Mailbag: St. Pierre's dominance, Carwin vs. Lesnar and more
Georges St. Pierre dominated Dan Hardy but fell short of prefight expectations
It's only a matter of time before St. Pierre passes Matt Hughes as GOAT
Brock Lesnar would beat Shane Carwin because he's a bigger, better athlete
Two-thirds of the way through a hectic 10-day stretch for the UFC, four names stand out: Georges St. Pierre, Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones. SI.com's MMA readers responded in a big way via e-mail and Twitter:
I agree that GSP needs to finish, but the venom fans spit for a DOMINANT performance is unjustified. And pathetic.
Reaction to St. Pierre's win over Dan Hardy ran the gamut, from pure respect to abject boredom. I didn't sense any kind of hate, just disappointment. Bottom line, St. Pierre overwhelmed a top-10 fighter. He made Hardy look like a novice. Yet compared to expectations, which St. Pierre himself elevated throughout the promotion of the fight, the champ's effort came off as polite. As macabre as this sounds, an uptick in violence and no one would say a thing. Hardy just wasn't bloody enough for some people.
Hughes finished fights, GSP blankets ppl. Until GSP can combine positional dominance w/finishing subs, still not the GOAT WW.
I'm inclined to agree with you: for the moment Matt Hughes is the GOAT welterweight. But you know and I know and everyone knows it's only a matter of time before St. Pierre jumps to the top of that list.
GSP's legacy will be that he was super successful but played it safe. A lot like Floyd Mayweather.
If he fights the way he did against Hardy for the majority of his career -- and let's not forget GSP is just now entering his prime -- you're probably right. If the UFC can't make competitive fights for him, if he continues to wrestle first, then who knows how he'll be regarded. Dominant? Yes. Beloved? I don't think so. The best of all time? In MMA, that means you finish.
I would have less of a problem with him stylistically if I felt the fights were fairly matched. This was a bogus headliner.
This is how lopsided St. Pierre-Hardy was according to the good people at CompuStrike:
St. Pierre landed 130 of 187 punches compared to 22 of 59 from Hardy, none of which came while the Brit was standing.
G.S.P went 6-6 on kicks, while Hardy landed a respectable 2 of 4.
Takedowns were a farce. The champion scored on each of his nine attempts. Hardy didn't try one.
And, based on something CompuStrike calls "dominant positions" -- which must be stuff like side-mount, mount and back-control -- St. Pierre bested Hardy 16-0.
Was Hardy unworthy, or is GSP that good?
Considering what "Rush" did to B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Jon Fitch, the champion is competing at a level we haven't seen before. You can argue that Hardy didn't deserve a title shot based on his record in the UFC, but he didn't do any worse than the last few guys that had a shot.
Your opinion on a Daley/GSP fight sometime in the future: does he stand a better chance than Hardy?
I haven't seen anything from Daley that leads me to say yes. Daley, who trains with Hardy in the UK, has more pop and seems to be the better overall striker. But if he can't stay on his feet -- and he wouldn't be able to against St. Pierre -- those things don't matter much do they? Daley, also, isn't better at submission fighting than Hardy. GSP should be fighting Jake Shields, not a guy Shields owned in 2008.
How do you feel about that Fitch-Almeida fight that was previously scrapped serving as the next fight for both?
Let's see what happens with Thiago Alves. If the young Brazilian is cleared to fight again, and it sounds like that should happen, then the rematch with Fitch makes the most sense. Fitch-Almeida is fine, though it feels like a step back for the former Purdue wrestler. Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit fight in June -- the winner sounds about right for Almeida.
When it is it advantageous to relinquish back position to go for an armbar? Seemingly twice in the GSP-Hardy fight GSP went for the same move that looked to be a wise choice in fights like Palhares-Salaverry, but resulted in loss of position for GSP.
The armbar switch from back-control is a classic move, the kind you try when you feel you can get away with anything against an opponent. St. Pierre had it figured even if he missed, he could immediately force Hardy to his back again. Which is what happened. So it was an attempt to finish, but I don't see it as particularly risky.
Was it just me or does Shane Carwin's victory over Frank Mir remind you of Brock Lesnar's win at UFC 100? Who do you like for Carwin-Lesnar? What's next for Mir?
I tweeted during the fight that Carwin did to Mir on the feet what Lesnar did to Mir on the floor. Carwin planted Mir against the fence and worked the former UFC champion over on the inside. Instead of ground-and-pound it was stand-and-slam.
Since Lesnar-Carwin first seemed like a matchup worth noting, I predicted Lesnar would beat Carwin because he's the bigger, better athlete. People make the case that Lesnar hasn't fought anyone like Carwin. That cuts both ways.
As for Mir, he's at a crossroads. The former champion can continue to make money as a fighter. Maybe, since the UFC stubbornly refuses to put together Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, Mir could face the young Brazilian. It was Mir, you remember, who finished dos Santos' mentor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2008.
Thanks for reporting on Dream 13 and the situation between the UFC and Sherdog. I feel like too many journalists are not being critical enough of UFC/Dana White or asking the difficult questions that need to be addressed. Keep up the good work!
Two reporters I spoke with recently who are regularly credentialed to UFC and WEC events -- for point of clarity, I have not been since 2005 -- said they cannot pursue tough angles without fear of losing access.
That's just sad. On every conceivable level.
I would love the chance to interview Dana White. It's been a long time. He's welcome to come on my podcast whenever he wants for as long as he wants. The invite is out there.
Hi, Josh, I want to get your opinion on a Lyoto Machida vs Jon Jones fight. I know they are not going to fight anytime soon but if they were to fight in three months, who do you think would win and why? I have to say I was very impressed with Jones during his fight with Vera but I was not impressed with Machida after his fight with Shogun. I give Jones the advantage in athleticism,explosiveness,strength,and wrestling but I give the stand up and BJJ advantage to Machida. Who do you think would win and why?
Jones is a great talent and he puts people away, but I can't pick him to beat Lyoto Machida or Mauricio Rua right now. For one thing, Brandon Vera isn't as good as Machida or Rua, which makes it tough to extrapolate what Jones would do against a higher caliber of fighter. Jones will show what he's made of as he ups his competition. That's how it should work for a prospect of his talent. Dana White says three more fights and "Bones" is in the mix. That sounds about right.