The 411 MMA Top 10 11.26.19: Top 10 GSP Fights
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Georges St-Pierre’s top ten fights. But first…
Thoughts from last week and other random stuff:
• Last week was the top welterweights of all time and thank you to everyone that commented; especially to those who gave your personal top ten list.
o Jake Shields should have had at least an honorable mention; I forgot how good he was at welterweight.
o One guy thought Newton should have been ranked higher than Matt Serra. I don’t get this at all. Newton had one big title win but Serra had the larger win over GSP and a few other quality welterweights.
o Some of you thought Thiago Alves should have been there but I don’t see that one. He had a few big wins but he dropped off big after his title fight with GSP.
o It’s a little soon to put Johny Hendricks in the top ten but he has the potential to be there pretty soon.
o Also you should clearly read the list before you comment. You just look dumb if you write about people that were on there.
Georges St-Pierre is finally back and this week’s list looks back at some of his best fights. The two time welterweight champion has been with the UFC since 2004 when he debuted at UFC 46 with a win over Karo Parisyan. GSP won his first title in 2007 and has become the second greatest fighter of all time. GSP has defended his title seven times and has the second most wins in UFC history with 17, a record I’m sure he’ll have by the time his career is over. The top ten and HM’s are based on the fight quality, the significance of the fight, GSP’s personal performance and some personal opinion.
• Sean Sherk UFC 56- GSP became only the second person to defeat Sherk and the first to finish him.
• Thiago Alves UFC 100- Alves could hang with GSP standing up but even his great takedown defense was no match for him.
This fight is completely forgotten about these days but it was quite good. This was Mayhem’s first fight in the UFC and both fighters were top welterweight prospects at the time. GSP beat Mayhem in a fun bloody unanimous decision. It’s almost weird now to hear the commentary during the fight where both fighters were in the same boat as they were touted as the future of the UFC’s welterweight division. Since then GSP went on to win the title and Mayhem changed weight classes, challenged for the Strikeforce middleweight title, hosted Bully Beatdown, retired after a bad return to the UFC, most recently lost his mind and was found naked in a church. In retrospect Mayhem had a very solid career but he won’t get a top ten highlight anytime soon.
This was a huge fight for both fighters at the time. Trigg just lost in his rematch with Matt Hughes for the title and the win for GSP would help his case for a rematch. Trigg’s trash talking also added some intrigue to the fight. He was one of the better heels at the time as you genuinely just wanted to see him get his ass kicked. GSP came out and dominated Trigg even more so than Hughes had been able to do in the past. GSP submitted Trigg with a rear naked choke by the end of the first. This is also called a “rear naked Trigg” by a few. This was a big win for GSP as he continued to push himself back into title contention and this was Trigg’s last fight in the UFC for four years.
The two originally met at UFC 74 but their title fight at UFC 124 was much better. Koscheck defeated Paul Daley at UFC 113 to earn his title shot and a coaching spot opposite GSP on TUF 12. GSP had two of his fighters competing in the finale (Jonathan Brookins defeated Michael Johnson). They met in Canada and GSP won by unanimous decision after jabbing Koscheck’s face in. They were pretty evenly matched when it came to wrestling in the first two rounds but Koscheck’s face was a complete mess in the later rounds and GSP then dominated him on the ground as well. By the end of the fight, Koscheck’s right eye was completely swollen shut and suffered a broken orbital bone. Afterwards, Koscheck would be unable to fly due to air pockets that formed round his eye and had to drive down to Boston for surgery.
The rubber match between the two greatest welterweights of all time happened at UFC 79. Hughes was originally supposed to take on Matt Serra for the UFC welterweight title but Serra’s back was injured so Hughes took on GSP for the interim title instead. GSP rebounded after losing his title to Serra by defeating Josh Koscheck in his previous fight. Their first two fights were close but GSP was the superior fighter at this point in their careers. GSP avoided all of Hughes’ takedowns and took Hughes down with ease that nobody had been able to do at that point. The fight went two rounds but you could see in Hughes’ eyes that he was mentally beat after the first one. Then in an ironic reversal of the first fight, GSP beat Hughes with an arm bar with only seconds left in the round.
This was the highly anticipated rematch between the two champions. GSP won their first encounter by split decision at UFC 58 and Penn was the UFC lightweight champion trying to become the first fighter to hold two belts at once inside the UFC. Penn looked awesome in the first round as everything was going right for him. Penn was doing everything he needed to in order win as his head movement and striking were smooth and his famous takedown defense neutralized GSP’s wrestling. But Penn fell apart in the second round. GSP wrecked him with his brutal ground and pound in rounds 2-4. Penn threw in the towel before the fifth round as he was just beat mentally and physically. There was some controversy after the fight as GSP was illegally greasing. This lead to some talks of a third fight but nothing ever happened.
