Have we seen the new "best" Georges St-Pierre?
How do you rebuild the perfect fighting machine?
Now that Georges St-Pierre has decisively defeated Carlos Condit at UFC 154, we've got the answer to the question that's followed "Rush" throughout the last year.
Due to the aid of slow, steady rehab mixed with the most advanced training that money can buy, GSP's determination rebuilt his broken body. It's not just the science, either, as the French-Canadian also benefited from extremely advantageous genetics.
But even with all that training and medical effort, did ring rust hinder St-Pierre at UFC 154?
Are you kidding? Undoubtedly.
It's true that St-Pierre hasn't looked this aggressive against an opponent in years. To be honest, he hasn't bloodied up anyone that ruthlessly since Jon Fitch at UFC 87 and BJ Penn at UFC 83.
But at the same time, St-Pierre arguably hasn't looked that badly beaten up in his entire career.
Heck, even relatively massive former middleweight Jake Shields didn't do that much damage against GSP, and the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter practically stabbed out the champion's eyes with intentionally stretched fingers.
UFC president Dana White's belief in ring rust was well founded tonight.
Honestly, it's a weird dichotomy for GSP to look so dominant in a title defense like that, yet look so fragile and vulnerable at the same time.
Did ring rust affect GSP?
Make no mistake, Condit had St-Pierre in danger every second of that fight. On the feet, he fired huge kicks at every opportunity; on the ground, the "Killer" did his best Anderson Silva impression and landed crippling elbows from his back.
We'll never know if a 100 percent GSP could've avoided all that damage. At best, the champion was at 80 percent of his normal strength, fading in the last round and never launching his patented double-leg takedown technique.
Thankfully, St-Pierre has proven that he's a "Charles Atlas" among humans.
But make no mistake, more than 18 months on the shelf hurt him badly. All that remains to be seen is whether or not last night's performance represents the new peak for GSP—or if he can push himself to a new level despite his injuries.