Most often known by his nicknames, GSP or Rush, George Saint Pierre , actually spelled Georges St Pierre (French), is a mixed martial arts fighter and currently the UFC Welterweight Champion of the world. According to Yahoo Sports, Sherdog, and many other MMA publications, George St Pierre is pound for pound the best fighter in the world.
George St Pierre was born on May 19, 1981 in Saint-Isidore, Quebec. At age seven, after having trouble with bullies at school, St Pierre started his MMA career by learning Karate from his father and shortly after enrolled in a Kyokushin Karate class.
In a March 2006 interview with Isa Tousignant from Hour, Georges said,”I went to a school where it was pretty rough – I’d get my clothes stolen, my cash. And at home life was pretty hard too. I had a difficult childhood, and I’m not saying that that’s why I do ultimate fighting, but it helped shape my character.
Until age twelve, Georges was involved Ice Hockey as well as Karate and loved both, but had to choose which one to continue with. His parents wanted to keep him in sports because they didn’t want him to hang out witha bad crowd, however they didn’t have a lot of money, so they told him he had to choose between Ice Hockey or Karate, because they couldn’t afford both.
Georges liked Karate better because he felt he could decide his own destiny and not have to depend on other players for success. Around 12 or 13, after earning his 2nd degree black belt in Karate, his Karate teacher died and Georges began to branch out into different disciplines.
He stopped training in Karate and started training in Muay Thai. He liked Muay Thai, but after seeing UFC 1 with Ken Shamrock, he was inspired to become a MMA fighter and start learning some ground game. However, at the time, there were no Jiu Jitsu schools in Montreal so he continued to train in Muay Thai and later went back and got his 3rd degree black belt in Karate. When he was 16 he found a good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school and when he was 18 he began taking wrestling and boxing classes.
Prior to turning pro, Georges was living in a very bad apartment, working three jobs, studying at university, and training for his fights all at the same time. Money was very tight. He even worked as a garbage man for six months to pay for university. He also worked as a bouncer at a Montreal night club, and worked in recovery for a store in Montreal. It was a very tough time for him but it helped to shape the man he is today. He’s grateful for his struggles and the things he learned from them. He always knew the hard work would pay off.
In a July 2008 interview with MMA Stomping Grounds, Georges was asked how those struggles helped him and he responded, “When I see some people in the sport say “Oh, I don’t have time to do this” and they complain and not only in the sport but in their life I laugh because I know I’ve done a lot. When you want something, you can go get it, you just have to use the tools and sometimes it’s hard and you need to struggle hard for a couple months or a couple years sometimes like I did, but at some point if you do it well and keep going you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Georges was fighting in amateur fights around the time he started training in Jiu Jitsu. He took home his first victory at the age of 16. However, his first professional fight was on January 25, 2002 when he defeated Ivan Menjivar at UCC 7 with a TKO via punches. He then went on to win three more fights in the UCC. He defeated Justin Bruckmann at UCC 10 with an arm-bar submission, Travis Galbraithat UCC 11 with a TKO via elbows to the head, andThomas Denny at UCC 12 with a TKO from punches. His last fight before entering the UFC was against Pete Spratt at TKO 14, who he defeated with a rear naked choke.
GSP debuted in UFC 46where he upset Judo Expert Karo Parisyan by a unimous decision. He then went on to defeat Jay Hieron at UFC 48 by TKO via punches to the head at just 1:42 of the first round. He was now 7-0-0.
GSP vs Matt Hughes Part 1
UFC 50, The War of 04′ GSP would suffer his first MMA defeat to the hands of Matt Hughes via arm-bar submission. According to Georges, Hughes had once been one of his hero’s andthis caused Georges to be in awe of him when he stepped into the ring. He did not come into the fight with the confidence he needed to win. He was submitted in 4:59 minutes of round one. This however would only serve as motivation.
If there is one thing that George St Pierre constantly focuses on, it’s getting better. Here is another quote from the interview with Isa Tousignant, “Today I’m doing boxing in the morning, tonight I’ll do my sprints,” explains St-Pierre. “Tomorrow it’s jiu-jitsu in the morning, Olympic wrestling in the evening, and Friday it’s muy thai and then techniques or swimming in the evening, something like that. Every day I’ve got a routine that enables me to diversify my training. In this sport the most important thing is to be as complete a fighter as possible.
