Georges St. Pierre Joins Forces with Dan Hardy for Title Defense
Georges St. Pierre wrote,
“Guess who landed in town yesterday night to come train with me? For sure he’ll bring the much needed intensity to get prepared…Dan Hardy!!!”
In March 2010, Georges St. Pierre defended his Welterweight Title against Dan Hardy in a match the British superstar is still recovering from. Hardy is one of the most passionate and intense fighters in the division and even in the face of defeat, has continued to press forward, continued to fight. Things have changed since losing to St. Pierre. Hardy first faced Carlos Condit, a fighter very similar to himself who happened to land his punch a split second sooner, knocking “the Outlaw” unconscious. Hardy then returned to face Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, but refusing to engage the heavy handed Brit, Johnson used his wrestling and size to simply hold Hardy down and decision, admitting after the lackluster fight,
“I’m kinda disappointed in myself because I like to finish fights… I wanted to finish the fight but in reality I just needed the win. After being out for a year and some change I needed to get back into the groove of things and just get the win, I didn’t need to go for the knockout or a submission.”
Hardy once again returned to face fan favorite Chris Lylte in what would be his retirement match. Hardy was noticeably not himself before the fight. He had a much softer physical figure and didn’t seem as prepared as usual. The fight however was a fantastic one that earned Fight of the Night honors and both men were willing have an actual fight. Unfortunately, late in the 3rd round, Lylte surprised Hardy with a takedown and caught him with a guillotine to finish the fight. Having lost his last 4 fights yet still with the UFC, Hardy vowed not to return until some major improvements have been made.
GSP has since defended his title successfully against Jake Shields and Josh Koscheck. St. Pierre has drawn some criticism for not finishing fights, 6 of his last 10 have gone to decision. Looking at his last 5 decision victories, Georges faces Jon Fitch in a fight where most of this criticism started. GSP consistently dropped Fitch on the feet and was even able to out wrestle him. Once on the ground GSP beat Fitch up so bad he was near unrecognizable after the fight. However most people just remember the fight as a ground battle which is considered boring. GSP then demoralizes BJ Penn, forcing BJ’s corner to stop the fight resulting in a TKO. He then faces the most dangerous striker in the division in Thiago Alves. Staying out danger, GSP gives Alves similar to what he gave Fitch. Next up is Dan Hardy, once on the ground, GSP nearly breaks Hardy’s arm with a kimura and almost ends the fight with an armbar, but his knees weren’t tight enough, earning him another decision. Then, he faces a wrestler in Josh Koscheck. From the very beginning, St. Pierre breaks Koscheck’s orbital bone with a jab and picks him apart for the remainder of the fight knowing he has the fight won.
Against Jake Shields, is where GSP may deserve the most criticism. St. Pierre’s repertoire consisted of a jab, a spinning side-kick and an overhand right. Both men had terrible gameplans. Shields hoped GSP would initiate the takedown if he tried to engage in a clinch. GSP hoped that he could force Shields in throwing a lazy kick that he could counter with the overhand right. Early in the fight, Shields landed a strike that blinded GSP’s right eye for the rest of the fight, forcing him to fight very conservatively resulting in another decision.
So now, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is set to square off against fellow Team Jackson fighter, Carlos Condit. Condit is aggressive, a bit wreckless, has heavy hands and in dangerous on the ground. GSP will have no choice but to engage Condit and hopefully get the highlight finish he and his critics so crave. In preparation GSP has made a wise decision in reaching out to none other than Dan “the Outlaw” Hardy as a training partner who can mirror Condit perfectly, who has prepared for and fought Condit and who isn’t afraid to get in GSP’s face during sparring. Having “the Outlaw” as a resource for this fight is going to make Georges St. Pierre very dangerous.
Hardy is eying a return in early 2012 and after training with GSP, “the Outlaw” could certainly realize his full potential and become the Welterweight Champion he so deserves to be.
“I can see why George is the champ, he has a great team around him. I’ve done one session and I’m already learning a lot.” -Dan Hardy, 9/28/11
UFC 137 takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada October 29th and features Welterweight Contender Match, BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz.