clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

GSP: 'You Can't Always Win by Knockout or Submission'

People disagree about the order, but just about everyone who follows mixed martial arts agrees that the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the sport are Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. Which order you put them in is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.

I put them in that order -- Fedor first, then Silva, then GSP -- mostly because I prefer fighters who finish fights, and Fedor has finished everyone he's fought for more than four years running. Silva usually finishes opponents -- except when he deems his opponents beneath him, as he did in his last two middleweight title fights. And then there's St. Pierre, who is a brilliant fighter in the way he methodically dominates his opponents, but who always seems content to win decisions.

I mention all this because St. Pierre was a guest on the Jim Rome show on Thursday, and Rome asked St. Pierre a great question about whether it's enough simply to win, or whether St. Pierre needs to win fights a certain way.

"I fight smart," St. Pierre said (audio here). "I'm not going to take a chance if I don't have to. If I know I'm going to win I'm going to do it and my goal is to win and take my opponent out and that's what I'm going to do every time."

Rome followed up with St. Pierre and noted that there are high expectations among fans, and that some fans will come away disappointed by a decision, even if it's the kind of dominant decision that St. Pierre delivered against Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Dan Hardy.

"The expectations are always very high but you can't always win by knockout or submission," St. Pierre said. "I came very close last time, but sometimes it's very hard."

In theory I agree with St. Pierre -- in MMA or any other sport, the object is simply to win the competition. There are no style points. In football you can win with the T-formation or you can win with the spread offense. In basketball you can win with the Paul Westhead fast break or you can win with the Dean Smith four corners. And in MMA you can win by knocking your opponent out in under a minute, or you can win by taking your opponent down and controlling him on the ground for 25 minutes.

And yet in practice, I must confess that I wish I could see just a little bit more of a killer instinct from St. Pierre. As great a fighter as GSP already is, becoming more of a finisher is what could make him the greatest fighter of them all.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting