The more Georges St. Pierre talks about his strategy for B.J. Penn, the more I’m struck by how scientific it sounds. Usually when you hear fighters talk about their gameplan it’s vague classics like ‘push the pace’ or ‘take the fight to him.’ Basically, it’s stuff that is one step up from an inspirational slogan.
But GSP? He practically steals your medical records in order to figure out how to beat you. Just look at what he told SI.com about Penn’s physical strengths and weaknesses:
B.J. Penn, you were talking about his guard, he has very flexible legs. Another thing is, because he has very flexible hips, it made his thoracic cage more susceptible to being weak. That’s why I was working a lot of elbows to the body. On the ground I was putting my elbow in his stomach to make him tired. And a lot of knees. It was my game plan.
I know a lot of doctors. It’s a fact. When somebody has flexible hips, normally he has a weak thoracic cage. His bones are weaker. It’s science. And with B.J., that’s the case. He has very flexible hips, so his core is weaker than somebody who has normal hips. That’s why I was attacking the body a lot. People, when they fight B.J., they try to hit the head. But B.J. has very thick skin and he moves his head very well and his reaction time is very fast. He can move his head standing up, but his body never moves. I was targeting the body a lot.
As for allegations that he was greased up in the fight, GSP says he “cant’ believe” the Penn camp considered filing a formal complaint (though word now is that they’ve decided against it), that he’s not a cheater and will prove it in court if he has to, and also that it wasn’t any artificial substance that thwarted Penn’s high guard:
I was training that. I was training when his legs come up to posture up. And when he got the position to keep my head always over his head. By staying in a vertical position his leg was naturally going to go down. If I stayed flat, he would have been able to bring his leg up. But I stayed in a vertical position.
To tell you the truth, I think it’s normal to have a winning attitude in life. When I lose, I always try to figure out why I lose. But the problem with B.J., he tries to figure out why he loses, but he doesn’t focus on himself. He focuses on the other person. When I lost the fight I focused on what I did wrong. I didn’t focus on what I cannot change. B.J., instead of focusing on things he can change to make himself better, he tries to focus on things he doesn’t have any control over, and tries to find some excuse that it’s not up to him. It’s really an excuse. He should focus on things that he can change about himself in the fight to make himself better. That would be a better approach for him.
Man, is it me or is GSP the master of the very polite burn? Lines like, “I was not impressed by your performance,” and then here he manages to say that B.J. Penn would rather make excuses than become a better fighter, but he does so in such a way that it actually sounds like sincere advice.
If he ever gets tired of fighting he could rent himself out as a professional deliverer of bad news. If GSP comes in and tells you that you’re fired, or that your girlfriend thinks you guys should just be friends, or that you have cancer, he’ll probably phrase it so that you think your life has just been improved. That’s a talent, people. You can’t teach it.