The UFC has never had an issue protecting Georges "Rush" St. Pierre but still offering him quality talent. Since regaining the welterweight title in 2007, St. Pierre has had a trend of matchups against either up-and-comers who aren't quite there yet or with seasoned veterans that have lost a step.
During his second title reign, St. Pierre has defended his crown seven times. Bouts against Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra, and BJ Penn were all second-go rounds. His match against UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes was their third meeting. These fights tell the tale of who the current G.S.P. is.
The St.Pierre/Hughes third interim title fight was essentially G.S.P. versus a man who we all knew was done. A 35-year-old Hughes making a payday against the new UFC darling, a 27-year-old G.S.P.
"Rush" was trying to re-establish his confidence after his last two disappointing fights. The title loss in his first encounter with Matt Serra and a unanimous decision against Josh Koscheck in the first of their two bouts.
The rematch with Serra was arguably the best performance in St. Pierre's career. He used all the tools in his arsenal and had a fantastic game plan. This was the perfect combination of aggression and dominance. G.S.P. harnessed everything he had and it showed. His confidence was back, he was at the top of his game and, once again, the Undisputed Welterweight Champion.
The first title defense of his second reign came against an up-and-comer in Jon Fitch. Fitch was on a roll and looking for a then record nine straight UFC victories. G.S.P. needed to prove he was a true champion by defending his title successfully. He really needed to put Fitch away decisively and send a message.
But he sent the wrong one.
Let's take a look at their match up at UFC 87 to see why.
To be continued...
Elliott Saltares is a sports pundit, fan, and contributing writer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on twitter @elliottsaltares.