Is it the most-important fight in UFC history? Probably not, but in some ways it comes close. Is it the biggest fight in UFC history? It’s probably not that either, although it is up there. So what is the UFC 129 main event, the fight that pits Georges St. Pierre against Jake Shields for the UFC Welterweight Championship in front of over 55,000 fans? It’s certainly an important fight, that’s for sure. And regardless of what the current betting odds say, this is a fight that I think both men could win. And I’m going to try and explain why with this, the latest entry into my series “5 Reasons Why”. Up first for today’s two-parter are the five reasons why Georges St. Pierre could beat Jake Shields.
5. Georges St. Pierre will have 55,000 screaming Canadians cheering him on.
Whenever Georges St. Pierre fights in Canada, he’s guaranteed the largest reaction of the night while also nearly single-handedly guaranteeing the UFC a sellout. Without hyperbole, I think a few cageside fans may go a little deaf after the 55,000 in the Rogers Centre are done cheering for GSP during his initial walk-out. GSP always brings out his best when he fights in Canada, and that may have something to do with the fact that he’s got an entire country on his side when he fights in Canada.
4. Georges St. Pierre will have a significant size and strength advantage.
Jake Shields has competed at Middleweight before, there’s no denying that. There’s also no denying that he’s had some very successful runs at Middleweight. But here’s a question for you: did Jake Shields ever really look natural at Middleweight, especially compared to Georges St. Pierre? GSP has always looked like a freak of nature at Welterweight, and that’s going to give him a pretty big advantage over Shields.
3. Jake Shields has never been much of a puncher.
A lot of people complain that Georges St. Pierre has been going to a decision a lot recently, but he’s still (T)KO’d eight people throughout his career. Jake Shields has (T)KO’d a grand total of… three. GSP has more striking stoppages in fewer fights, and for those complaining about decisions, GSP has been to a decision eight times to Shields’ thirteen. Georges St. Pierre is and always will be a finisher, and his ever-improving striking is a big weapon against Shields.
2. Only one person has ever submitted Georges St. Pierre… Matt Hughes, one of the best Welterweight MMA fighters of all time.
It’s true that Jake Shields is a very good submission-based fighter. I’ll go one step further: he’s one of the few fighters I actually consider a “submission artist”, and that’s a term I absolutely do not throw about loosely. I’m not doubting Jake’s great ground game… I’m just saying that Georges St. Pierre has no equal when it comes to the ground game. Especially in his last few fights, he’s ran circles on the ground against people like Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves, and even BJ Penn. Shields may have a great ground game, but St. Pierre’s ground game is nothing short of astounding.
And the number-one reason why I think Georges St. Pierre could beat Jake Shields is…
1. It’s Georges St. Pierre. That’s really all that needs to be said.
Try to list off all the achievements that Georges St. Pierre has garnered throughout his career, try and count all the awards he’s won. We’d be here all day. Try and look at some of the man’s training videos and not marvel at how intensely he trains for a fight. It’s impossible not to respect Georges St. Pierre. Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, I consider GSP one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. And the thing that’s so awesome that it’s almost scary? The man isn’t even thirty years old yet. The simple fact that GSP is who he is… that’s definitely the number-one reason why I think he could beat Jake Shields.
So that’s it for the first part of today’s two-parter, fans and friends. Stay tuned for the follow-up, it’ll be up soon. But for now: do you think GSP will beat Jake Shields? Why or why not?