While Georges St-Pierre was the most dominant welterweight fighter during his reign as champion, he was also at the receiving end of major criticisms. But after his performance at UFC 217, his grappling mentor John Danaher believes all of those were finally addressed.
In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Danaher pointed out what he thought were the three major criticisms that were usually thrown at St-Pierre.
“It’s a huge thing to come back after four years, but if you come back why don’t you do something different – something that’s going to change your legacy?” Danaher said (via MMA Fighting). “We talked about it a little more and I said to him that there have always been three criticisms of your career.”
“The first is that you’re so controlling and tactical in your approach to fighting that it makes for boring fights. That’s always been a persistent criticism. The second is that you never fought up a weight class. You always fought guys at welterweight. The third is that you don’t finish fights.”
“Those are the three persistent criticisms of the legacy of Georges St-Pierre.”
Danaher says he, along with Firas Zahabi and Freddie Roach, came up with a game plan that was mainly focused on submissions, TKOs, knockouts and punching power, and getting the finish.
“We changed everything to submission holds, favoring strangulations from the back and leg locks,” Danaher said. “Georges made remarkable progress.”
“He started working with Freddie Roach on the mechanics of punching so he was hitting harder. He was sitting on his punches more and just working on the mechanical element of straightforwardly hitting harder with a strong emphasis on left hook, jab and straight rear hand.”
“He started working with a karate specialist who brought back the old, linear, in-and-out movement that Georges was so famous for in the early days of his career.”
Danaher feels the adjustments that they made in terms of preparation paid major dividends during the actual fight, and St-Pierre’s ability to go through it all while dealing with an illness was just icing on the cake.
“All three of the main criticisms of his legacy were answered in one fell swoop. It was a fantastic achievement on his part, made all the more remarkable by the fact that he had to go through such physical adversity in order to get it done.”