Kennedy: Firas Zahabi makes fighters boring, not Greg Jackson


Jackson's MMA has the reputation is some quarters for turning out fighters who win by the rules, but do not risk going for the finish. The criticism is most pointed at UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who has just one fight stoppage in over five years.

However, UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy says that it is not Greg Jackson that crafted for GSP a style that some fans call boring, it was Firas Zahabi, owner of the Montreal-based TriStar Gym. And, Kennedy charges, Zahabi did the same thing to Rory MacDonald.

"Even when they said it, it was ridiculous," Kennedy told MMAMania's Matthew Roth. "Totally unfounded. If you look at the past ten fights. The fighters that have won the 'submission of the night,' the 'knockout of the night,' and 'fight of the night' bonuses are almost exclusively Jackson guys."

"In my last fight camp, it was me, Rustam, Adlan, and Cerrone, all in fight camp at the same time. All of us fighting three weeks apart and all of us had a 'knockout of the night' or 'fight of the night.' Then you look at Firas  and you look at Rory MacDonald."

"I remember when (Rory MacDonald) fought Nate Diaz and it was extreme grappling, vicious strikes. That guy was scary. Now we're two years removed from that fight and the transition is now a guy jabbing from the outside. Not even in volume. It's just horrible. It's so boring."

"I felt bad for Robbie Lawler. He only knows one way of fighting, which is violently. But to fight violently, you need a guy who is going to participate."

What do you think UG? FIrst of all, are GSP and Rory MacDonald boring fighters? If you do think they are boring, do you think their coaches had an influence, and if so, which coach?

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Recent Comments »

Stephen Holder site profile image  

11/25/13 9:13 PM by Stephen Holder

^lol faggot.You gotta love the disparity.In the mma community it seems almost unanimously the one camp fighters take zero issue with badmouthing is GSP's.Yet on here its pretty much the one camp who gets the most fanboi love. There's that whole pathologically unhealthy big brother fantasy urge to protect anything and everything that is GSP.Why is that fanboiz?

Herman Munster site profile image  

11/25/13 8:34 PM by Herman Munster

Kennedy doesn't know shit about Firas.

Chiron site profile image  

11/25/13 8:06 PM by Chiron

Ya, there's definitely a risk aspect to it; especially if you become known for it and people don't want to watch you fight. Plus the damage you take. People can pretend a decision is a better win than a finish but it isn't and one of the reasons is, even though it may be safer (as far as getting finished) have a higher probability of getting the W, and perhaps take less overall skill, it also brings with it more cumulative damage.For example, GSP and Anderson have both had title runs of about the same length but GSP has taken far more damage because of point-focused strategies over strategies focused on putting opponents away. Going by Fight Metric (admittedly imperfect) GSP has taken over 200 more hits than Anderson and half of the hits Anderson's taken in his title reign came in a single fight against Chael. GSP has taken an average of 76 hits per fight vs Anderson's 48. So going for the finish may bring higher short term risks but going for the decision may pose greater long term consequences in terms of wear and tear on the body and more cumulative damage.

canuck34 site profile image  

11/25/13 8:01 PM by canuck34

I love GSP (partial homo) but I kind of agree. In the first few fights after the Serra loss GSP still fight like a beast. Even in decision wins against guys like Thiago and Fitch you could tell he was trying to finish.When Jackson disappeared, he really did get a lot more "safe".Still, he is the GOAT.

Raezor19 site profile image  

11/25/13 7:57 PM by Raezor19

Regardless of the guys can't possibly call GSP/Hendricks boring....or GSP/Condit...

Chiron site profile image  

11/25/13 7:55 PM by Chiron

I respect your point but I don't agree. I'm not saying fans should have no concern for the fighter, but should the fighters not have concern for the fans? I'd argue that the guys focusing on points don't. If a fighter says "I'm going to go in there and fight hard to stop him" and then just focuses on points, they're lying to the fans. They're saying "Hey, watch because this is going to be a good fight. I'm going to take him out and display martial skill so you should spend your time and your money watching me fight." but then they deliberately employ a strategy that wont do that. That's lying to the fans. It's disrespecting the fans and the sport, imo. If they want to fight like that then say it. Everyone knows that fans want to see guys fight. Besides, no one forced them to become a professional fighter. If it weren't for the paying fans they wouldn't be able to make a living doing that. I'm ok with a fight going to a decision but the fighters should do their best to go for the finish, whether or not they get it. If they go for a late takedown after fighting their ass off trying to put the opponent away like Liddell did vs Wandy, ok, I can understand that. But when it's the focus of their strategy, regardless of how tough the opponent is, the fans have no reason to try and empathize with them in that case. Trying to justify it sets a terrible precedent. People look forward to big fights between guys that are coming to focus on finishing. Two of the most anticipated fights in recent memory were Diaz vs Condit and MacDonald vs Ellenberger. Both of them fell far short of expectations because one of the participants came with a point focused gameplan. Condit is my favorite WW, but he deserves every bit of heat for the way he fought Diaz, especially after saying "It's going to be a dogfight". The whole fight was practically an admission by Condit and Jackson that Diaz was really the better fighter. Rory deserves heat too. If a fighter really thinks they can't beat an opponent unless they use a cop out strategy then they shouldn't accept the fight at all. I don't see why the fans should have to put up with that. I also don't think Condit is happy with how he fought Diaz. I think he knows it wasn't the martial spirit he's become famous for. I don't think Rory has learned this though.

UGCTT_The Project site profile image  

11/25/13 7:41 PM by UGCTT_The Project

Condit has one fight where he "played safe". One. Every other, dude goes in for kill at any chance.

Chiron site profile image  

11/25/13 7:27 PM by Chiron

I heard Tristar fighters fought in 19 fights so far in 2013 in the UFC. They've only won by finish 1 time.

Wasa-B site profile image  

11/25/13 6:54 PM by Wasa-B

Shut up, Tim.

CaptChaos site profile image  

11/25/13 4:08 PM by CaptChaos

I think it's easy for fans to say this and that but we are not the guys in the cage. To some extent a point can be made but I think it's important to understand where the fighter is coming from.Take Rory vs. Lawler. What is Lawler best at and what does he wanna do? He wants to brawl and get the KO. Rory is not a brawler. He's a technical fighter. Rory's best chance to win is to fight a smart conservative fight.Take Condit vs. Diaz. Diaz is super tough (so is Condit) but he has 1 of the best chins in the game. We seem so quick to criticize Condit (who has 27 finishes in 29 wins) for his game plan against Diaz. Guys he finished all 27 opponents he beat and then he out points Diaz and some of us call him a point fighter and say he ran. I'm not saying every fan is critical of course but if you criticized Condit for his game plan against Diaz I don't know what to say... 1 mistake at this level and it can be lights out, you get subbed. and you can lose a lot of money.