By all accounts, Georges St-Pierre is the most talented, most accomplished welterweight in mixed martial arts' short history. And it's not really that close. Let's say a race of strictly 170-pound aliens invade the Earth, and we have to pick one man to battle their champion in an even fight with the fate of the world at stake. Wouldn't a prime GSP be right at the top of the list?
Yet, despite this, St-Pierre's reputation is nowhere near what it once was. Five of his last six title defenses have gone to decision -- including four straight -- leading the once ferocious finisher to now be widely dismissed as a champion who plays it safe. But the thing is, St-Pierre knows this. He hears it everyday. And after sitting out 17 months on the sideline, the constant weight of public opinion seems to have awaken an old competitive flame inside of him.
"I want to finish because of the criticism," St-Pierre declared in an interview with the Toronto Sun.
"I've listened to the critics and I want to become more opportunistic. ... When I see an opportunity, I don't need to overthink it and I need to go for it."
St-Pierre, who is now fully recovered from last year's devastating knee injury, went to explain why he's struggled in the past when it comes to finishing his opponents, and why things are going to be different this time around against Carlos Condit.
"Sometimes, when you break a guy mentally, he doesn't fight to win anymore," the champ admitted. "He fights to not lose and to survive. That minimizes the opportunity for him to be finished. And that's what's happening in a lot of my fights and it's hard to finish a guy who doesn't fight to win.
"I can make up a bunch of excuses, but the truth is I'm fighting the best guys all the time and it's tough competition. ... I'm working a lot more on being more opportunistic and it's going to pay off, I'm sure."
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St-Pierre talks criticism, finishes. Speaking with the Toronto Sun, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre said he has "listened to the critics" and as a result wants to "become more opportunistic" when looking for fight-ending finishes.
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Silva historic favorite over Bonnar. As expected, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva opened as a massive favorite over Stephan Bonnar in the early betting lines for UFC 153. Silva is currently listed at -1350, meaning a bet of $1,350 would be required to earn a $100 payout.
Belcher vs. Okami. A middleweight rematch, Alan Belcher vs Yushin Okami, is being targeted for the fight card of UFC 155. Belcher and Okami previously fought at UFC 62, where Okami claimed a unanimous decision win in the promotional debuts of both men.
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Never has this video seemed more appropriate than it does now.
Chael Sonnen's spinning backfist may have gone poorly, but at least it didn't go this poorly.
I have no idea what Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame has to do with MMA, but here he is talking about MMA. Sort of.
Rashad Evans (@SugaRashadEvans) September 11, 2012
CHATTING WITH THE BOSS
@princechivalry he is a other level of dumb!!— Dana White (@danawhite) September 13, 2012
@xbigmannx can't make the weight dickhead— Dana White (@danawhite) September 13, 2012
@_cartolafc Lyoto hurt his knee— Dana White (@danawhite) September 13, 2012
I went to the sites search type in hall of fame my name came up first. @ufc— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) September 13, 2012
Announced yesterday (Thursday, September 13, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from FightFansRadio, who writes: Why Vinny Magalhães is a UFC Role Model
Out of all the UFC fighters cut from the promotion in the last few years, is there anyone that's had as amazing an adventure as Vinny Magalhães?
No. Not by a long shot.
In fact, the Ultimate Fighter: Mir vs. Nogueria standout should be a role model for any athlete who finds themselves being handed a pink slip by Zuffa. Not only is Magalhães triumphantly returning to the UFC, but he's doing so as part of a huge fight card, one of the biggest this year in both raw talent and promotional muscle.
But what makes Magalhães' return to the fold so special is the way he's managed to raise his profile in the time he's been fighting his way back. All other former UFC "veterans" trying to make it back to the fold should just follow this blueprint.
1: Fight (and Beat) Good Opponents
Although it's easy to inflate a win streak by beating up overmatched journeymen, no one will take you seriously if you're demolishing cans.
That's why Magalhães' 7-1 record following his loss to Elliot Marshall actually looks pretty good-most of the guys he beat were decent fighters coming off winning streaks. Heck, in his last fight, M-1 Global practically threw a stylistic nightmare at their reluctant champion just to get their light heavyweight title belt off of him.
Speaking of which, that brings us to the next guideline.
2: Earn Yourself a Championship Belt
Even though a championship belt doesn't really mean anything rankings-wise outside of the UFC, being a promotion's top dog is never a negative. As a pro fighter, most regional championships look good on your resume. Plus, it doesn't hurt your image in the least to have extra belts lining your gym's wall or trophy case.
John "Doomsday" Howard and Kendall Grove know this rule, too. Both fighters are outside the UFC looking in, but at least they've each got some new hardware to show for their recent efforts.
3: Keep Your Name in the Headlines
However, it's what Magalhães did with the M-1 Light Heavyweight Title that drew the most MMA media coverage, when he put it up for sale on eBay. That's genius-level self promotion, especially when you're trying to catch the UFC's attention.
(Of course, it also helps that Magalhães also stayed active on the grappling circuit, competing against the likes of Fabricio Werdum and Braulio Estima.)
If you're trying to get Dana White or Joe Silva to return your calls, keeping your name in the news is just as important as winning. Just don't go the Junie Browning route by becoming an international fugitive and pissing off an entire country.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.