In a sport full of over the top, hyper masculine athletes, Georges St. Pierre stands out as a relentless competitor with the toughness and skills to match. His career as a mixed martial artist with the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been very successful. He is ranked among the very best fighters in the history of the sport.
St. Pierre boasts black belts in several fighting styles including Gaidojutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Not only has he found success in the octagon, he has branched out into the entertainment industry. He is an actor as well as a producer of martial arts and action movies. He’s even published a book in 2013.
Here are 15 hard-hitting facts about Georges St. Pierre.
15. Being Canadian
Being Canadian is supposedly a good thing. There’s even a documentary called Being Canadian that shows how mild and welcoming Americans’ neighbors to the north can be. Does this sound like a recipe to create a tough MMA champion?
Apparently it is because Georges St. Pierre was born and raised in Quebec, Canada fought his way to the top of the UFC. He wasn’t always a tough guy; he admits to being bullied repeatedly as a child and it inspired him to learn karate for self-defense.
St. Pierre recounted a story, where he had an encounter with a man begging on the street that bullied him as a child. He did what he could to help the man and convinced him to get back on his feet.
14. Wax On, Wax Off
Kyokuskin Karate is a popular form of the martial art developed in the 1960s by Masutatsu Oyama. “Kyokuskin” is Japanese for “the ultimate truth.” learning and mastering this form of karate is considered by its adherents to be an important avenue of self-improvement and discovery that transcends the merely physical aspects of the art.
Fighting techniques learned through individual practice and sparring are central tenets. Kyokuskin Karate is recognized worldwide and has appeared in numerous films and video games. St Pierre holds a 3rd degree black belt in it, but he is not the only notably personality to master this art. Other practitioners include Dolph Lundgren and Vladimir Putin.
13. Martial Arts Movie Star
There is a long tradition in Hollywood of martial arts stars becoming movie stars. The legendary Bruce Lee was the prototype, and others like Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal have followed in his footsteps. The “Kung Fu” movie has been a staple in Hollywood for a long time — it seems moviegoers like to see people get beat up!
Georges St. Pierre has brought his martial arts skills to a number of movies including Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014 and Kickboxer: Vengeance in 2016. He has also worked behind the camera as a producer on documentaries as well as feature films.
12. Fight Club
St. Pierre didn’t belong to a secret fight club that he couldn’t talk about. However, he did work as a bouncer at a club where he broke up fights and generally kept the peace so club goers could have a good time at Fuzzy Brossard. The spot was a trendy hip-hop club that experienced more than its share of trouble.
St. Pierre told TMZ there was a lot of trouble — with fights breaking out constantly. The pay was not very good so he decided to get serious about becoming a professional fighter instead of a professional fight-breaker-upper.
It will come as no surprise that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was born in Brazil. This martial art is based on the Japanese Kodokan Judo that specializes in ground fighting techniques. The grappling moves that BJJ employs are meant to give weaker, smaller individuals a chance to defeat bigger, stronger opponents.
Taking the fight to the ground is intended to equal the odds by mitigating the advantages enjoyed by the bigger opponent. MMA fighters like St. Pierre, who holds a first degree black belt, master these ground fighting and grappling techniques so they can put their opponents into holds and locks that can end a match in the octagon.
Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer was one of the biggest pot dealers in New York City history and it all came crashing down because of a jilted girlfriend. The takedown of a major drug kingpin would have been big news anyway, but there was the additional fact of his friendship with MMA champion Georges St. Pierre.
He was convicted in federal court on a number of drug trafficking and related charges and was sentenced to 27 years in prison. St. Pierre knew him growing up; they used to train and hang out together. Despite his legal troubles, St. Pierre publicly stood by his friend.
Jeremy Strom is a trainer known for his intense workouts and he has enlisted other formidable athletes to help him promote his programs. Among the athletes he has convinced to help him with Rip:60 is Georges St. Pierre and celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels.
In 2011, they both appeared in an informercial with Jeremy Strom to promote the workout and they both are featured on one of the DVD workouts. St. Pierre’s workout is called “Lean Muscle.” The system uses rotating straps that the trainee attaches to a door or rack for full range of motion, full body workouts.
8. Action Jackson
Greg Jackson is an MMA trainer based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has made a name for himself by creating a new fighting style called Gaidojitsu. This form of martial art combines elements of kickboxing, judo and wrestling.
