As great as it was to see UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre defeat Nick Diaz, by unanimous decision, in the main event of UFC 158 Saturday night, the bout was far from perfect.
Saturday night’s fight had some good moments, a few bad spots and some very ugly post-bout comments from Diaz (of course).
The UFC will consider the pay-per-view an incredible success, and there is no doubting that it was a great night of fighting, but the evening could have been much better.
This is the good, bad and ugly of UFC 158.
The Good: Georges St-Pierre Continues to Dominate
While there have been complaints about St-Pierre’s in-ring style (methodical attacks predicated on elite wrestling and unwavering conditioning), his technique has led to eight-straight title defenses and a career record of 24–2.
It’s obvious that while his style isn’t always the most interesting for the MMA fans watching at home, it is incredibly effective in the Octagon.
There is no reason for GSP to change anything about the way he fights.
St-Pierre will likely square off against the heavy-handed Johny Hendricks (who beat Carlos Condit earlier in the night), and there is no doubt what his strategy will be this time around as well: ground-and-pound.
Hendricks is a stellar wrestler that has become very gifted at taking his opponent down (12 takedowns against Condit), but he will face his toughest competition by far in GSP.
As long as St-Pierre uses the same technique he used against Diaz Saturday night, there is no doubt that his domination of the welterweight division will continue.
The Bad: St-Pierre Delivers Another Boring Victory
There is no questioning the raw skill and talent of St-Pierre, but after another fight that featured a predominantly ground-and-pound technique and utilized the Canadian star’s wrestling abilities, the allure of watching a GSP fight is fading.
Instead of being happy to play it safe and win by decision, St-Pierre needs a convincing knockout to prove to the doubters that he should be heralded as one of the greatest champions in UFC history.
St-Pierre’s decision win was his eighth successful title defense in a row, but besides a corner stoppage against B.J. Penn at UFC 94 in 2009, each of the welterweight’s victories during that span has been by decision.
As great as St-Pierre’s record has been over that time, the lack of excitement in the main event of these shows has hurt the aura of the champion.
If GSP wants to recapture the minds of the MMA fans who once heralded him as one of the most exciting fighters of all time, he needs a convincing KO victory sooner rather than later.
The Ugly: Nick Diaz’s Post-Fight Antics
As much as MMA fans love the trash talking of Diaz, the only way that the consistent verbal assaults don’t get old is if the vocal fighter continues to win.
Unfortunately for Diaz, the trash talker has hit a losing skid.
Two straight losses (defeated by Carlos Condit at UFC 143 and St-Pierre Saturday) have the veteran in a position he has never been in before. Diaz did not handle the adversity well, either, going on a post-fight tirade that included demanding a rematch, contemplating retirement and saying GSP hits like a girl (h/t Yahoo! Sports).
St-Pierre told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports about the lack of respect before the fight, the respect in the Octagon after the bout was over and about Diaz’s comments afterwards:
We had animosity before the fight, but after the fight, yes it's true, we hugged. Then, right when I went to do an interview with [Fuel TV's] Ariel Helwani. Ariel Helwani told me he said I hit like a girl and wants to fight me maybe in a rematch. Oh, Nick Diaz. We are back to where we were, but I don't take it personally. I respect everyone who does this job. It's a very tough sport we're in.
There should be no surprise with the post-fight actions at all from Diaz, especially after the MMA veteran’s long history of acting this way. As much as the sport wants to claim that this is all an act from Diaz, his inability to control himself is genuine.
The same attitude that makes him one of the most interesting fighters in the Octagon also makes him one of the most unpredictable personalities the UFC ever had the pleasure of employing.