The Pre-Fight Breakdown: St.Pierre vs. Hardy

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2010


They say that no man is invincible.

This is never truer than in mixed martial arts. In a sport where all it takes is one punch for things to go array, the idea of a man being invincible almost seems preposterous. Despite this, there is a short list of fighters that have an aura around them of being unbeatable. On that short list is Quebec’s Georges St. Pierre.

The UFC Welterweight Champion has been on a tear over the last three years. His reign of terror over the division has included dominating performances over top contenders Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and most recently Thiago Alves. Now, St. Pierre is less than a week away from attempting to defend his welterweight thrown yet again.

Nottingham, England’s Dan Hardy is ready for a fight. His in your face attitude and cocky personality has made a believer out of many. Of course, his lethal striking and exciting style have not hurt either. Hardy is undefeated in the UFC at 4-0, in impressive performances over Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis and Mike Swick.

Now, on March 27th these two men will meet at UFC 111 to find out who is the top welterweight in the world.

There is no doubt that St. Pierre has the big fight experience.

This will be the eighth championship fight of his career and seventh main event. Despite being soft spoken, St. Pierre is used to the attention and spotlight that comes along with being in a main event.

Hardy on the other hand, has never had a UFC main event fight. We obviously do not know how Hardy will react to the pressure. It was only three short years ago that we saw St. Pierre come out and take Matt Serra lightly, resulting in a stunning upset loss.

Will Hardy suffer a similar fate or will we see the best version of him yet?

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what the game plans are going to be for this fight. St. Pierre may want to test his striking against Hardy early on, but ultimately the game plan has to be to get the fight to the ground.

From there he will look to pound his opponent into exhaustion, much like what he has done to other recent opponents. Hardy’s record shows him being susceptible to submissions and perhaps St. Pierre will attempt to take advantage of that.

Hardy on the other hand has to keep the fight standing if he wants to have any chance at victory.

All four of his previous opponents have wanted to stand and bang with him so we have no idea how Hardy’s take down defense, but considering that wrestlers Koscheck and Fitch were both put on their back by St. Pierre, expect Hardy to be put there as well.

How well he can escape from under St. Pierre will be a huge factor in how successful he will be throughout this bout.

Despite appearing overmatched, Hardy’s powerful hands could easily become an equalizer in the bout. The move to train with Serra for this bout is clearly an attempt to get inside the head of the champ on Hardy’s part.

Since the loss at Serra in April of 2007, the rejuvenated St. Pierre has showed no mental weakness and it is unlikely that this ploy will be unsuccessful.

The key factor in this fight will be whether or not Hardy can continue to get up from underneath the champion. Without question, he will be put on his back.

So, will Hardy return to the homeland as the first British UFC champion and become king of the division?

Or will St. Pierre continue his run of dominance through the welterweight division?