Personally, I am a huge fan of Georges St. Pierre. Not only does it make me very proud to say he is a fellow countryman (WAR CANADA), he is a great ambassador for the sport of MMA. If you are looking for honor and respect, the true Martial Arts spirit best represented in the game today, look no further. GSP is a marketers dream when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts. He’s a clean cut French-Canadian guy, with a respectable personality, handsome looks for the ladies, and a positive role model for the children. In the corporate world he is the face of Under Armour, the face of Gatorade, and was the cover boy in Canada (and internationally) for the first UFC Undisputed video game. Now with all the good qualities that Georges St. Pierre possesses, he received a lot of criticism from the fans regarding the most important thing of all, his fighting style.
You can argue that St. Pierre is the ultimate athlete. His dedication to training, personal improvement, and the coaching staff that he has behind him is unmatched. Freddie Roach for boxing, Phil Nurse for muay thai, Renzo Gracie for BJJ, and of course Greg Jackson for general MMA. Does his all-star team of coaches help make him a world class fighter / athlete? Of course. But does it make him exciting and entertaining? Long-time fans of MMA have seen in the past GSP’s brilliance. We remember his flashy strikes, his ability to incorporate his Kyokushin Karate black belt background into his stand up and wrestling. We remember the many wars he has been in, the dominating performances, the spectacular display of technique and athleticism.
When GSP beat Matt Hughes in their rematch at UFC 65 for the Welterweight Championship back in 2006, we always knew he was a special fighter, but that night a star was born. But fresh off his title victory, he defended the belt against underdog Matt Serra and was TKO’ed in the 2nd round. To this day, many fans consider this one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Georges quickly redeemed himself in the rematch against Serra, this time in his hometown of Montreal. Of course he first had to go through a young Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes for a third time. Since losing the title back in 2007, St. Pierre has been untouchable. He has won eight fights in a row in dominating fashion. On paper GSP is quite a dominate figure, but at the end of the day is he someone that makes you jump out of your seat and surprises you?
All the greatest champions in sports are remembered for their “it” moment. Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Fedor Emilianenko, what do they all have in common? They have faced adversity; they have been to the brink of defeat, yet somehow they have won and come out on top. At the end of the day, we remember the greats for these moments, even to the point where we forget about their win / loss record. Yes, GSP has lost and is not unstoppable but he has YET to be brought to that place where the other greats have been. Until we see GSP truly get tested and destroy his opponent in devastating fashion, in my opinion you can’t really put him up in that list of champions. He is pound-for-pound one of the all-time greatest no question, but like I said fans can forget about numbers. We remember “the moment”, the stories we’ll grow old with, and tell our grandchildren about.
So does GSP deserve to be voted as Canada’s Athlete of the Year for a third year in a row, beating out Major League Baseball players, Stanley Cup, and Olympic Gold Medalists? I say, why the hell not? And if you don’t want him to win it, you should have voted against him, and not complain about him winning. He can be the most popular sportsman in this country, but he still has a long way to go to truly win the hearts and minds of the diehard MMA fans.