Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes (45-8) made a blog post today that congratulates Chuck Liddell on his success as a fighter and new UFC executive position, but then shifts gears into a less-than-flattering critique of current titleholder Georges St. Pierre’s victory over Josh Koscheck on Dec. 11 in Montreal.
Well, I haven’t talked to you guys since the GSP fight so I’m going to say this, even though I’m going to piss a bunch of people off. To me the GSP fight was boring and I’m even going to tell you why I think it was boring: because I believe GSP is on defense. Number one, he doesn’t want to lose the belt and, number two, I think the UFC is paying him too much money and he doesn’t want to lose that either. I don’t know what’s going on in his mind; but he just doesn’t seem like he wants to finish anybody.
In fairness, this isn’t the first time people have questioned why St. Pierre (21-2) hasn’t finished a fight. Following his loss to Matt Serra at UFC 83, GSP has gone the distance in five of his last eight fights, including his last three title defenses. On the other hand, St. Pierre picked Koscheck apart on the feet — after Koscheck spent months goading GSP into a striking battle — and broke Koscheck’s orbital bone.
Hughes may have a point about St. Pierre being afraid to lose everything his built up by defending his belt. But GSP is a master technician and whether you think he’s fought boring lately or not, he definitely isn’t reckless.
As others have suggested, St. Pierre is a victim of his own success. He’s been so dominating against the best contenders in his division, people assume he’d finish more of his fights.
But let’s also not forget that GSP is fighting some tough, very well-rounded competition. Even one of the men to come up short against St. Pierre recently, Dan Hardy, who has railed against grapplers/wrestlers that look to stall rather than do damage, insisted that he wasn’t putting GSP in that category.
St. Pierre usually works to secure a dominant position on the ground and look for submissions, but Koscheck is very hard to take down and maybe we just have to give credit to Hardy for his submission defense. Also, it’s possible St. Pierre doesn’t have a ton of KO power in his hands, at least at this point. Going into the Koscheck fight, St. Pierre mentioned that one reason he worked with boxing trainer Freddie Roach during that camp was to improve his punching power. With more time, that could change.
Long story short, Matt Hughes’s comments will probably garner a lot of attention, but they aren’t necessarily as inflammatory as they look. Still, calling St. Pierre boring because he’s been forced to go the distance lately isn’t necessarily an easy case to make.