Georges St. Pierre: Why He Doesn't Finish Fights

Darren WongSenior Analyst IDecember 15, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 26:  UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre (pictured) weighs in for his fight against UFC fighter Dan Hardy for the Championship Welterweight fight at UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy Weigh-In on March 26, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

If you're going to criticize Georges St. Pierre for not finishing fights, the least you can do is understand why.

While some people have talked about how difficult some of his opponents are to finish, or the fact that some of them like Hardy seemed to be fighting not to lose rather than risking more in an attempt to win, most of the debate has been about risk taking.

Kevin Iole said that St. Pierre plays it safe, while Ben Fowlkes recently defended St. Pierre by saying he does what it takes to win and is simply fighting intelligently.

If we're going to talk about why GSP doesn't finish fights, I think a lot of that debate has been misplaced.

St. Pierre didn't finish Hardy not because he didn't take risks but rather because of technical flaws in his application of submissions.  People like Iole criticized St. Pierre for not throwing enough in combination to really finish Koscheck on the feet, but that is not really a part of St. Pierre's skill set.

As good as he is from distance, he doesn't really have the same ability to slip punches and hang around in the pocket like BJ Penn, Anderson Silva or even Frank Edgar, and that has very little to do with risk taking.

Of course, St. Pierre is avoiding a certain type of risk when he chooses not to stand in the pocket and throw in combination, but the other side of the coin is that a fighter like Silva, who is more adept at doing so isn't taking the same risk.  A real risk for Silva would be to try to win all of his fights via superior wrestling.

So no, the issue isn't about St. Pierre not taking risks—at least, not entirely.

While St. Pierre has the kind of skill set that allows him to completely dominate fights from bell to bell, those same skills may not be as conducive to finishing fights as the skills of someone like Anderson Silva, who has more finishing weapons, but who is far more likely to be spending 23 minutes lying underneath Chael Sonnen, praying for a minor miracle.


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