Ahead of his ninth title defense against Johny Hendricks, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, who has been the undisputed title holder in the division since 2008, took note of Anderson Silva’s knockout loss to the new UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman.
While GSP noted that he was not surprised that Weidman was able to pull off the win over Silva, he said the upset victory made him realize how imperative it is to not take what he has for granted.
At UFC 162, Chris Weidman dethroned Anderson Silva from reigning as the UFC Middleweight Champion. It was the first time anyone had ever finished Silva in the UFC, the first time he was ever knocked out in his career, and the first time the belt changed hands in seven years.
St-Pierre spoke to reporters at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the UFC’s 2013 World Tour and discussed how important it is to avoid becoming complacent to remain champion.
“I still believe Anderson Silva is the best in the world pound-for-pound. It’s a mistake he made. He got beat by Chris Weidman,” said St-Pierre. “I believe it was a style match-up and he got caught. I believe he’s the best in the world. Even the best can lose sometimes. When I saw that fight, you know, of course Chris Weidman is my friend and training partner, I was cheering for him and I thought he was going to win because the style match-up and he was very well prepared. But it made me realize when I was watching that fight that even the best can lose sometimes.”
“It made me realize that what I got, I’m the world champion now – it can go away in the blink of an eye,” St-Pierre continued. “If I don’t pay attention, one punch, one submission, one mistake, and it can change the whole thing. It made me realize that I need to work very hard to maintain what I have. It gave me that motivation. It kind of woke me up a little bit.”
“As much as I feel happy for Chris because it cannot happen to a better man than Chris Weidman, it woke me up to see Anderson falling like this. As much as I feel happy for Chris, I feel sad for Anderson. It can happen to anybody.”
At UFC 167 on November 16, St-Pierre will look to notch his twelfth straight victory to keep his record of longest running winning streak in the welterweight division going. He was crowned the Interim Champion in 2007 with a win over Matt Hughes. At UFC 83, he became the undisputed welterweight title holder when he TKO’d Matt Serra. The 32-year-old Canadian native, who trains out of Tri Star in Montreal, said part of competing at an elite level inside the Octagon starts with a solid training camp.
“I find different guys that have a similar style of my opponent. I try to change things in my training and get better all the time,” St-Pierre said.
Johny Hendricks will be GSP’s next opponent. The former four-time All-American Oklahoma State University wrestler is known for his devastating power left that can put his opponents to sleep. Georges said part of being able to have longevity as a champion is being able to avoid powerful shots. Though he’s only seen two losses in his professional MMA career, Georges admitted that sometimes no matter how hard you train or prepare for an opponent, nobody is indestructible.
“Basically, the law of fighting is the one you don’t see coming, that’s what’ll hurt you,” St-Pierre stated. “It’s not really sometimes the power of the punch. Look at the fight with Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. The hook that caught Anderson Silva didn’t seem to be like a very powerful hook, but he knocked out Anderson because he didn’t see it coming. He didn’t see it at all and he came from the side. Same thing with a kick. When Carlos Condit hit me with his kick, and the punch with Matt Serra, the first punch that rocked me, it was a looping punch that I didn’t see coming. And Carlos Condit same thing, it was a kick that I didn’t see coming…I never saw it coming and that’s what hurts you.”
UFC 167 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 16 in Las Vegas. St-Pierre will trade leather with Johny Hendricks in the main event for the UFC Welterweight Championship.