St Pierre would recover from the loss to Hughes and come back with a vengeance. He went on to defeat a host of top notch fighters, including Dave Strasserat TKO 19 with a Kimura submission, Jason “Mayhem” Miller at UFC 52with a unanimous decision, Frank Trigg at UFC 54with a rear naked choke and Sean Sherk at UFC 56 with a TKO via punches and elbows. Next Stop – BJ Penn.
GSP vs BJ Penn Part 1
UFC 58. A highly anticipated fight for the number one welterweight contender spot. Penn dominated the first round of the fight. In fact, he bloodied St Pierre’s nose and was winning the stand-up fight. But BJ couldn’t keep up with Georges’ amazing conditioning and he began to poop out in round two. Georges won the 2nd and 3rd rounds for the split decision win over the former UFC welterweight champion and became the number-one contender for the UFC welterweight title. He was set for the title shot rematch against Matt Hughes.
GSP vs Matt Hughes Part 2
Before this fight, Georges had made a comment that would set up some bad blood between him and Hughes. Hughes had been flaunting his recent, impressive win over BJ Penn. St Pierre, one of the few fighters known for not trash talking, was quoted saying he was “not impressed” with Hughes’ performance. Them are fightin’ words! But this also showed that St Pierre no longer had the confidence problem he had in the first fight with Hughes. He was obviously no longer in awe of his former hero and this was backed up but what he did to Hughes in the rematch.
UFC 65. St Pierre completely dominated the fight and almost ended it in the first round, dropping Hughes to the ground with a superman punch. Hughes was saved by the bell. In the second round Georges dropped Hughes with a head kick and followed up with a serious ground and pound. The fight was stopped and Georges won the welterweight title by TKO. However problems would arise and he would not hold the title for long.
GSP vs Matt Serra Part 1
On April 7th, 2007 at UFC 69, Georges St Pierre lost the title to Matt Serra by TKO at 3:25 of round one. Matt Serra was an 11–1 underdog. St-Pierre initially said that he lost the match partially due to a lack of focus because of problems in his personal life, including the death of a close cousin and his father’s serious illness. He later when on to say that he shouldn’t have made any excuses and that Serra was just the better fighter that night.
GSP vs Josh Koscheck
On August 25, 2007, at UFC 74 St-Pierre defeated Josh Koscheck in a unanimous decision. Lots of people predicted Koscheckwould be better on the ground because he is a four-time Division I NCAA All-American andan NCAA wrestling champion, but Georges completely dominated him on the ground, stopping Koscheck’s takedown attempts and maintaining top position for most of the fight.
Prior to and after the fight, Georges stated his intention to reclaim the welterweight title, miming placing the belt around his waist, while standing in the octagon. The win over Koscheck put him back into the number one contender spot for the welterweight title. That fight was to be against the winner of Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. But Serra had to pull out of UFC 79 due to a back injury so instead St-Pierre fought Hughes for the interim UFC Welterweight Championship.
GSP vs Matt Hughes Part 3 Reclaiming the Title
On December 29th, 2007, at UFC 79, GSP defeated Matt Hughes for the second time by armbar submission in 4:55 of the second round to win the interim welterweight title. St Pierre dominated the entire fight and Hughes was unable to mount any offense against GSP. Georges avoided every one of Hughes’ takedown attempts and took Hughes to the mat at will.
GSP vs Matt Serra Part 2 – Undisputed Champion
On April 19, 2008, at UFC 83, St Pierre defeated Matt Serra by TKO via kness andwas deemed the undisputed UFC welterweight champion. GSP completely dominated the fight, never allowing Serra to do anything. In the second round, he forced Serra into a turtle position and delivered a barrage of knees to Serra’s midsection. Serra was clearly not defending himself and the fight was stopped by referee Yves Lavigne.
Defending the Title
GSP went on to defend his title against Jon Fitch, winning by unanimous decision at UFC 87. Again, Georges dominated the fight, delivering an array of strikes and taking Fitch down at will. The defeat over Jon Fitch was a set up for one of the most anticipated MMA fights in history. After the Fitch fight, BJ Penn came in to the octagon and publicly challenged St Pierre to a rematch of their UFC 58 fight in 2006. Of course GSP accepted.
