John Danaher Reveals Georges St-Pierre’s Private Struggle Up to Middleweight

Georges St-Pierre Dana White

After four long years, Georges St-Pierre decided to come back to the UFC and challenge himself once again. He didn’t step back into the security blanket of his old division, now overrun with a new breed of challengers, instead he decided to move up to middleweight. It was a shift that was talked about his entire career, but St-Pierre always said such a big jump would take time, something GSP didn’t have with a revolving door of challengers. The experiment was a success. St-Pierre choked out Michael Bisping to become the new UFC middleweight champion, but the fight was just half of the battle according to coach John Danaher.

“Experiment with mixed results: The victory by welterweight Georges St-Pierre at middleweight to gain a new world title was a bold experiment with a truly great result, but was not without its problems. The fundamental problem was always going to be size. Mr. St-Pierre always walked into the Octagon around 189 pounds on fight night throughout his career. This made him a very averaged sized Welterweight. In order to move up to middleweight, Mr. St-Pierre took on a nutritional program designed to facilitate weight gain and hold weight during the rigors of a full fight camp. The result was a disaster. Two weeks into camp he developed severe stomach pains and vomiting. Initially it was suspected that he had an illness, but all tests came back negative.”

“The situation deteriorated to the point that for two weeks of a six week camp there was no training at all. At a critical point we gave him a two day window to either get back in the gym or call off the fight. The first grappling workout he had he vomited heavily prior to workout and then went to work. The next day he had the worst standing sparring session I have ever seen him have. Finally the stomach issue issue resolved itself to a degree where he could train satisfactorily and the workouts improved dramatically — though the vomiting continued all the way up to the day of the fight. He was eating so much more than usual in an attempt to keep weight on and stay close to 200 pounds.”

Georges St-Pierre was throwing up all the way up until the day of the fight. The change in his diet affected him so much that yesterday on The MMA Hour, St-Pierre told Ariel Helwani that he’s on one-day-on, one-day-off fasting cycles. The most interesting information about all of this, is that despite undergoing a gargantuan effort to fight at a higher weight, St-Pierre walked into the cage at UFC 217 at about the same weight he fought at when he was a welterweight. The clip of St-Pierre being shocked about his low weight on UFC’s Embedded series leading up to the fight takes on a whole new meaning now. All of this just goes to show you how meticulous and challenging it was for St-Pierre to move up. Whether he will be willing to endure it all again is the question on everyone’s minds.

“When he went through the final weight cut the big question was, would he return to his bigger size? The answer was a resounding no. On fight night he weighed in at 190.5 — almost identical to his usual fight weight as a welterweight. The great effort to increase size just didn’t work out and Mr. St-Pierre went in to win the title as a mid-sized Welterweight. It seems his body just finds a comfort zone around 190 pounds for fighting after a weight cut and no amount of work to change that has any effect. It’s one thing to gain weight, it’s another to do so through a fight camp culminating in a weight cut and then regain the weight. It seems his body has an optimal weight for athletic performance which cannot be drastically changed.” — via John Danaher’s official Instagram

This article first appeared on on 11/10/2017

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