UFC 83 was the first event held in Canada and this is where GSP got his revenge on Matt Serra. Some people say Matt Serra beating GSP at UFC 69 was a fluke or mere luck but it happened either way and GSP wanted that title back. GSP had defeated Koscheck and Hughes in dominant fashion since dropping the title. This time GSP didn’t give Serra the opportunity to strike with him or pretty much do anything else. GSP used his superior wrestling to prevent Serra from getting anything going. The second round exhausted Serra when GSP finished him with knees to the body to regain his title.
BJ Penn returned to the UFC in 2008 after dropping the welterweight title to go on his two-year hiatus. GSP was on a four-fight win streak since unsuccessfully challenging Matt Hughes for the title. This was a number one contender fight and the winner would go on to get a rematch against Hughes. GSP won the close back and forth encounter by split decision. But GSP got hurt training and Penn got the next title shot anyway. This was named the fourth best fight in UFC history a few years ago when the top 100 fights DVD set came out. I don’t know if it should be that high but it certainly was a great fight.
The rematch was originally supposed to happen at UFC 63 but GSP hurt his groin and BJ Penn stepped in instead. Hughes defeated Penn by TKO in the third round of the title fight. GSP then got in the cage to say that he was not impressed by Hughes’ performance. Hughes said in his autobiography that GSP came backstage to apologize afterwards as he misunderstood something Hughes said. Hughes forgave him and this is very likely as GSP doesn’t really show people up like that. Anyway the rematch did happen at UFC 65. The first round started off with some striking until GSP unintentionally kicked Hughes in the balls twice. The second one affected the way Hughes was moving around but he later said it hurt his leg more than his groin. The fight almost ended in the first round when GSP knocked down Hughes with a big superman punch but the bell saved Hughes. The fight ended in the second round when GSP connected with a head kick and followed Hughes to the ground with elbows. So Matt Hughes second title reign came to an end as GSP won his first UFC welterweight championship.
In 2008, Jon Fitch took on GSP at UFC 87. Jon Fitch won his past 16 fights going back to 2003 to earn his shot at the title. This included wins over Shonie Carter, Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves. GSP had just won his title back from Serra and Fitch posed a legitimate threat for the title. Fitch is one of the best wrestlers to ever compete in the UFC but even he couldn’t hang with GSP. GSP nearly finished him the first round with deadly strikes. One judge even scored the first round 10-8. And like with many of his opponents, GSP took down the former Purdue wrestling captain at will. While GSP won by unanimous decision, it was a pretty exciting fight. Fitch tried mixing things up as best he could and each round after the first was competitive but it just wasn’t enough.
The much-anticipated return of GSP took place last weekend and he did not disappoint. It had been nearly a year and a half since GSP last defended his title against Jake Shields at UFC 129. Condit had won his past five fights coming into this one and was sitting out since he defeated Nick Diaz for the welterweight title at UFC 143. There was some questioning as to whether GSP would be the same fighter mentally and physically. GSP looked his best in this really exciting fight against the Natural Born Killer. Condit came into this fight knowing that he couldn’t beat GSP on the ground and his best chance was striking with him. So after a year and a half GSP came back and won by unanimous decision. As expected GSP dominated Condit with his wrestling but GSP out struck him as well. Condit was a bloody mess after the first round but he came as close as anyone since Serra to defeating GSP. In the third round Condit railed GSP with a sick head kick that would have knocked out most fighters. Condit came real close to finishing it but GSP evaded it like he always does. It’s been said that GSP hasn’t looked to finish guys in his last couple fights but this wasn’t the case. GSP was aggressively looking to finish the fight but Condit was good enough to avoid that.
So why does this get the top spot? GSP’s legacy was on the line. He had been gone for so long that many people doubted his ability to return to top form, even he doubted it. The fight to determine the all time best with Anderson Silva was also on the line here.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Save the date: Dec 7th Pro Wrestling Syndicate is putting on another stacked show in Metchen, NJ. The current card includes Matt Hardy, Goldust, Sami Callihan, Star Man, Jerry Lynn, Christian York, Anthony Nese, Tito Santana, Mantaur, Shelly Martinez, Gillberg, Blue Meanie, Katie Lea, Honky Tonk Man and yours truly.
• Next week will be the top ten Pride fighters.
Try not to die til next week.