Georges St-Pierre has gone down in history as one of the best, if not the best mixed martial arts fighter to ever make the walk. He was the perfect technician. Everything he did, he did correctly, and against the very best in the world. From not wrestling a single day in his life to becoming MMA’s best wrestler, not to mention all the names he fought, beat, and out-wrestled. To out-wrestle guys like Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes, Jake Shields, Johny Hendricks, and Jon Fitch, it’s crazy what he was able to accomplish. He also avenged his only two losses ever.
Welterweight has always been full of stud wrestlers, but ‘GSP’ was a step, or many steps ahead of all of them. He’s one of the best athletes we’ve ever seen in the sport. He also evolved his stand up very well, fighting behind his jab, and most opponents couldn’t get past it. He beat everyone with the very basics, it was truly special how easily he could just dismantle the best in the world.
There are so many great match ups we could’ve seen him in had father time not passed him. It’s not even certain he wouldn’t still be at his best, but after ruling his division for so long, he wanted to go out on top. Not to mention the incredibly risky fight he took at UFC 217 against Michael Bisping, where he won the UFC Middleweight Championship and got his first finish since he won the UFC Welterweight Championship back in 2008.
‘GSP’ fought the very best of his era, many opponents of which would still be top ten talents today. However, times change, and different fighters peak at different times. Here we’ll go over ten fights that it would’ve been great to see him in, assuming he’d still be in his prime during these said years:
1. Tyron Woodley (2017-2018)
This is the No. 1 fight on this list for many reasons. ‘The Chosen One’ is one of the most dangerous, and most well rounded welterweights to ever do it. His athleticism mixed with his skill set, he could’ve been a very difficult match up for ‘Rush’. The power Woodley possesses is unmatched at 170 lbs, and his wrestling has always been at a very high level, having started in high school.
‘The Chosen One’ was a two-time All-State in high school, and once in college, he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American. He’s also the 2003 Big 12 Conference Champion, and was the 2006 United States University Freestyle National Championship Runner-up. He used his wrestling a lot early on in his career, but he got away from it once he started landing bombs on his opponents.
Woodley at his best is a scary man, but with that being said, St-Pierre fought a few fighters similar to him. The greatest welterweight of all time took Johny Hendricks’ best shots, someone who was starching his opponents left and right at that time, who was also assumed to be abusing PED’s, though it was never proven. St-Pierre also defeated Josh Koscheck twice, who also has a similar style to Woodley. Hendricks had a more well rounded stand up attack, but Koscheck fought very similar to Woodley; a wrestler with a big overhand right. They each have more tools than that, but that’s mainly the danger in fighting them.
Aside from Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre, ‘The Chosen One’ is the most successful welterweight fighter in the history of the UFC. St-Pierre had nine consecutive title defenses, Hughes had five successful title defenses during his first reign as champion, and two in his second. Woodley won the title against Robbie Lawler, retained it in his first defense due to a draw, then defended it three times before losing it to Kamaru Usman. He’s an inch shorter than St-Pierre at 5’9’’, but he has a 74’’ reach, only two inches shorter than St-Pierre’s. With the way Woodley can cover distance with his strikes, it would’ve been a very dangerous match up for ‘Rush’.
2. Robbie Lawler (2014-2015)
A fight between ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler and Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre would’ve been absolutely epic! Around the time Lawler was champion, he was seemingly unbeatable, for a short time. His wrestling defense was second to none, and his striking had gotten so technical, yet he still carried all the power he always had. It was really a thing of beauty to witness. Lawler left the UFC on a two-fight losing streak back in 2004, and while he initially went 8-1 (1 NC) since leaving, he then went to Strikeforce, where he went 3-5.
No one was giving Lawler a chance for a career comeback, it just didn’t seem it was in the cards. When the UFC bought Strikeforce is when we saw how wrong we all were. He fought Josh Koscheck in his return to the UFC, and it was a fight not many were giving him a chance in. Koscheck was coming off a split decision loss to Johny Hendricks, a fight many thought he won, he was still at the very top of the welterweight rankings at the time. Lawler stopped him with strikes about four minutes into round one, and we had ‘Ruthless’ back!
