Some of you may be thinking that this topic is going to seriously stretch your imagination and that may be true. Georges St-Pierre is perhaps the most dominant welterweight in MMA history, though his only competition in this category is arguably Matt Hughes. And, we all know GSP has been on the winning end in two out of their three encounters. But what if he’d lost?
St-Pierre’s record right now sits at 22-2 and while Hughes doesn’t have the near-perfect mark that GSP does, he also has nearly three times the amount of fights as his French-Canadian counterpart and over twice the wins at 54-9.
How could Hughes have taken down GSP in their second bout, and change the course of MMA history? To answer that question we are going to take a look at the first meeting between these two stellar welterweights…
It was 2004 and the two talented welterwerights are staring at each other from across the cage. The New Jersey fans are cheering wildly, waiting for those magic words; “Let’s get it on!”
So what did Hughes do well in this fight? Well, that’s an easy answer – the same thing Hughes has always done well. Hughes’ wrestling and pressure on GSP were key. Conversely, and almost shockingly if you were watching this fight as it was taking place, GSP pretty much did the same thing and was actually the first to score a takedown in the fight. Still, Hughes held the majority of the dominant positions during the ground exchanges. With Hughes clamoring for positions and punches at a frenzied pace, GSP looked as though he was merely trying to keep up. Granted, the fight was totally opposite when it was standing, but Hughes’ success on the ground remains and ultimately scored him a submission win in the scrap.
Now that we have seen how the first fight played out, let’s look at the second.
Two years after their first fight, Hughes had lost even more of a speed, striking, and takedown offense/defense advantage to GSP. But what if Hughes had really beefed up his striking prior to this fight? If Hughes could have come out prepared to combat GSP’s speed with technique of his own, eluding GSP’s stiff jab and countering punches, the fight might’ve gone a little differently. We have seen several fighters revamp their game plan by adding to their core strengths. In fact, B.J. Penn – a common opponent of the two – did exactly that, adding vicious boxing to his already seasoned jiu-jitsu game. Might’ve Hughes had a chance at power-punching his way through GSP had he had an opening with GSP’s aggressive striking displayed in the first round?
While it didn’t play out that way it is interesting to speculate how a second loss to Hughes could’ve been a game-changer, especially in terms of St-Pierre’s ascent to becoming the best welterweight ever.
How do you think things would’ve gone with St-Pierre suffering another defeat? Would he have been even MORE motivated to succeed or suffered a critical blow to his confidence? Let me know what you think in the Comments section below…
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC