UFC hall of fame fighter Georges St-Pierre was well aware of the criticisms that surrounded his UFC career.
Canada’s Georges St-Pierre is one of the all-time greats in MMA history. He a two-time UFC welterweight world champion with nine total defenses of his throne. Despite reaching levels of greatness, his MMA career did not please everyone.
St-Pierre vacated his welterweight crown in 2013 and stepped away from the sport. At the time, MMA fans were critical of his safe approach. While speaking in a recent interview with ESPN, St-Pierre discussed this. He said:
“I had three major criticisms in my career. One was that I never competed in the heavier weight classes. I cleaned up my division. Another one was that I was too much calculated. I didn’t take enough risks. Another one was like there wasn’t enough drama. I was kind of always the nice guy and there wasn’t enough drama to promote the fight, so when I came back I was targeting the 185 title.”
In the early 2000s, St-Pierre was feared for his finishing acumen. He captured the title against welterweight great Matt Hughes by way of knockout. Prior to that, the Canadian-born fighter had won most of his UFC bouts by way of TKO or submission. But after a knockout loss to Matt Serra, which he later avenged, St-Pierre adopted a much safer style.
Georges St-Pierre answers the criticism
MMA fans often said that Georges St-Pierre was too cautious in bouts and never went up in weight. In one fight, St-Pierre answered all of his career criticisms. In 2017, St-Pierre returned to the octagon after four years away to challenge for the middleweight throne. It was a back-and-forth war against reigning titleholder Michael Bisping.
St-Pierre was notably more aggressive and took major risks in this bout. With a left hook, the Canadian fighter dropped Bisping and finished the champion via submission. In just one bout, Georges St-Pierre had vanquished the criticisms that had haunted his career.
In the ESPN interview, St-Pierre continued:
“When I left I didn’t know at the time if I would have come back. The sport was different. I was fighting against performance-enhancing drugs and I felt like I was fighting against a lot of things and no one was on my side… I just wanted to get out of the radar, take some time for myself. I was always liked to train… The stress of the competition reached a point that it was unbearable for me.”
“I decided to come back after more than four years because the sport changed and they were testing athletes, they had USADA doing random testing, so the sport became much more clean. It changed a lot of the landscape of the UFC because of it, but it was more fair. I think it is very important.” [Transcript courtesy of MiddleEasy]
See the full interview below: