Although Georges St-Pierre is unquestionably one of the greatest fighters the game’s ever known, critics repeatedly piled on the Canadian star during his reign as welterweight champ, for not finishing fights. As a result, according to his jiu-jitsu coach John Danaher, GSP focused on his striking and submission skills, leading up to his triumphant return.
When St-Pierre sat atop the UFC’s welterweight division, there were plenty of folkswho criticized him for not taking out opponents. The main reason being that during St-Pierre’s second reign as the 170 champ, his last seven title defenses came via decision.
Although GSP and his supporters noted that he was always facing the best of the best, and therefore, scoring finishes wasn’t easy, it was a criticism that was frequently hurled at the legend.
Well, recently Danaher was a guest on “The MMA Hour”, and the vaunted grappler reported that in GSP’s comeback run, they hoped to see him produce more stoppages and exciting fights. Here’s some of what Danaher had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I said why don’t we focus on a training regiment that strongly emphasizes submissions and TKOs/KOs and punching power that you need to finish a fight. You go up a weight division and you focus on the old, dynamic in-and-out and lateral movement of Georges St-Pierre to create a faster paced fight that people find more interesting.
“We ran the idea past other people – Firas Zahabi, Freddie Roach etc. – and everyone said that it was a good idea.”
“Georges came in and worked with the squad and we strongly emphasized submission holds. Normally when I train with Georges it’s really what we call ‘grapple boxing’, which is a mixture of striking and boxing on the ground. It’s mostly positional work…”
“Instead we changed everything to submission holds, favoring strangulations from the back and leg locks. Georges made remarkable progress…”
This is interesting to hear. In addition, Danaher said that St-Pierre also worked with the aforementioned Roach on improving his punching power, and with a “karate specialist”, to enhance his in-and-out movement.
As you surely know, St-Pierre ended his stoppage drought at UFC 217 last month, by choking out Michael Bisping to win the middleweight title. After the win, it was confirmed that St-Pierre was dealing with ulcerative colitis, and the 36 year-old has vacated the 185 title.