How do you beat Georges St. Pierre?
That's a question 18 men haven't been able to answer, and Carlos Condit will be the 19th to take his shot in stopping "Rush" at UFC 154.
However, Condit actually has some options available to him that no one else did.
People like to say that every title defense for GSP is the toughest one of his career, but that statement has a lot more context this time around.
St. Pierre is coming off two knee injuries. He hasn't been in a five-round fight in over 18 months. Moreover, he's going to be pushing his body to the limit in circumstances that no amount of rehab can possibly simulate safely.
If Condit wants to take advantage of this, the gameplan is actually pretty clear.
Sweep The Leg
Fans and fighters may not think it's the fair thing to do, but if Jon Jones was facing GSP in this fight, every round would be punctuated by sickening, flinch-worthy push kicks to the knees.
That may be Condit's best chance to win.
Condit used a well-rounded kicking game to frustrate Nick Diaz, but against GSP, every single swing of his feet should be aimed at the knees. Teep kicks, switch kicks, clubbing inside leg kicks—just throw the whole kitchen sink at the most obvious target.
Even if St. Pierre has recovered enough to get back into the cage, chopping away at his legs could take away his movement and maybe even his takedowns. At worst, Condit could even cause a fortuitous (but legal) stoppage by injury.
Keep It On the Feet
This should be painfully obvious to anyone who's seen GSP fight, but if he takes you to the ground, you're in deep trouble.
Condit possesses a solid ground game with a guard that's tough to pass, complimented by crafty sweeps. But if he's smart about dictating position, he'll cycle between getting up from takedowns and throwing hooks, counters, and strong jabs at every moment possible.
Georges St. Pierre has good hands, but he's not going to be the first fighter to stop Condit on strikes. That means the "Killer" has nothing to worry about in the stand-up department.
Push the Pace
St. Pierre has stellar cardio, but we don't know how he'll fare after such a long layoff.
Condit should press the action early and often, making St. Pierre breathe deep—try to exhaust the lineal champion into making mistakes. Five-round title fights are GSP forte, but there's nothing to lose by staying in his face and making him work.
No one will have a better opportunity to see whether ring rust affects St. Pierre, and after 18 months, it's a good chance to take.
Watch the Arms
Even though GSP hasn't submitted an opponent in almost five years, Condit shouldn't overestimate himself in grappling exchanges.
Although he won't be fighting off triangle chokes or anything too flashy, St. Pierre can snap on kimura and armbar attempts very quickly.
Moreover, the Canadian star has also promised to work for a finish in response to fan criticism, and a submission is his most likely route to a stoppage.
If Condit just protects his limbs while getting back to his feet, the only thing he has to worry about is ending the bout before losing too many points on takedowns.
No, Seriously, Go For His Knees
Look, I can't stress this enough.
It's cheap, it's dishonorable, it's whatever you want to call it. But Condit is not going to win this fight unless he comes into it with cold, ruthless aggression.
Every final boss has a glowing weak point. Condit would be foolish to ignore this one.