Next, Lawler fought fellow former Strikeforce talent Bobby Voelker, who he KO’d early in round two with a head kick. This really put the stamp on his return, he brought back all the violence he’s capable of with real skill behind it. He then was matched up with the surging Rory MacDonald. After a back-and-forth three rounds, Lawler walked away with the split decision victory. This awarded him a vacant title shot against Johny Hendricks.
Though he lost his first fight with Hendricks, it was an epic battle, and it was very close. Lawler took two more fights to stay busy while the champion was injured, where he defeated Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown, before rematching Hendricks for the belt. He ended up defeating Hendricks in the rematch via split decision, and he was now the UFC Welterweight Champion. The sheer toughness Lawler possesses, along with his brutal power and fine-tuned striking, he was a bad man. Even if he was down on the scorecards, it didn’t mean anything, because he’s just as violent in round five as he is in round one.
3. Stephen Thompson (2016-2017)
‘Wonderboy’ versus ‘Rush’ would’ve been incredible to see for so many reasons, especially when Thompson was at his peak, around the time he was fighting for the title. Like ‘Wonderboy’, ‘GSP’ also started out his martial arts training with karate.
Thompson is a 5th-degree black belt in Tetsushin-ryū Kempo karate, and a black belt in American Kickboxing, while St-Pierre holds a black belt in Shidokan karate, as well as a 3rd-degree black belt in Kyokushin karate. Where they’re different though, Thompson uses his karate to strike with, and St-Pierre used it to gauge distance, so he could be in and out quickly, helping the effectiveness of his takedowns. He also used it for his jab of course, and some of his kicks were also karate based.
Thompson had a combined kickboxing record of 57-0 (37-0 amateur, 20-0 professional) before transitioning to mixed martial arts. He has since been awarded a 1st-degree black belt in Japanese JuJitsu, and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After starting out his mixed martial arts career at 6-0 and being awarded Knockout of the Night honors in his UFC debut, ‘Wonderboy’ lost his next fight to Matt Brown. He was just out-classed, he wasn’t experienced enough, though Brown did say there were a couple times he was out on his feet during that fight.
‘Wonderboy’ won his next seven fights with four knockouts over the likes of Robert Whittaker, Patrick Cote, Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks, and Rory MacDonald. Around this time is when it would’ve been perfect to see him fight the greatest welterweight of all time.
4. Demian Maia (2015-2017)
Demian Maia has long been considered the best pure grappler in mixed martial arts history, and for a good reason. Maia started out his MMA career as a middleweight, and went 6-1 in the UFC middleweight division before challenging Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Maia then went 3-2 in his next five fights at 185 lbs before dropping down to welterweight. Once at 170 lbs, his style changed a bit.
Maia began wrestling a lot more, and he became very effective with it. We saw him TKO former top welterweight Dong Hyun Kim with a body lock takedown (muscle spasm), we saw him become the first man to finish Rick Story, and we saw him do to Jon Fitch what Fitch had done to all his opponents.
The Fitch fight was particularly impressive because he’s an NCAA Division I wrestler, and while he didn’t have the most successful collegiate career, Fitch is one of the best MMA wrestlers ever, and Maia just mauled him from start to finish. After this however, Maia lost his next two to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald. The Shields fight could’ve gone either way, it was so close, and he won the entire first round of his fight with MacDonald. He had his moments in each fight, but couldn’t quite walk away with the W either of those nights.
After dropping his next two, Maia went on a seven-fight win streak with three submissions (all rear naked chokes), before challenging Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Championship. Though he’s part of two of the most boring title fights in MMA history, he’s still one of the best to ever do it. The sheer strength he has, along with the takedowns, along with his 4th-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it would’ve been a great fight to see.
