In simply his eighth professional struggle, effectively earlier than the world knew he was going to be a legend, Georges St-Pierre had a UFC title shot.
It could sound weird now, practically 17 years after he first challenged Matt Hughes for the welterweight title, however St-Pierre was scared. And it was extra than simply nerves or pre-fight jitters. St-Pierre mentioned he was “scared to death” to get within the cage with Hughes at UFC 50.
“In my third fight (in the UFC), I had to fight Matt Hughes,” St-Pierre informed Burt Watson within the newest “Legend 2 Legend” episode. “And when Dana White told me I was fighting for the title, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t believe it. And to tell you frankly, I didn’t want that fight. I was scared to death. I didn’t want to fight him. I knew I wasn’t ready.”
St-Pierre tapped to Hughes with one second left within the first spherical after Hughes caught him with an armbar. It was St-Pierre’s first profession loss.
St-Pierre mentioned that preliminary loss to Hughes helped him understand he may flip the nook. After that, he received 5 fights in a row and bought one other shot at Hughes at UFC 65, and there he knocked him out to win the belt. He misplaced the title to Matt Serra in one of many greatest upsets in MMA historical past his subsequent day trip, however after that by no means misplaced the remainder of his profession – and received the welterweight title again and, ultimately, the middleweight title, too.
“I fought him. I hung there a little bit until I got caught with an armbar,” he mentioned. “But after I watched the fight, I realized my problem was just mental. I went there to fight him not to win – I went there not to lose. After that fight, I said, ‘You know what? I can be there with the best guys in the world. I can beat anybody.’”
St-Pierre mentioned his concern of Hughes was as a result of on the time, he was some of the dominant fighters within the sport – and had a dominant pair of wins over a legend from St-Pierre’s dwelling nation of Canada.
When Hughes first beat St-Pierre, he was 37-4 general and 10-2 within the UFC. The elite-level wrestler had a resume stuffed with ground-and-pound TKOs, submissions – and a legendary slam to win the welterweight title.
“It was a nightmare for me,” St-Pierre mentioned of the primary Hughes matchup. “People typically don’t keep in mind how scary Matt Hughes was. He used to seize guys and throw them on their heads. He was a scary man to struggle. He had some loopy spotlight reels.
“One of the pioneers of martial arts in Canada was Carlos Newton. He was the first (Canadian) champion in the UFC. For most martial arts people at the time, he was like a god. And Matt Hughes grabbed Carlos Newton from a triangle choke, stood up with him and slammed him and knocked him out – one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history.”
Check out the video above for St-Pierre’s recollection of his first struggle with Hughes, and don’t miss the complete episode of “Legend 2 Legend” under.