The mental aspect of fighting is just as important as the physical. Just ask former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
“I became champion, I beat the greatest welterweight in the world back in the day that was Matt Hughes, who seems to be invincible back in the day and I beat him. So now I become the new greatest thing in the sport and everybody tells me how great I am and stuff and I started to believe in my own hype,” St-Pierre revealed when speaking to Joe Buck on “Undeniable” (transcribed by FOX Sports).
“The next opponent is Matt Serra, a guy that came from a reality show back in the day. He was a veteran in the UFC but nobody really gave him a chance against me. So I’m going to fight this guy that basically everybody tells me that I’m going to walk through him and I start kind of believing in my own hype.”
“Rush” said that in believing all the hype in himself, he felt like he could coast his way through his fight.
“I train but I don’t show the same intensity and I start to believe it’s going to be an easy fight until the night of the fight, they come to pick me up in my locker room, I remember how it happened,” St-Pierre explained. “The guy comes in the locker room, it’s my turn to fight, he walked in the door ‘St-Pierre you’re up next are you ready?’ and when he asked me this question ‘are you ready?’, I said to myself ‘shoot, now I’m not ready’.
“I should have put more into this and now mentally I got broken. As I’m walking to the Octagon, if you see that fight, I’m walking and I’m like ‘(expletive) I’m really not ready for this’. Now I’m doing the opposite of what I should do to boost myself and walk like it’s impossible to fail. Now I’m walking like (expletive) I’m going to a funeral or something.”
It took Matt Serra just 3:25 to TKO St-Pierre to become a UFC world champion.
“Now it’s the humiliation. The biggest humiliation of my life,” St-Pierre said. “Even the odds were like 11-to-1. It was crazy. It was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, maybe the biggest one. I’m not too proud about it.”
GSP said that Matt Serra was on the opposite side of the hype surrounding the bout, but still went in with the confidence to get him the win.
“I give credit to Matt Serra because probably on his side, probably people used to tell him the same thing ‘oh you’re going to get killed’ and he didn’t care and he believed in himself and he beat me fair and square and it was just a great learning experience for me,” St-Pierre said.
It was a learning experience indeed as the loss to Serra would be the last time Georges St-Pierre would be defeated, going on a 12-fight win streak and then stepping away from the sport of mixed martial arts in 2013.
“When I lost to Matt Hughes I learned to never overestimate someone but then in my second loss I learned to never underestimate someone,” St-Pierre said. “So there is a middle range that you should keep your opponent into.”