5. Anderson Silva (2008-2012)
This match up was talked about quite a lot around the time they were both ruling their respective divisions, but it just never happened. St-Pierre stated that if he were to move up to middleweight, he’d want to stay at middleweight, and he’d have to put more mass on considering. He didn’t want to bulk up, then just go back down. It’s too bad we never got to see it, many people still believe these are the two best mixed martial artists to ever do it.
Silva was a literal wizard in the fight game, anywhere the fight took place, he was more skilled than his opponent. He has a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a 5th-degree black belt in Taekwondo, and a black belt in muay thai. It wasn’t his credentials that made him an assassin though, it was his timing, his speed, and his agility. No one had better knees than Silva, no one had a better, stronger thai clinch than Silva, no one had the accuracy of Silva, nor the diversity of attack, he was one of a kind.
His days on top came to an end however at UFC 162, where he fought Chris Weidman for the first time. After starting out his UFC career at 16-0 with ten middleweight title defenses and numerous other records, including going up to light-heavyweight three times and scoring first round knockouts in all three, he’s gone 1-6 (1 NC) since. He never regained his throne, and he hasn’t done too well since. However, when talking a prime versus prime match up between these two, it’s impossible to say how it would’ve went.
Some could say that if the same head kick Carlos Condit landed in the third round of his fight with St-Pierre came from Silva, that Silva could’ve landed it as well, and most likely would’ve even finished him. On the contrary, others could say the way Chael Sonnen out-wrestled Silva for 23 straight minutes, St-Pierre could’ve done that without being submitted.
6. Ben Askren (2012-2017)
‘Funky’ Ben Askren was long considered the best fighter ever to have never made the walk to a UFC octagon. Most people believed it was between him and Fedor Emelianenko, but we finally got to see Askren in the UFC in 2019. After winning the Bellator Welterweight Championship and defending it four times, Askren asked for his release from Bellator in hopes of joining the UFC, only to be denied. He then signed with ONE Championship, won that belt, and defended it three times before retiring in late 2017.
The UFC ended up trading pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson for Askren in late 2018, a surprise to us all, and we finally got to see ‘Funky’ fight in the UFC. Though he went 1-2 in his UFC run, it was after he’d already retired, his best years were already behind him, and he had a bad hip, thus the reason he retired. It was very unfortunate to see his run go that way, he could’ve done better if he would’ve been signed just a couple years prior.
Askren’s wrestling credentials and his technique strength are what would’ve made this fight compelling. He’s an Olympian, a four-time NCAA Division I All-American, a two-time NCAA Division I Champion, a two-time NCAA Division I second place, a United States Champion, a Pan American Champion, a two-time Big 12 Conference Champion, a two-time Big 12 Conference second place, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Those are just his most notable wrestling credentials, he has numerous others. Mix all of those up with him being a nine-time world champion in mixed martial arts, he would’ve been a great opponent for St-Pierre.
7. Colby Covington (2019-2020)
This would’ve been an epic fight simply because of how good they both are. St-Pierre was so tactical with everything he did, and Covington is one of the very best welterweights to ever do it as well. The pace Covington sets, it would’ve been very interesting to see how St-Pierre would’ve nullified it. Covington just keeps pushing forward no matter what happens, and he’d be pretty hard to take down, even for ‘GSP’.
Covington has some great kickboxing skills, and he knows how to mix it up, something that’s very important in his line of work. He of course started out his athletics career with wrestling, which he excelled in, and he’s continued to mirror that success in MMA.
Covington was an NJCAA All-American, as well as an NJCAA National Champion, and he finished that season with a 34-0 record. He ended up moving to an NCAA Division I school where he obtained All-American honors, and also won the Pac 10 Conference Championships in 2010 and 2011. It would’ve been interesting to see, would Covington’s wrestling and pressure be enough, or would St-Pierre stick that jab in his face and keep him at distance the whole fight?
8. Kamaru Usman (2019-2020)
This is one of the most compelling match ups on the list, because Usman’s also one of the best 170 lb fighters to ever do it. He’s a massive welterweight, and he’s seemingly stronger than everyone he fights. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ started wrestling in tenth grade, and by the end of high school, he obtained a 53-3 record in those three years.
