Georges St-Pierre still knows how to analyze and eliminate the best fighters in the world, even in retirement.
The former UFC Second Division champion held court in front of a fan Q&A Friday before UFC Paris, where he was asked how he faced off against three of the most successful fighters of this generation: current welterweight champion Leon Edwards, former welterweight champion and a ranked pound-for-pound fighter. Camaro Usman, lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In his answer, St-Pierre described what is the greatest characteristic of each star.
“It’s tough because they all have great qualities,” said Saint-Pierre. “They are all completely different. Leon would have had me in a lot of trouble because he’s so smart. It could have been like a game of chess. It was hard to solve because it would be a very technical battle.”
“The Camaro is very physical, he’s very athletic, he’s a beast. He’s strong, he hits hard, he’s a great wrestler. It’s going to be very challenging physically, very demanding.”
“Khabib is a legend in terms of his knowledge and experience. He has a lot of tools in his bag. It will be a fight I don’t know how it will end. I don’t know. He is not the best fighter to win the fight, he is the fighter who fights best on fight night, so to beat them I would need to be Best man for fight night and to be prepared very well.”
St-Pierre and Nurmagomedov have spoken publicly about fighting each other in the past, with St-Pierre widely regarded as one of the greatest champions in MMA history and Nurmagomedov earning his own place in GOAT discussions with running as the UFC lightweight and clean champion. 29-0 professional record. These days, they both seem to be enjoying retirement rather than chasing back fights.
On the topic of Edwards’ stunning knockout victory over Usman at UFC 278, St-Pierre offered even more praise for the current champion.
“I think he won the first round and in the first round he showed incredible skills to put the Camaro Usman on his back, ride it, and get his back back,” St-Pierre said. “He showed amazing skills there. He was losing because he was losing after the second, third and fourth round and he was going to lose the fifth round. But I think what makes Leon Edwards so good, is his fighting IQ.
“He’s also very good at neutralizing his opponent’s strengths. He’s very good at eliminating his opponent’s strengths and bringing the fight where he’s comfortable, to getting his opponent to fight outside his comfort zone, and I think that’s why Leon Edwards is so good.”
During his legendary UFC career from 2004-2017, St-Pierre was also known for neutralizing his opponents’ strengths, whether that was forcing wrestling professionals like Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck to side with or use him. Elite special wrestling to stifle dangerous players like BJ Ben, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, among many other unforgettable victories.
St-Pierre was no stranger to rematches either, with Hughes, Koscheck, Penn and Matt Serra more than once entering the octagon with “GSP”. In his second matches against the only two men he’s defeated, Hughes and Serra, St-Pierre is dominant, so he has some perspective on how a rematch between Edwards and Usman could go.
“That’s what kind of makes the beauty of the sport – I mean, if you’re on the side of the winner, of course, because anything can happen,” said St-Pierre. “It would be boring if you always knew who would win. … That night, Camaro was winning the fight, but he made an unforgettable blunder at this level. He was zigzagging when he should have been zigzagging and crediting Leon Edwards, he did With a beautiful setting, he was amazing, he won the world title.Now they have a rematch and we hope to see that.
“But things change, you don’t fight the same fighter twice. You can fight the same name twice, but you don’t fight the same fighter twice. Every fight leaves a scar. It can be for better or worse and after a loss so often we see fighters, that loss can affect On their confidence, confidence is very important for a fighter because you can get all the skills in the world but if you don’t I don’t have confidence it’s like someone who has a lot of money in his bank account but there is no way to get to it.For magic to happen you need skills And confidence. So we’ll see how strong Kamaru Usman is mentally and if he comes back and wins the title, I think he’ll add to his legacy even more. It’s going to be a hell of a fight, a hell of a challenge.”
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