On November 4 the long-time welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre will step foot inside the octagon for the first time since controversially hanging up his gloves in late 2013.
St-Pierre, more commonly known as GSP, left the sport under a shroud of controversy when announcing, immediately after defeating Johnny Hendricks at UFC 167, that he needed some time away from the sport. That break has lasted almost four years. In that time frame Conor McGregor has gone on to become the face of the UFC and a global icon but relative new fans of the sport will be unaware of the original superstar that was Georges “Rush” St-Pierre.
Prior to the eruption of Conor McGregor-mania, GSP was the poster boy for the UFC. The soft-spoken Canadian defended his welterweight strap a division-record nine times and holds the record for the most wins in UFC title fights with twelve. St-Pierre is one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever compete in the sport.
His journey to dominance began in 2002, recording five straight stoppage victories; with only one making it past the first round. In 2004, he made his UFC debut defeating the highly-touted Karo Parisyan. He then followed that up with another first round TKO victory over Jay Heron to earn himself a shot at the vacant welterweight title. At UFC 50, St-Pierre took on Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, who subsequently handed the Canadian his first ever loss; forcing him to tap with only seconds remaining in the first round.
GSP quickly bounced backed and rattled off five consecutive victories earning himself a title shot and a chance at redemption. This time around he ensured victory by knocking out Matt Hughes midway through the second round. For his first title defence he faced Matt Serra, and in a shocking turn of events, was stopped early in the first round.
This loss was pivotal in St-Pierre’s career, proving to be the catalyst for “Rush” to become more focused, determined and dominant than ever. He would never taste defeat inside the octagon again.
He then returned to defeat Josh Koscheck to set up an interim title fight and a rubber match against the champion Matt Hughes. GSP claimed the submission victory and only four months later, at UFC 83, he went on to claim the belt once again by defeating Matt Serra by TKO.
For the next five years GSP asserted his stranglehold on the division by defeating top challengers like John Fitch, BJ Penn, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz to name but a few.
At 36 years of age, coming off a four-year hiatus and making the step up in weight class, this showdown may be the toughest challenge to date for GSP.
One which, if he overcomes, can cement his status as the greatest mixed martial artists to ever grace the octagon.
Ed Larkin, Pundit Arena