In the history of the UFC, there are two fighters that could be argued as the best champion the Welterweight division has ever seen: Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre.
Hughes is 45-8 in his very impressive lengthy career. St-Pierre is 21-2 in his career. The 2 men fought each other on 3 occasions each time for the UFC Welterweight title, St-Pierre being the victor in the latter 2 matches.
Hughes fought in a total of 12 championship fights defending his title seven different times, whereas GSP has been in a total of 10 championship fights and has defended his title five times.
GSP has had win streaks of 6, 7, and 8 beating the likes of Karo Parisyan, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn (twice), Hughes (twice), Matt Serra, Josh Koscheck (twice), John Fitch, Thiago Alves, and Dan Hardy.
The vast majority of these fighters were top contenders when they faced off against GSP and he ran right through them, coming out virtually unscathed.
Whether it was in exciting or boring fashion, GSP has made almost every win he as ever gotten look easy. His pinpoint accurate striking, great Jiu-Jitsu skills, and tremendous wrestling make him an extremely dangerous threat in every facet of the fight game.
No matter the opponent GSP has always seemed to have an overwhelming advantage, making every opponent feel uncomfortable even at their own strong suits.
Georges has been defeated only twice in his professional career. He was submitted in his eight fight by Matt Hughes at UFC 50 and was TKO’d by Matt Serra at UFC 69.
When St-Pierre faced off against Hughes for the first time Hughes was the reigning Welterweight Champion and GSP was merely a promising up-and-comer. Hughes locked on an armbar right before the bell rang at the end of Round 1, forcing GSP to tap.
Just over two years and five wins later, GSP got a rematch with the still reigning champion Hughes. This fight played out quite differently, with St-Pierre winning by a devastating TKO in Round No. 2.
GSP’s first title defense would be against TUF Season 4 winner Matt Serra. Many people thought that GSP was “the next big thing” and the world was shocked when Serra overwhelmed and knocked out the newly crowned champ.
Coming off of his second career loss, GSP was matched up against top contender and a fellow highly skilled wrestler Josh Koscheck. St-Pierre won a one-sided unanimous decision.
Welterweight Champion Matt Serra was sidelined due to injury so Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre faced off for the rubber match and for the Interim UFC Welterweight Championship.
GSP once again avenged his first career loss and this time in the same fashion in which he was defeated catching Hughes in an armbar at the end of Round No. 2.
Once Serra was healthy, his first title defense was a rematch with GSP to unify the Welterweight belts and to determine an undisputed champion. GSP avenged his second career loss at UFC 83 at the 4:45 mark of Round No. 2.
St-Pierre showcased deadly striking, capped off with vicious knees to the body rendering Serra next to useless earning GSP the TKO victory and making him the undisputed Welterweight Champion of the world.
Following GSP’s acquisition of the Welterweight belt he has defeated an undefeated Jon Fitch, Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn (for a second time), Muay Thai specialist Thiago Alves, heavy-handed knockout artist Dan Hardy, and All-World wrestler Josh Koscheck (for a second time), defending his title five times.
On April 30 at UFC 129, GSP is scheduled to defend his title for a sixth time against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Jake Shields.
Many critics, news personalities, and fans alike are considering Shields to be just another stepping stone on the path leading towards a GSP vs Anderson Silva “super fight.”
However, Shields is by no means a slouch and was the champion of four other MMA promotions. Jake is currently on a 15-fight win streak and hasn’t lost in 6+ years. Shields holds a professional record of 26-4.
Out of his four losses, he was only finished once which was way back in March of 2000 and it was only Shields third pro fight.
After Jake’s fourth loss, which was to Akira Kikuchi in December of 2004, he has gone undefeated winning 15 straight and beating the likes of Toby Imada, Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit (both in the same night), Mike Pyle, Nick Thompson, Paul Daley, Robbie Lawler, Jason Miller, Dan Henderson, and Martin Kampmann.
He’s competed at both Welterweight and Middleweight and had great success ]in both defeating future WEC Welterweight champ Carlos Condit and former Pride Middleweight champ Dan Henderson.
Shields has beaten and dominated the very best fighters that every promotion outside of the UFC has had to offer.
If GSP is able to get past a very worthy opponent in Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, it’s likely just a matter of days, if not hours, before UFC President Dana White announces the “super fight” between Middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
As it stands right now, that is merely a “fantasy fight” as Dana White has said several times in the past. However, bookies in Vegas have already said a betting line which currently has Silva at -170 and St-Pierre at +140. Silva is almost a 2-1 favorite, which seems a little extreme.
Granted, Silva would have a slight size advantage, but GSP is one of the greatest wrestlers the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has ever seen. If there is one weakness that Silva has shown to have it is fighting against top level wrestlers (Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and even Travis Lutter had relative success).
GSP also has some of the best striking in the game, but anytime he has come across a fighter of equal or greater striking ability he has stuck to his “bread and butter”: wrestling.
If GSP is able to stand with Silva and have average to above average success he should have no problem taking the Brazilian champion down. Silva has great Jiu-Jitsu and is good off of his back but GSP’s Jiu-Jitsu is arguably as good and he has never gotten caught when having top position.
GSP should be able to control the pace and location of the fight due his excellent wrestling and ultimately get a win.
Although, GSP would most likely grind out a decision as opposed to finish the Brazilian, he’s definitely the Welterweight that has the best shot at dethroning the champ.