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On This Day in MMA History: Georges St-Pierre Was Not Impressed by Your Performance

Georges St-Pierre has never been what you’d call a “trash-talker.” Sure, if you push him too far, he might call you an “uneducated fool” and explain the concept of passive income in a way that suggests you are a less-evolved form of life than he is. But throughout his MMA career, St-Pierre has generally avoided personal attacks, preferring to speak from a place of logic rather than emotion

To his detractors (aka Nick Diaz fans), that makes GSP a cold-blooded space-alien, a nerd who talks like a robot. That persona was set in stone at UFC 63 — eight years ago today, on September 23rd, 2006 — when St-Pierre infamously told Matt Hughes “I’m not impressed by your performance,” following Hughes’s third-round TKO victory against BJ Penn.

Even to this day, it’s still the most famous thing that the ex-champ has ever said, and has remained a dependable punchline among MMA fans. The St-Pierre/Hughes cage confrontation was incredibly awkward in its own way — “I’m not impressed by your performance” is like something Data would say to Wesley Crusher after learning about human combat sports. And yet, it was absolutely perfect for that moment.

Originally, UFC 63 was supposed to be headlined by a rematch between St-Pierre and Hughes; the two welterweights had fought for the vacant 170-pound title at UFC 50 in October 2004, with the French-Canadian rising star losing by armbar with one second left in the first round. Following that loss, St-Pierre tore through Jason Miller, Frank Trigg, and Sean Sherk, and gutted out a split-decision against BJ Penn, which earned him a second crack at Hughes. Unfortunately, a groin injury knocked GSP out of the UFC 63 main event, and Penn stepped up to replace him.

Hughes came dangerously close to losing his title that night. A fired-up BJ Penn out-struck the reigning champ in round one, and had Hughes in mortal danger during round 2 with various submission attempts. But Penn visibly faded in round 3, which allowed Hughes to take Penn to the mat and smother him with ground-and-pound until the ref stepped in. It wasn’t Hughes’s most dominant performance, but it definitely showed heart.

“Heart,” of course, is an intangible that the android mind simply cannot process. As St-Pierre saw it, Hughes struggled against Penn, and when it was time for his pre-arranged run-in, St-Pierre grabbed the mic and gave the crowd his assessment. “I’m not impressed,” St-Pierre said, “by your per-for-Mance.”

The irony that GSP had also struggled against Penn and was unable to finish him was apparently lost on St-Pierre that night. Matt Hughes could have stuffed that fact directly up GSP’s ass, but instead, his response was a shortened, non-profane version of that old line about opinions being like assholes. As Hughes tells it, St-Pierre later apologized for the incident, claiming that his public diss was spurred by a misunderstanding of something Hughes had previously said on the mic.

Still, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, you know? UFC fans had just heard their beloved country-boy get dressed-down by a snooty foreigner, and couldn’t wait to see how the rivalry played out. Hughes and St-Pierre had their rematch just two months later at UFC 65, with St-Pierre winning by savage second-round TKO. Five months after that, St-Pierre lost his belt to Matt Serra, which eventually led to a rubber match between St-Pierre and Hughes. But that, my friends, is a story for another day. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the anniversary of one the UFC’s all-time greatest catchphrases…

(BG)

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