GSP on the most humiliating thing in his career
UFC welterweight G.O.A.T. Georges St-Pierre began fighting in 2002, and in 2004 at 7-0, challenged Matt Hughes for the vacant belt. He got submitted with one second to go in Round 1. GSP won five more in a row and then got his rematch, and revenge, TKOing Hughes in Round 2 to finally with the belt.
They say you don’t really own a belt until you have defended it, and the first defense was against Matt Serra, who got the title shot through the unlikely gimmick of winning TUF 4. “The Terra” was 5-4 heading into the title shot; GSP was a -1300 favorite.
In the greatest title upset in MMA history, Renzo Gracie’s first black belt won via TKO. GSP spoke recently with Adam Catterall for BT Sport about it, the worst moment in his fighting career, and how it ended up being a positive experience.
“There is a saying that nothing can make you weaker than a victory, and it’s true,” said St-Pierre. “That’s what happened when I beat Matt Hughes. My loss made me much stronger because I learned from it, but my victory weakened me. I was the new face of the UFC, I was young and I was the guy who just beat Matt Hughes. Everyone saw in me an aura of invincibility, and I started to believe in it.
“Nobody gave him a chance, including myself. I went there and he clipped me with a very good punch and I was never able to come back into the fight. I learned a big lesson again, it’s not always the best fighter that wins the fight, it’s the fighter that fights the best the night of the fight.”
“It was the most humiliating thing in my career. I felt I let down everybody, even though it turned out to be a positive experience because it made me who I am today, a much better fighter and martial artist.”
GSP never lost again. He beat Serra in the rematch. Then he successfully defended the belt nine times before vacating it in 2013 for a needed break. GSP returned in 2017, beating Michael Bisping for the middleweight title, and vacated that one, too.
Now the UFC lightweight G.O.A.T. Khabib Nurmagomedov intends to defeat interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje in a unification fight at UFC 254 on October 24, and then, in his 30th and final bout, fight St-Pierre. GSP is game.