Gaidojitsu has become popular among MMA fighters seeking additional tools to take into the octagon against increasingly well-trained UFC opponents. Jackson has trained a number of successful MMA fighters including Holly Holm and Georges St Pierre. Among other awards Jackson has received he was honored with the coach of the year award in 2010.
Garbageman, sometimes referred to as refuse engineer, is a necessary and honorable vocation. Although, it is most certainly true that almost no child dreams of one day becoming a…waste technician. Canadian born Georges St. Pierre was no different and he had a long and challenging journey on his way to becoming a champion.
He did work at several jobs before becoming a professional MMA fighter. Georges St. Pierre worked as a bouncer and for a short time as a garbage man as well to make ends meet before seizing fame and fortune in the octagon.
6. DNA of GSP
In 2014, Georges St Pierre came forward to tell his fans the reason he seemed to retire suddenly was due to his struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is a disorder that compels people to repeat actions and behaviors and perform routines to achieve peace of mind.
He explained in an interview that “As a competitor, as a fighter, it’s a good thing to have it because it makes you better, because you completely obsess about being a better martial artist,” he produced a documentary about his life and his struggles called Takedown: the DNA of GSP.
There is a downside in terms of the mental and physical toll an emotional problem like OCD can exact on a person. He did not call it retirement, but referred to it as a necessary break from the pressure of the sport and his critics.
Shidokan Karate is a popular form of the sport started on the Japanese island of Okinawa in 1948. Shidokan translates to “House of the Way of the Warrior.” With a name like that, this style of karate has a lot to live up to and for the most part it has.
Shidokan arrived in the United States via Los Angeles in 1967 when practitioners from Okinawa set up a school. Since then, this style of fighting has become very popular in the U.S. among novices as well as professional fighters like Georges St. Pierre.
Many practitioners of this martial art appreciate the basic kicks, punches and blocks associated with. It does not rely on fancy choreography or elaborate rituals for success, but on the fundamentals of concentration and practice that eventually lead to mastery of skills.
4. The Way of the Book
In 2013, Georges St. Pierre released a book. Interestingly the MMA champion did not release a book focused on the training and skills necessary to become a professional fighter. The Way of the Fight is more of a personal story about how St. Pierre overcame bullying as child growing up in Canada. Instead of becoming bitter and withdrawn, he found karate.
St. Pierre doesn’t tell the story himself, his mother, his mentor and others describe in their own words about what makes him tick and what drove him to become one of the best MMA fighters of all time. The theme of the book is one of power, of inner power, and how a person can use it to surmount daunting obstacles.
3. Dana Drama
Dana White is the undisputed head of Ultimate Fighting Championship, the top MMA organization in the world. There are a lot of big, strong personalities in and around MMA and Mr. White is one of them.
Although the fighters are the stars, White doesn’t shy away from the bright lights, often inserting himself into the mix. In a way, that might not be as dramatic as the legendary Vince McMahon’s antics within World Wrestling Entertainment. Still, they have often been controversial and just as important — good television.
Georges St. Pierre and Dana White have not always seen eye to eye outside the octagon, but they seem linked to each other by destiny.
2. The Champ
With all the drama that has been a part of Georges St. Pierre’s life in and out of the octagon, one can forget just how successful an MMA fighter he has been. At 28, he held a championship belt at the highest level several times — and now in two different weight classes. He started winning championships as a young man in 1992.
And in additional to all the belts, he has been awarded numerous awards and honors. Perhaps the most precious honor St. Pierre has garnered is the respect of his peers as a tough and relentless competitor who loves the sport that he has mastered.
1. Call it a Comeback
Fighters tend to retire young, but when Georges St. Pierre seemed to unexpectedly call it quits after a fight in 2013, the MMA world was turned upside down. It was a four-year hiatus full of rumors and innuendo. This is a long time for most fighters to be away from the octagon, but St. Pierre proved once again he isn’t most fighters.
On the first weekend of November 2017, he faced Michael Bisping in the 185lb. weight class in his much heralded return to UFC. Despite being covered in his own blood, the 36-year-old St. Pierre managed to grab a convincing victory with a rear naked choke near the end of the third round.
For now, he is the middleweight champion. There is talk that St. Pierre could go back down to the 170b. class and face Conor McGregor.