The TRUTH About GSP
Let me start by saying that I used to really like watching GSP in his earlier fights before his TKO loss to Matt Serra. Since then, he has become a very predictable and boring fighter. I used to think he was a "fighter", but now realize that he is really just a "competitor". I'll explain the key differences a bit later. In addition to this, his career in the UFC has been mapped out by the executives that are looking to promote MMA, not only as just a mainstream sport, but a mainstream sport in Canada.
He is arguably the most conditioned fighter in MMA - I have never really seen this guy tired. He has a good standup game with quick hands and legs. He is an excellent wrestler and is able to keep his opponents down effectively. He is fairly tall for a welterweight (almost always taller than his opponent) and has long arms and legs for his height. But he is NOT a fighter. And a champion of any MMA organization should always be a fighter.
Maybe he lost his true fighting spirit after getting rocked by a seemingly 'light' punch by an opponent who has registered only 1 KO or TKO in his career (Serra), or maybe he never possessed it at all. It's hard to say. One thing's for sure: when you watch GSP matchups from here on, expect to see a 'competition', not a 'fight'.
Now it's not that I don't think GSP is effective in what he does. He's very effective. The problem I have with this is that he forces his opponents to wrestle and go to the ground, each and every time (after his loss to Serra) - regardless of who he is fighting. A true champion does not need to force his opponents to fight their fight - a true champion let's their opponent choose and finds the holes to defeat them. Examples of these so-called 'true champions' are Fedor, Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson.
Let's look at the 2 fights between GSP and BJ Penn. In the first fight GSP stood up with BJ throughout most of the fight (keep in mind this fight occurred BEFORE his loss to Serra). The fight was VERY close with GSP winning by split-decision. Although I agree with the decision, GSP's face looked badly beaten after the fight, whereas BJ's face didn't have a scratch on it. Now fast forward to their 2nd fight - GSP forces most of the fight to the ground for 4 rounds. I hear people saying that GSP 'dominated' BJ in that fight. If GSP 'dominated' and had his way with BJ, why couldn't he finish BJ? For those that don't know, BJ was too tired to fight the 5th round. This would suggest that BJ was VERY tired in rounds 3 & 4. GSP had 2 rounds of a dead tired lightweight and couldn't finish him off.
The UFC has expressed that they are interested in holding events in Canada. Canada has proven to be a breeding ground for MMA fighters and the UFC identifies the opportunities in marketing to the Canadian fans. The event held in Montreal was one of the fastest, if not THE fastest, sellouts in UFC history. The UFC has expressed that they will continue to try to have an event held in Toronto, however, have not been able to pass the province's guidelines.
It has become very obvious that the UFC has paved the path for GSP to not only become champion, but also remain champion. After suffering his first loss to Matt Hughes, he had only 1 notable victory (BJ Penn) which he won on a split-decision. The other 3 fights were against Jason Miller (no longer in the UFC), Sean Sherk (a natural lightweight) and Frank Trigg. Do these sound like the type of victories that would consitute a rematch with Matt Hughes for the belt? Despite that, he got the rematch.
In GSP's very first fight after obtaining the belt, he sufferred a KO loss to Matt Serra in the 1st round. Now, there was nothing contraversial about Serra's win over GSP - it was a legitimate stoppage. Why is it then that the next person Serra ends up fighting after obtaining the belt is GSP again? It doesn't add up. Rampage lossed his belt to Forrest Griffin in a VERY contraversial decision, however, the next person Griffin fought after obtaining the belt was NOT Rampage, despite the fact that Rampage had beaten both Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine after he had lossed the belt. Again, it doesn't add up. One more thing to note: why did GSP (the challenger) get to fight Serra (the champion) in GSP's hometown?
The bottom line is that the UFC ensured that GSP won the title and is making every effort for him to retain it. Let's look at who's he's fought since he won his belt back:
Jon Fitch - I don't think it's a secret that Fitch is over-rated. Almost all of his wins have come via decision. Has little to no power in his striking.
BJ Penn - Let's face it. BJ is a lightweight.
Thiago Alves - Has already lossed to Fitch - in fact, he's the only person to be KO'd by Fitch. Only notable win was against Josh Koscheck in a fight that Koscheck took with something like 2 weeks notice - and Alves had to go to a decision to win.
GSP's next fight is with Dan Hardy. 3 out of 4 of Hardy's wins have come via decision, one of them being a split-decision over Marcus Davis. The trend here is that the UFC will only matchup GSP with fighters that don't pose as a threat to KO GSP. If he does beat Hardy, his next matchup will be with anyone except: Paul Daley or Anthony Johnson. Ask yourself, who would you like to see GSP fight over Daley or Johnson?
Maybe that's why GSP has announced that he may give up MMA and try to get onto the Canadian olympic team as a wrestler. Maybe after Hardy his 'protection' time is over and the UFC knows they need to put on more exciting fights to compete with Strikeforce. It's funny when Dana White was asked about his thoughts on GSP leaving the UFC, White had nothing bad to say. Yet when Rampage announced that he was leaving to pursue another career White insulted Rampage brutally.
GSP was used by the UFC as a promotion tool. His physique and 'all around nice guy' attitude helps promote MMA as a sport and his Canadian background is helping the UFC break into the Canadian market.
Try this: rank the MMA fighters that you would like to see fight (assuming that they're fighting a top 5 opponent in their respective weight classes)
Here's my top 10:
#1 - Fedor E.
#2 - Rampage Jackson
#3 - Brock Lesnar
#4 - Vitor Belfort
#5 - Anderson Silva
#6 - Dan Henderson
#7 - BJ Penn
#8 - Shogun
#9 - Junior Dos Sontos
#10 - Lyoto Machida
I honestly am not sure if GSP would crack the top 20 for me.
I have nothing against GSP. He seems like a very nice and humble guy. He is extremely athletic and has unbelievable stamina. I wish him all the best in his quest to become an olympian. At the same time, I will be very happy to see a new welterweight champion in the UFC - hopefully one that I can call a 'true' champion.