It's been nearly three years since a fight that involved Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre ended early.
"Rush" -- who company president Dana White hails as the promotion's top box office draw -- has competed four times since making B.J. Penn quit on his stool back at UFC 94 in Jan. 2009. And each of those fights -- Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields -- has ended in his favor via unanimous decision.
Besides breaking Koscheck's eye orbital and threatening "The Outlaw" with several solid submission attempts, St. Pierre has turned in solid, albeit predictable, performances. It's been described as a "safe" strategy, which, according to Perry Lefko at Canada's SportsNet.ca, leaves much to be desired from one of the supposed top athletes in sports today.
So much so, in fact, that St. Pierre has made the not-so-hot "Most Overhyped Athletes of 2011" short list alongside Kris Humphries, Tiger Woods, Danica Patrick, Lebron James, Tim Tebow, Alexander Ovechkin, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Yu Darvish and Andrew Luck.
Lefko makes his case for the overhyped St. Pierre after the jump:
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said in December 2011 that St-Pierre is still the most popular athlete in Canada in terms of his international recognition -- we're not so sure about that -- but the welterweight champion is sidelined indefinitely with damaged knee ligaments. And even before his injury, St-Pierre was taking verbal shots from the public, the media and fighters for his inability to put away opponents. He grabbed the international spotlight in April for headlining the first UFC card in Toronto, producing GSP mania. A record UFC crowd of more than 55,000 packed the Rogers Centre to finally see the conquering Canadian hero and he went the full five rounds with Jake Shields in what was more of a clinic on how not to lose a fight than actually win it. Yes, GSP had problems seeing out of one eye because of a shot in the fight, but we've seen fighters with far bigger issues turn it up a notch. It was boring at best and continued a pattern of St-Pierre going the full distance without delivering the knockout blow or submission. Heck, the fight before it on the card was way more entertaining than the main event.
St. Pierre only competed once in 2011, defending his 170-pound strap against the aforementioned Shields in the UFC 129 main event before a raucous Canadian crowd in Toronto back in April. He was supposed to fight Nick Diaz -- and then replacement Carlos Condit -- at UFC 137 on Oct. 29, 2011.
However, St. Pierre tweaked his knee in training and his return to the Octagon was penciled in for UFC 143 on SuperBowl weekend (Feb. 4) in 2012. He was then recently forced off that card, too, after blowing out the ACL in his knee, which required surgery to repair.
St. Pierre will now be on the sidelines for at least 10 months, while Diaz and Condit compete for the interim welterweight title in his absence. He'll fight the winner -- or whoever is champion at the time -- upon his return.
Any early predictions on how that fight will end?