Not Melvin Manhoef or Wanderlei Silva, Just Georges St. Pierre

5618850572 7149c784a8Next weekend, Georges St. Pierre will step inside the Octagon as a Champion for the seventh time in his career, facing Jake Shields in the main event of UFC 129 at the sold-out Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. St. Pierre and Shields are two of the most decorated Welterweights on the planet, with a long list of top tier opponents tasting defeats against them.

Match-up wise, Jake Shields is the most aggressive grappler St. Pierre faced since Matt Serra. Cesar Gracie‘s protégé is well-known for constantly attempting submissions off his back, and is widely considered as one of the Top 5 submission artists in Mixed Martial Arts. But more than anything, Shields wants this fight to take place on the ground, where Georges St. Pierre ridiculed BJ Penn, Thiago Alves and Dan Hardy in his recent title defenses.

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Unlike the mentioned above victories, Georges St. Pierre’s most recent triumph, over Josh Koescheck at UFC 124, was a whole different story. It’s a perfect example for why “Rush” is still the UFC Welterweight Champion.

St. Pierre displayed top level boxing skills, with highly accurate jabs that destroyed Josh Koscheck‘s right eye. Jake Ellenberger referred to technique as “Jab and Yawn” in his recent interview, but in fact, St. Pierre’s performance was a proof that the UFC Welterweight Champ has already nearly perfected himself as a Mixed Martial Artist. Winning a fight with one of the most basic techniques, jab in our case, is the highest level of skill you can reach as a martial artist.

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Many people still want Georges St. Pierre to be Melvin Manhoef, Wanderlei Silva or any other entertaining fighter. But after so many performances, it’s time to face the facts; St. Pierre is simply not that fighter. He’s different. GSP is a strategist, and has a completely different mindset from any fighter with a KO ratio higher than 50%.

St. Pierre’s philosophical approach to the game and desire to be ahead of his time is the difference between him and other fighters. Yes, the way St. Pierre fights may be the most attractive out there, but everyone who can tell a difference between a bar room brawl and MMA fight will appreciate his qualities as a fighter.

GSP is a perfectionist. And just like any perfectionist out there, he takes only very calculated risks. I strongly believe that the fight against Jake Shields will be decided in stand-up, and not in Shields’ realm – the ground.

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It’s hard to predict what will be St. Pierre’s strategy on his feet. But whether it’s so-called “Jab and Yawn” or not, it’s hard to argue with Georges St. Pierre being a high quality athlete (in comparison to any time of sport) or simply a great fighter. At the end of the day MMA is a sport, and Knockout is just one of the ways to achieve victory.

Photo: Georges St. Pierre at the UFC 100 press conference at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on July 9, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker