COMMENTARY | Ever since Matt Serra shocked the world with his upset victory against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69, many have questioned the Canadian's ability to overcome adversity.
The criticism wasn't unfounded, considering the fact GSP has been a lot more cautious inside the Octagon since then, utilizing a wrestling-heavy style to minimize the risk of getting caught again.
The change in tactics has certainly worked well for GSP, and no one has been able to figure out how to defeat him since his TKO loss to Serra. However, it did change the way some MMA enthusiasts view him as a champion, as he went from being one of the exciting fighters in the promotion, to a safety first fighter who refuses to take any risks inside the Octagon.
When St. Pierre's eye took some damage during the third round of his UFC 129 fight against Jake Shields, he panicked a bit during the break. Greg Jackson was able to help him regain his focus, but it didn't go unnoticed by hardcore fans, intensifying the chain of thought that GSP might not be as mentally tough as some of the other great champions in the UFC.
Until his UFC 154 unification bout against then interim welterweight champion, Carlos Condit, many MMA fans still thought GSP would break under the pressure, when he eventually found himself in a disadvantageous position during a fight.
After dominating the first two rounds of his UFC 154 encounter against Carlos Condit, GSP finally got a chance to show MMA fans how much he's evolved since his loss to Serra.
Carlos caught GSP flush with a head-kick, dropping him to the canvas. Condit followed up with a vicious salvo of elbows, and for a moment, it looked like GSP was done. However, Georges proved that he's no longer the same guy who tapped out due to strikes against Serra, absorbing everything Condit had to dish out. He eventually made his way back to his feet, and he regained control of the fight during the final two rounds, easily winning the unanimous decision.
Many MMA fans were hoping to see GSP finally get a stoppage, after winning four consecutive fights via decision, but his performance at UFC 154 was impressive nonetheless, especially given his 18-month layoff. GSP solidified his role as the greatest welterweight champion in the promotion's history, and he proved that he's as mentally tough as it gets in the UFC.
With GSP's triumphant return at UFC 154, many MMA fans hope a super-fight against current middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be his next move.
However, holding one's breath for the highly anticipated super-fight wouldn't be a smart idea.
During the UFC 154 post-fight press conference, GSP didn't seem interested in a fight against "The Spider." At times, "Rush" seemed irritated by the constant questions about Silva, and he refused to commit himself to the fight.
"I haven't even came back yet, I'm fighting Carlos Condit, and everybody talk to me about Anderson Silva." GSP fired back when asked about a potential fight against Silva. "This is disrespectful to me, disrespectful to my opponent. … Right now I just finish my fight, I need to recompose and think about it. I got hit a lot on the head, I need [to take] a break and think about it."
With fighters like Johny Hendricks -- who needed only 46 seconds to knockout Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 -- lurking around the corner, GSP will be in for another tough test the next time he steps inside the Octagon. Regardless of who the Canadian decides to take on next, it won't be an easy fight, but it'll probably end up bringing out the best in the greatest welterweight champion in the history of the UFC.
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