GSP Too! Usman ‘Was Doing Georges Better Than Georges’

 Woodley v Usman
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Kamaru Usman was the most dominant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion since the division’s all-time best, Georges St-Pierre.

The timing never aligned for both legendary competitors to collide in the Octagon, but according to Usman, the closest they got was St-Pierre’s epic final 170-pound title defense against Johny Hendricks in November 2013.

The greatness of St-Pierre’s second-to-last fight is often overshadowed by its controversial result, a split decision for the champion. Hendricks gave the Canadian arguably the toughest test of his 28-fight career (26-2), and Usman has revealed he was a big factor in “Bigg Rigg’s” success that night.

“I actually studied you a lot even before I was actually, I think, in the UFC,” Usman told St-Pierre on Pound 4 Pound (h/t MMA Fighting). “I studied you because when you fought — I don’t know if I told you this — when you fought Johny Hendricks, I was brought in, I was his main sparring partner at one point. I was brought in to mimic you. So I watched you a lot going in to help Johny Hendricks. … I had to commit.

“I thought I was doing Georges better than Georges,” he continued. “I’m throwing the Superman-low kick, I’m throwing all these things out. I’m shooting on him, I’m trying to take him down, because I knew you would try to take him down. It didn’t matter what his credentials were, Johny Hendricks is a [wrestling] champ, but I knew you would try to take him down. So I’d been studying you for a while.”

Usman, 36, didn’t debut in UFC until two years later off the heels of a run through The Ultimate Fighter 21 (TUF), achieved championship status with a one-sided unanimous decision against Tyron Woodley in March 2019. Hendricks still became UFC Welterweight champion in his fight after St-Pierre when he defeated Robbie Lawler via a unanimous decision. He ultimately lost it in their rematch one year later via a split decision.