Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Just over seven years ago, a young Canadian contender named Georges St. Pierre was looking to earn a rematch against Matt Hughes for the UFC welterweight title. Standing in his way at UFC 54 was Frank Trigg, who had title aspirations of his own.
"This is a huge, huge showdown. One can make the argument [they are] number two and number three in the 170-pound division behind champion Matt Hughes."
That was Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) play-by-play man Mike Goldberg, introducing top welterweight contenders Georges St. Pierre and Frank Trigg, who opened the UFC 54 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, back on August 20, 2005.
Over seven years ago.
That's when St. Pierre, who in recent years has tailored his offense to be more refined and calculated, was a bona fide ass kicker at just 24 years old, laying waste to some of the top names in the division, including Jason Miller, Karo Parisyan and Sean Sherk.
His only blemish in 10 fights was a tap out to Hughes in 2004.
That was a memory he wanted to erase, as did Trigg, who was using the young Canadian to rebound from his own submission loss to the flinty farmboy at UFC 52 earlier in the year. In spite of his defeat, "Twinkle Toes" was still 12-3 and just as close to a rematch as his "Boiling Point" counterpart.
Here's how it all went down.
They touch gloves and Trigg immediately presses forward with a lunging knee followed by a stinging jab that backs St. Pierre into the fence. Undeterred, "Rush" fires back with one of his own and uncorks a powerful right high kick that is partially blocked.
Trigg would never recover.
"Twinkle Toes" dives in with a knee and gets cracked with a left. He staggers backwards and tries for a takedown when St. Pierre rushes him. Instead, he gets stuffed and thrown to the floor like a sack of Yukon Golds, where he spends a few seconds in side control before giving up mount.
St. Pierre postures up and comes down hard with an elbow.
After Trigg eats a looping right hand, he rolls and attempts to escape but is flattened out and pounded on. He once again rolls but his back offers no reprieve from the punishment as St. Pierre wallops him with a flurry of unanswered punches.
A scramble gets him upright -- and thrown right back down.
On the ground, "Rush" secures an arm-triangle choke but eventually lets it go in favor of ruthless ground and pound. The Rochester native looks bewildered as he's dominated and pounded at every position and unable to escape.
Two and a half minutes in and it's a rout.
"Georges St. Pierre is running a clinic on Frank Trigg," observes UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. "It's really hard to believe that this is a guy that most people consider number one or number two in the 170-pound division because it seems like Georges St. Pierre is almost fighting an amateur."
Trigg has done little to improve his position and referee "Big" John McCarthy warns him that he's in danger.
"Twinkle Toes" rolls to his back but gets two hard elbows to the bridge of his nose for the effort. Again he twists and gives up his back and St. Pierre seizes the opportunity by locking in a tight rear naked choke. Trigg is rolled over and has nowhere to go.
With just 54 seconds remaining in the opening round, he taps.
St. Pierre celebrates with a backflip and his corner hoists him high in the air. The crowd roars in approval and "Rush" rewards them with the discount double-check, effectively putting the rest of the division -- and its champion -- on notice.
Not that he needed to, after a performance like that.
Fast-forward to Nov. 17, 2012 and St. Pierre is now the ruler of the 170-pound roost. Standing in his way is Interim titleholder Carlos Condit, who will try to upset the longtime champion in front of the Tri Star product's hometown fans in the main event of UFC 154 from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
But which St. Pierre will we see on fight night? The cautious wrestler who grinds his way to victory? Or the ruthless killer who dismantled an entire division on his way to the throne?
We'll know soon enough.