St. Pierre dominated Josh Koscheck for 25 minutes Saturday night at UFC 124, retaining the UFC welterweight championship with a unanimous decision victory that all three judges scored in St. Pierre's favor, 50-45. St. Pierre has been working with the renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach, and it clearly paid off, as St. Pierre used his boxing to a greater extent than ever before in his career.
"Josh Koscheck likes to throw his punch circular, and me, I'm a straight puncher," St. Pierre said afterward. "So the issue was to keep him on the outside."
Ever the perfectionist, St. Pierre also said he regretted that he didn't finish Koscheck. But this was, in its own way, just as brilliant a performance as any first-round knockout.
His right eye almost swollen shut, Koscheck said afterward that he was just honored to fight the best in the business.
"Georges St. Pierre is a true champion," Koscheck said. "St. Pierre is the man tonight."
St. Pierre took the center of the cage, landed a couple of jabs and took Koscheck down just 20 seconds into the first round. Koscheck, however, was an excellent college wrestler who's comfortable on the ground, and he got right back up without taking any damage at all. The second and third times GSP went for a takedown, Koscheck stuffed it nicely and stayed on his feet. But St. Pierre was landing left jabs successfully, and Koscheck had blood and bruising on his right eye within a few minutes.
Koscheck couldn't get much going offensively in the first round: He swung hard with his right hand only to have St. Pierre duck under it, and he went for a takedown only to have St. Pierre plant his back against the cage and stay standing. Koscheck did finally get St. Pierre on his back with about 15 seconds to go in the first round, but by that point it was clear that St. Pierre had won the round.
In the second round St. Pierre could see that Koscheck's right eye was badly hurt, and St. Pierre went on the attack, throwing a superman punch, left jabs and a left high kick. Late in the round Koscheck started to mix up his striking, and he landed a good uppercut, but it was a second round that St. Pierre won handily.
In the first minute of the third round St. Pierre went for another takedown and was stuffed again. Koscheck showed off some tremendous takedown defense, as St. Pierre has some of the best takedowns in the sport. But in the stand-up department, St. Pierre continued to control the fight. He landed jabs and inside leg kicks at will, and Koscheck just had no answer with his own striking.
Early in the fourth round St. Pierre went on the attack in the striking, then secured a takedown and got Koscheck's back. Koscheck, however, maintained his composure and actually had a chance at a leg lock submission before St. Pierre pulled free as they went back to their feet. Once again, St. Pierre controlled the stand-up, and by the end of the fourth round it was clear that St. Pierre led four rounds to none.
In the fifth round it would have been easy for St. Pierre to play it safe, but instead he fought like a champion, continuing to connect with jabs to Koscheck's bloodied and bruised face. St. Pierre continued to dominate the fifth and knew as soon as the final horn sounded that he had won.
St. Pierre was fighting in his hometown of Montreal and was greeted by a loud ovation. Koscheck played up his role as the villain in this fight, and he was greeted by a loud chorus of boos. But the fight ended with Koscheck and St. Pierre hugging, putting all the pre-fight trash talk behind them. Koscheck knew he had been beaten by the best in the world.