The former UFC welterweight champ on Conor McGregor’s rematch against Dustin Poirier, plus why Kamaru Usman is the best pound-for-pound fighter right now.
Georges St-Pierre is eager to see how Conor McGregor responds to his recent loss against Dustin Poirier when they square off again next week at UFC 264.
One of the greatest to ever compete inside the octagon, St-Pierre is a former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion. Winner of all but two of his 28 pro fights, he is also an astute mind when it comes to breaking down the fights.
“If you look at Conor’s history, he’s very good in rematches,” says St-Pierre. “He knows how to adjust himself. He did that when he fought Nate Diaz [at UFC 202].
“Conor made a mistake against Poirier [at UFC 257]. Conor is used to finishing a lot of his fights early on. He had Poirier hurt and in trouble early on, but he spent too much energy trying to finish him. He got emotional. Normally that works for him, but Poirier was able to weather the storm and later knocked him out. Conor is a great martial artist, and he won’t make the same mistake twice.”
St-Pierre set a gold standard in the UFC as welterweight champion, defending the belt nine consecutive times. Now 40, he has not competed for the UFC since 2017. But he is enamored with the work of reigning welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, who has looked dominant in his four title defenses.
“Usman is the best pound-for-pound active fighter right now,” says St-Pierre. “He is the complete package. He can strike, he can wrestle, he can do it all.”
“The fights are built on emotion,” says St-Pierre. “Those are the fights he will be remembered for, which is why he should have the rematch against Colby Covington. They had a close fight last time until Usman knocked him out.
“I had a lot of those fights in my career—I had to fight B.J. Penn twice. Matt Hughes, three times. Josh Koscheck, two times. It builds up all that emotion. That’s what Usman needs to grow his legacy.”
A new opportunity for St-Pierre to share his analysis is the upcoming third season of Karate Combat, which premieres July 1 on the CBS Sports Network. The 12-episode season of Karate Combat is a captivating and authentic homage to the history of karate.
“I’m very happy to be part of Karate Combat,” says St-Pierre. “I first started martial arts by practicing karate. That was a passion, which turned into my love for mixed martial arts. This is a very dynamic sport, and the show is going to be spectacular. People are going to be really entertained.”
St-Pierre is transitioning into acting, most recently playing a role on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier television miniseries. He was also ready to make a splash in the boxing world with a bout against former world champion Oscar De La Hoya before it was blocked by the UFC, where St-Pierre remains under contract. Though it would have been an unfortunate look for the MMA world had St-Pierre lost to a 48-year-old De La Hoya, he is confident that he would have looked like he belonged in the ring.
“Trust me, if this fight would have happened, I would have moved to Los Angeles to [famed boxing trainer] Freddie Roach’s gym and made a full training camp, leaving no stone unturned,” says St-Pierre. “Unfortunately, Dana White didn’t want it. It is what it is. I can’t be mad at him. People have said to take him to court, but that makes me look like the bad guy, and I don’t want to spend money on lawyers and all that.
“My contract with UFC will finish in almost two years, and I will be free—and I will still be in shape.”
“I’m still a fighter and an entertainer,” says St-Pierre. “If there is an exhibition fight or a novelty fight for charity, then never say never.”
Until he returns to some form of active competition, St-Pierre will still be highly visible this summer as a prominent part of Karate Combat.
“This is a show I believe in,” says St-Pierre. “The fights are very exciting and the level of athleticism showcased is amazing, and the whole story is great. It’s just an overall great show, and the fans of combat sports will be blown away.”
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