GSP vs BJ Penn Part 2
The rematch was on January 31, 2009, at UFC 94 . The first round of the fight was scored fairly even. Penn was quick and utilized great movement, avoiding most of GSP’s take down attempts. They exchanged some punches. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds Penn was beginning to poop out like in the first fight, and this gave St Pierre the opportunity to completely dominate BJ Penn for the remainder of the fight. In the 2nd round, GSP got his first take down and in the beginning of the 3rd round, he landed a superman punch that bloodied Penn’s Nose and then quickly took Penn to the ground again. From that point, GSP took Penn down at will, continuously passed Penn’s guard andpunished him witha brutal ground and pound. At the end of the fourth round, the referee stopped the fight per the request of Penn’s corner man Jason Parillo. St Pierre was the undisputed winner.
Penn later said that he couldn’t remember anything that happened in the 3rd and 4th rounds because he stated, “I was probably asleep because the fight was boring.” Penn didn’t attend the press conference after the fight because he was in the hospital. During the fight, Penn complained that GSP was too slippery to hold, and his camp accused St Pierre of illegally applying petroleum jelly to his back. The matter was formally investigated by the UFC and Nevada State Athletic Commission upon the request of the Penn camp. All claims were dismissed as false and warranted no disciplinary action or further investigation.
Continuing to Defend the Title
GSP continued to defend the title defeating Thiago Alves in UFC 100 on July 9th, 2009 by unanimous decision. Prior to UFC 100, Beau Dure of USA Today stated that St-Pierre was possibly “the best in the world.” He then went on to defeat Dan Hardy on March 27th, 2010 in UFC 111 by unanimous decision.
Georges has trained with many of groups throughout his fighting career. Before his first fight with BJ Penn, he trained at the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York City, where he received his brown belt in BJJ. In September 2008, he earned his black belt in BJJ under Bruno Fernandes.
Prior to his second fight with BJ Penn at UFC 94 , GSP began training with Rashad Evans, Nathan Marquardt, Keith Jardine, and Donald Cerrone at Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Gaidojutsu school in New Mexico. Some of Jackson’s students went with St Pierre to Montreal to help prepare him for the rematch with BJ Penn.
Georges’ strength and conditioning coach is Jonathan Chaimberg of Adrenaline Performance Centre in Montréal. Georges’ Head Trainer is Firas Zahabi of Zahabi MMA. The two have been in the corner of all of St-Pierre’s most recent bouts and remain as his close friends. Currently, St-Pierre trains in Muay Thai under Phil Nurse at the Wat in New York City.
Recently, GSP traveled to the Philippines to promote Mixed Martial Arts to the Filipinos. He received a warm welcome for his first visit in Manila.
2012 Summer Olympics London
In January 2010, there was some talk that St Pierre was thinking of leaving MMA and trying out for the Canadian freestyle wrestling team to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Though his wrestling coaches, Rob “The Caveman” Moore and Cleo “Zulu Man” Ncubesay that he is a great wrestler within the context of MMA, it is generally agreed that he would have to spend many years preparing before he can even make the Olympic team. Despite this, St Pierre personally stated in an interview before fight with Dan Hardy that he is considering trying to qualify for 2012 Olympic Games, but he has not yet made his mind up 100%either way yet.
Championships and Accomplishments
Spike Awards Most Dangerous Man of the Year 2010
MMAPayout Fighter of the Year 2009
World MMA Awards Fighter of the Year 2009
Sports Illustrated (SI.com) Fighter of the Year 2009
Inside MMA on HDNET Fighter of the Year 2009
MMAJunkie.com Fighter of the Year 2009 and 2010
Fighters Only 2008 Submission of the Year
Rogers Sportsnet Canadian Athlete of the Year (2008)
Rogers Sportsnet Canadian Athlete of the Year (2009)
TKO Major League MMA TKO Canadian Welterweight Championship (One Time)
UFC Interim Welterweight Championship (One Time)
UFC Welterweight Championship (Two Times, Current, Four Successful Title Defenses)
Canadian Cover Athlete for UFC Undisputed 2009
Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards – Most Outstanding Fighter (2008, 2009)