by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre has been out of action for three months now and it appears likely he won’t be returning to the Octagon for at least three more, but it’s not without good cause.
St-Pierre, after losing his championship to Matt Serra this past April, returned to form in his most recent fight with fellow contender Josh Koscheck at UFC 74 in August. He beat Koscheck at his own game, outwrestling the four-time NCAA All-American, en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Serra and Matt Hughes, the only two fighters to defeat St-Pierre, face each other on Dec. 29 for the UFC welterweight championship that Serra currently holds. St-Pierre sits waiting in the wings, as he is next in line for a shot at the winner.
“I don’t know when. I don’t know where,” he said of his pending title shot. “I just know that it is going to happen.”
As he waits, he gave MMAWeekly.com some of his thoughts on the fight.
“If I would have to pick, on paper, Matt Hughes I think is a better fighter,” said St-Pierre. “But that night it is not the better fighter who is going to win the fight, it is the guy who fights the best. There are a lot of factors that can influence that.”
That’s not to say that he would prefer that Hughes win the bout, especially since Serra took the belt he once possessed.
“It’s pretty hard to pick, but like said, on paper, I think Matt Hughes is the better fighter. But I would like to fight Serra more than Hughes.”
While he waits, St-Pierre has had plenty of time to reflect on his rise to the top and subsequent fall from grace.
“I think that loss I had against Matt Serra is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he philosophized. “You’re going to see a new Georges St-Pierre … somebody who is stronger mentally, physically, and somebody who is a way better fighter than he was before.”
For a long time, he has been considered “the next evolution” in the sport of mixed martial arts, a representative of the new breed of fighter that doesn’t come from one discipline and then add the other elements necessary to become a complete fighter, but trains in everything equally.
St-Pierre is constantly working on advancing his skills, especially during these down times, when he feels he can make some necessary improvements to his game.
“When I’m not training for a fight, I’m training to improve on my weaknesses. For me it’s great because I have a lot of time between fights, so I can work and become a better version of what I was before.”
The only thing he can’t work on during these in-between times is what he considers his primary weakness at this point in his career.
“(My main weakness) is my experience,” said the affable Canadian. “I don’t have as much experience as guys like Matt Hughes, Serra, guys at my level. But I think I have a hedge on the athletic part and my skills.”
That’s not to say that he can promise a win every time out. Despite his constant improvement, St-Pierre has no qualms that this is a complex sport and any fighter, including him, can lose on any given day. But he does promise not to make the same mistake twice.
“I don’t tell my fans that I will never lose again, nobody can promise such a thing. But I can promise everybody that I will never lose a fight for the same reason that I’ve lost before. Some guys, when they lose, they go down. Some guys, when they lose, they come back up. I am the second type of guy.”
At just 26-years-of-age, he seems very mature, but as he says, maybe that is due to the trials that he has already faced.
“I felt the ultimate glory by becoming a world champion, but I also felt the ultimate humiliation by losing the fight that everybody was expecting me to win … I think it was important for me, maybe it was meant to be … to make me somebody with more maturity and better.”
As he waits, St-Pierre knows that it is no easy road back to that ultimate glory that he touched on if ever so briefly. But he will wait and he will work back towards that glory, his ultimate goal.
“It’s always been a tough division and I think it is always going to be a tough division. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but my plan is to get back to the title.”