What do you do when the biggest opportunity of your life is staring you dead in the eyes? Well if you’re UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, you execute your elaborate game plan to absolute perfection for 20 dominating minutes. In his highly anticipated rematch against BJ Penn at UFC 94, GSP unleashed one of the most impressive performances the Octagon has ever hosted, leaving the UFC lightweight champ unable to get to the 5thRound.
“I knew I broke him mentally after the 1stRound. It was my game plan. I (stuck) to it,” St-Pierre stated at the UFC 94 post-fight press conference. “My game plan was to make the 1stRound and the 2ndRound a clinch, mostly like a wrestling match. Because BJ Penn, when he comes out, he always comes out very strong in the 1stRound because he has very good hand speed. So I wanted to make him tired, to carry my weight.
“Because he has very small and agile shoulders for speed, so all of the blood would have gone in his shoulder by pushing me away,” GSP added about his meticulous game plan. “So after his hands wouldn’t have been as fast as it is normally, then after, later in the fight I would have been able to pick him up.”
In perhaps one of the most thought out and detailed strategies ever, St-Pierre dominated every aspect of the MMA game, ultimately finishing Penn off in the rest period between the final rounds.
“He’s a very tough guy. I think that at the end of the 4thRound I was mad at myself,” GSP stated about his inability to finish off Penn before the 20-minute horn sounded. “I was trying to finish him. Hard, hard, but he always survived. He’s a pretty tough guy, but I’m not surprised; I was expecting that.”
Most knew that St-Pierre would have the advantage if he was able to a get a winded Penn on his back, however GSP also showed the sharpest and crispest hands of his skyrocketing career.
Penn, known for one of the quickest and most powerful left jabs in all of MMA, was outdone by St-Pierre’s. The 170-pound champ landed one uncontested left jab after another, allowing him to change levels and keep Penn off balance.
“Stand up? People talk up about stand up this and that,” GSP said about the advantage MMA enthusiasts thought Penn would hold over the French-Canadian. “It’s a mixed martial art fight. I’m going to tell you something that people need to understand sometimes. If I’m a good striker and I’m fighting a good grappler; I’m going to be afraid of his ground. When a guy is afraid of your ground, it makes your stand up look better. You know what I mean?
“And, I’m very confident with my stand up. I fight with world champions and boxers and former world champion boxers in Montreal so I’m in very good hands. But, it’s not really a question of good stand up or just ground. It’s a question of being global and what is your strategy. I know he was afraid of my wrestling so it made my stand up look better. Maybe.”
Or maybe your performance on Saturday night launched you into super-stardom, and at the youthful age of 27, a guaranteed spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.