“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turned that perceived weakness into a strength” – Michael Jordan
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre turned Josh Koscheck’s own words against him on Saturday night in Montreal as the Canadian out worked, out hustled and out struck his rival to win a lopsided decision and retain his belt at UFC 124.
Before the bout ever started, Josh Koscheck seemed to want to goat St-Pierre into a stand-up fight, and that particular strategy backfired when the champion cracked the challenger with the first of many jabs he’d feel throughout the night.
For this camp, St-Pierre worked with his regular team of coaches but also called on famed boxing coach Freddie Roach to clean up his hands. Roach had to be very proud on Saturday night.
St-Pierre continuously fed Koscheck a diet of jabs that snapped the American Kickboxing Academy fighter’s head back, and after one round he had a swollen right eye that only got worse as the fight wore on.
To Koscheck’s credit, he stuck in the fight and even managed to stuff the majority of St-Pierre’s takedown attempts when they happened, but it was defense mode all night for the former NCAA champion.
Time and time again, St-Pierre snapped off a quick double jab and all Koscheck could do was hold his hand higher and hope to block more of them as they came flying at his face over and over. The straight punches were a key for St-Pierre heading into the fight.
“I know Josh Koscheck he likes to throw his punches circular, and me I’m a straight puncher,” said St-Pierre. “So my strategy was to keep him on the outside and if he come too hard at me go for the takedown.”
The fighters did manage to exchange takedowns in the first round, but outside of that the only grappling that took place was when St-Pierre shot on Koscheck later in the fight. The Canadian managed to get the fight to the ground, but only momentarily until Koscheck was able to pop back up.
St-Pierre gave a lot of credit to Koscheck following the five round fight for mixing things up and sticking around when many other fighters would not have been able to continue with only one eye.
“It’s mixed martial arts. If you want to see a kickboxing fight you go see kickboxing. Josh Koscheck is a true mixed martial artist,” St-Pierre told the Montreal crowd.
Regardless of the five round dominant decision that St-Pierre got from the judges who all scored the fight in his favor 50-45, the champion was not the happiest with his own performance.
“I didn’t reach my goal tonight. My goal was to take him out, but he’s very tough. Sorry everyone,” St-Pierre said
Of course, St-Pierre owed no one an apology for what was a beautifully crafted performance, that showcased once again why he very well may be the most evolved fighter in MMA history. For his part, Josh Koscheck dropped the trash talk after the fight and paid dues to St-Pierre and the raucous Montreal crowd that gave him a less than warm welcome all week long.
“Not making any excuses. Georges St-Pierre is a true champion. Montreal, this was an amazing event, regardless of the outcome,” Koscheck said.
As UFC 124 comes to a close, Georges St-Pierre wins his 8th fight in a row, and his 5th consecutive title defense. Before the fight, UFC president Dana White called St-Pierre Canada’s most famous athlete.
Now he may be on the way to being the greatest also.