.

      Once again you impress. 🙂

  • GSP needs to improve his submissions and BJJ. For a guy who can put you on your back and control you for 5 rounds, it doesnt seem to be asking to much to pull an arm triangle or choke, or even an armbar.

    • I would agree with your observations. To me, It doesn't seem too much to ask of a guy who puts people down (pretty much) at will and keeps them there for as long as he does.

      Heck, a simple improvement on his G 'n P would be a blessing at this stage.

  • If you want to see fight finished don't watch fights because its means you don't like fights. Personally I really don't care finishes, Its all about who is the toughest for me.

    • "If you want to see fight finished don't watch fights because its means you don't like fights"
      ………………………….what? huh?…nevermind

  • George is one of the best, but there are two things he is lacking:
    1.) Knockout power,
    2.) Killer Instinct.
    However, he excels in athleticism and position control. He needs to use these strengths to force more submissions. He has a very technical approach to his grappling. I've seen interviews where he breaks down the steps that he uses to get takedowns and control position. He is very organized about it. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc… He needs to apply this philosophy to turning a dominant position into an armbar or backmount instead of just top position in the guard. What he probably needs the most though, is psychological training to develop a greater sense of urgency and killer instinct in the cage. I think if it was important to him to finish by stoppage he would already have started doing it.

    • This I totally agree with. It is mental, we could all see that in the Koscheck fight where he refused to jump in and finish a guy who was all but finished already. He takes a very low risk factor strategy every time now and yes since Serra. Even the last Penn fight was not a true stoppage and it was Penns corner not Penn that threw in the towel. In reality it is 2008 since his last legit stoppage against Serra. I honestly do not think 170 has especially great fighters compared to other divisions. I don't consider Kos, Diaz, Hardy, Alves, Fitch, Serra, Hughes, Condit or Sheilds above guys like Maia, Okami, Henderson, Franklin, Vitor, Forrest, Bonnar or Chael. People just think that because Anderson blasts his division in an entirely easier and different way. 170 is just top heavy with wrestlers which look dominant against the rest of the division. Nobody bar maybe Condit and Hendricks is as tough a fight as Hendo in his prime or Vitor or Franklin or Maia either in 170. Now that 170 has Maia it has improved the divisions level of skill to another level.

      • Lets make a vs on GSPs last 11 fights against AS last 11 fights. On who had tougher opponents.

        1st Hendo vs Koscheck. Thats an easy one for Hendo. But remember Hendo acme to that fight after a loss against Rampage and was 2 and 2 on his last 4. im a Hendo fan but if you have a great chin and a are a good fighter you are winning every day. KOS came 9-1 to that fight but it doesnt matter… i still will give it Hendo.

        2nd Hugues vs Irvin. Easy one for Hugues. The guy was 6 a 1 on his last 7 was a multiple champion in the UFC. considered the best welter on history at that point. had a record of 42-5 going to that fight. Irvin wasnt even considered a top 10 on his division. The only admirable thing he did was KOing Houston alexander… after that every tough opponent he had like thiago silva, bonnar or kyle, beat him.

        • 3rd: Serra vs Cote. i think serras win against GSP was a fluke. it isnt one of the toughest opponents of GSP but i think he is way better than Cote. i give to Serra!

          4th: Fitch vs Leites. after losing with kampman Leites was on a 5 fight run and defeated marquaid… that was his only big win. Fitch was on 16 and 0 on his last 16. i rest my case… i go easy with Fitch.

          5th: Penn vs Forrest. i wont lose any time here… BJ PENN 100%

          6th: Alves vs Maia. thats a tough one. alves was 6 a 0 on his last 6, defeating great opposition. Maia only had one loss on his career but that loss was 1 fight away. i go with Alves but it could go either way. note apart: everyone says maia is destroying everyone at WW. thats not because WW is worst than MW. its because the guy is a big WW. at MW he was small. he has more power now.

          • 7th: Chael vs Hardy. Hardy came on a 7 fight win streak and Chael on a 3 fight win streak. But chael is way better and had fought way better comeptition. Easy one for Chael.

            8th: Belfort vs Koscheck. Koscheck came from two really big wins and was on a 3 fight win streak. Vitor was on a 5 fight win streak and his last being a destruction of Franklin. i give it to Vitor nevertheless he came from an injury and was 17 months from his last fight.

            9th: Shields vs Okami. Shields came on a 15 fight won streak against a lot of top guys like OKAMI, condit, daley, lawler, HENDO. Okami was 10 and 2 on the UFC but lost to shields before and when he had top competition he was 2 and 2 (wins against muñoz and marquaid and losses against chael and franklin) im not a shields fan but this one is easy for him.

          • the count is 6 to 3 for GSPs opponents.

            10th: Condit vas Chael. Condit was destroyin everyone (but Diaz) and Chael came from a bad fight against Bisping. this one is a tough one. i want to give to Condit but the other tough decission i give it to GSPs opponents so this one goes for Chael.

            11th: Diaz vs Bonnar. this one is a joke. DIAZ all day!!!

            the count is 7 to 4 for GSPs opponents. but if you wanna see the truth just look at the winning streaks that many of GSPs opponents had and the ones that AS opponents had. AS never fought someone with a winning streak bigger than 5. he even fought guys coming from a loss or a 1 fight winning streak. the only guy GSP fought that came on a loss or a 1 fight winning streak was Nick Diaz.

            conclusion: GSP fought way better competition… nontheless it doesnt proof that he is a better fighter

          • Winning streaks mean nothing other than the competition is low until you get to the top guys in your 170 division that all have the same style and hence they stay on top except against each other. You will see that Maia dispatched fighters at 170 like they were kids even the very best of them so far. You choose who you want to line up with like putting diaz and bonnar together but it changes if you put diaz and okami or maia and bonnar vs hardy. trying to talk up hardys win streak is kind of a joke as soon as he faced any real comp he w2as beaten by stoppage by all except the champ.Maia will run through 170 and he may or may not get the belt but he is far more dangerous than anyone else at 170 right now. Forrest is a much better fighter than Dan or Serra and BJ is a 155er which showed in his 170 fights.

  • 1st; actually Georges has a number of tko wins and the tkos against Matt Hughes and Jay Heiron could easily have been counted as KOs. As for how I would address his finishing issues, I'd just tell him to be slightly less conservative. He never gives up position for submission and that is a problem. He is also very conservative in his striking. I am not saying that he should throw caution to the wind. It's just that when I watch his fights I see a lot of openings for him to finish that he doesn't take advantage of for fear of counter both standing and on the ground..

  • make him watch that cartoon about him missing time.

  • He doesn't need to finish anyone, he clearly dominates the entire fight.