Usman then went to an NCAA Division II college, where he was a top four wrestler all three years he attended, winning bronze in 2008, silver in 2009, and being the NCAA Division II National Champion in 2010. He was also a University World Team Member in 2010.
Usman immediately found success once moving to mixed martial arts, picking up his first victory via TKO. He then lost his next fight via submission (rear naked choke), and the rest is history, he hasn’t lost since. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ finished his next four opponents before being called up to go on The Ultimate Fighter 21, where he won his season, and is now 11-0 in the UFC.
He just got his first title defense out of the way back in December, and he’s looking to add another name to that list next month at UFC 251. It’s crazy, there’s only one fighter that’s ever taken a round from him, and that’s Covington in his last fight. That sounds an awful lot like St-Pierre’s run, where he didn’t lose a single round in 33 rounds of fighting. Usman may join that list with St-Pierre, Hughes, and Woodley as one of the most dominant 170 lb fighters ever very soon.
9. Douglas Lima (2016-2020)
Douglas ‘The Phenom’ Lima, like Ben Askren, has long been considered one of the very best in the sport outside the UFC. He’s gone through just about everyone he possibly could in Bellator, where he’s won many belts and finished many elite fighters. Lima won and defended the MFC Welterweight Championship before joining Bellator, and while he lost his first title fight in Bellator, he’s since captured the title and has looked nearly unstoppable.
His run has been slightly back-and-forth; he won the Bellator Welterweight Championship against Rick Hawn, then lost it to Andrey Koreshkov. He then defeated Koreshkov in the rematch to recapture his belt, and defended it against Lorenz Larkin. Lima then lost the belt to Rory MacDonald, before again defeating Koreshkov and knocking out Michael Page. Since then, ‘The Phenom’ again recaptured his title against MacDonald. Lima was then going to go up and face Gegard Mousasi for the vacant Bellator Middleweight Championship, which would’ve been a great fight, but coronavirus kept that from happening.
Lima has lost before, but he’s shown us time and time again he improves after each and every fight. He has wins over the last two men to defeat him, and aside from that, his only loss since 2009 is to Askren. The muay thai Lima possesses is insanely powerful; his punches, his kicks, his knees, everything is done perfectly. Would ‘GSP’ be able to spring off his legs for a shot if he ate a bunch of Lima’s kicks to them?
10. Jake Ellenberger (2011-2013)
This would’ve been a great fight to see back when Ellenberger was doing his thing. We all know now he isn’t what he used to be, as he’s gone 2-9 in his last eleven, being finished in seven of those, but Ellenberger used to be one of the best at his weight. He was always a very dangerous welterweight with straight up bombs in his fists and great takedowns, having an NCAA Division II wrestling background.
There was a point where Ellenberger’s only loss in the UFC was via split decision to former WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, a fight that could’ve easily went his way. He won his next six fights with four knockouts, and everyone was talking about Ellenberger being close to title contention. His most notable win of those came against Jake Shields right after Shields fought ‘GSP’. Ellenberger put him away in 53 seconds, something St-Pierre couldn’t do in five rounds. This would’ve been a great fight to make right around that time as well, Ellenberger’s prime just came too early in his career.
There is one other fight that would’ve also been great to see, but it’s a fight that never would have happened. Georges St-Pierre versus Rory MacDonald would have been amazing to watch. That could have been the title fight at UFC 189, rather than Lawler versus MacDonald. St-Pierre may very well have held onto his belt, and MacDonald was the No. 1 contender by that point.
As previously stated, that never would have happened, but that’s an incredible match up. MacDonald does a lot of things like St-Pierre, but he also does a lot of things differently. His frame is a little different, he’s two inches taller, but has the same reach of 76”. MacDonald also has great takedown defense, but who knows if he could stop the most prolific takedown artist in UFC history from taking him down.
What Georges St-Pierre fight do you wish happened that we never got to see?