Georges St-Pierre: From hero to villain?

Harry Kettle

If you ask any mixed martial arts fan, young or old, who the greatest fighter ever is, there’s a good chance that Georges St-Pierre’s name will be thrown around quite a bit. The former welterweight king has seemingly done it all in the sport – so why are so many fans starting to turn their back on him?

It’s been an ongoing process for years now, with Georges never really getting the respect that he deserves from every corner of the MMA community. The French Canadian superhero was one of the biggest draws in UFC history during his prime, which begs the question as to how so many people could’ve disliked the guy if his name was up in lights so often.

From a purely non-biased perspective, it’s hard to see the flaws when looking down the 36-year-old’s achievements on paper. A 25-2 record with both losses being avenged, welterweight champion for six years and nine consecutive title defences. The numbers alone are staggering, in addition to some of the names he’s beaten.

But that last name, Johny Hendricks, could well be the reason behind GSP’s downfall. For years up to that point St-Pierre’s critics had all been coming out with the same old automated viewpoint: he’s a boring fighter who never finishes opponents.

Whilst that was true to an extent, the manner in which Rush slowly yet carefully picked apart the opposition is something that should be shown in MMA gyms until the end of time.

So with that in mind, it didn’t help matters when GSP picked up yet another controversial decision victory: but this time a lot of people felt like he’d actually lost the encounter. The aforementioned Hendricks delivered a beating to Georges that we’d never really seen before, and it left a lot of questions unanswered over the immediate future of the long-time superstar.

Georges took a few years off, which gained him a lot of abuse as many thought he was choosing the easy way out, however when it was announced that St-Pierre would make his triumphant return back in February there were high hopes for all of the potential match-ups on the table.

Then it happened. In pro wrestling terms it was a heel turn, and in every day life it was just a bad move – Dana White announced that Michael Bisping would be defending his UFC middleweight championship against GSP at some point later in the year. Wait, what?

Not only did it not make a lick of sense from a rankings point of view, but it also robbed Yoel Romero of the chance to get his much deserved title shot. GSP was essentially holding up the 185 pound division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the fact that he signed a four fight deal then claimed he’d retire upon losing says more than we ever could.

In terms of legacies GSP’s has suffered immensely during this last stretch, but we shouldn’t forget about the Condit and Shields wars of time gone by. A lot of people have a lot of conspiracy theories when it comes to why this has all happened, but at the end of the day nobody is invincible. Georges St-Pierre is phenomenal, but above all else he’s a human being and a damn fine one at that.

St-Pierre didn’t want things to turn out this way. If it was up to him we imagine that he never would’ve walked away in the first place, but that’s how life works and you have to work with what you’re given. We’re going to have to see how this bad boy plays out before we rubber stamp a final decision on it, but know this: GSP gave everything to mixed martial arts, and in turn we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Forget the controversy for a second and think about the good times. That’s what we’ll remember in 20 years time.

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