There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. – Malcolm X
We often look at the best like they never have any struggles. We imagine that they have a kind of magic aura, that nothing can defeat them. The bests aren’t gods, they are humans just like us. They have known countless struggles in their journey, They have tasted defeat. George ”Rush” St-Pierre, the ex UFC welterweight (170 pounds) champion, isn’t an exception. GPS’s career had his ups and downs. Let’s rewind to November 2006. At that time, St-Pierre had the chance to face Matt Hughes for the championship belt. St-Pierre gave a brilliant performance and won a remarkable victory over Matt Hughes by way of knockout.
GSP was now at the top of the world. He was the undisputed champion and the best welterweight fighter on the planet. The wind was in his favor. His future was really promising at 25 years old. He was young, popular and good-looking. He had truly everything. It was time for celebrations and it’s exactly what George did during the months following his conquest. GSP was living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. For his first title defense, he would have to face Matt Serra. His adversary was a total underdog. He didn’t even had an impressive record. It was considered a piece of cake by George. The fight wasn’t hyped, people thought GSP would easily beat Serra. Matt Serra even said in an interview that he felt out of place being in the same cage as GSP.
That night of April 7th 2007 in Houston will forever be in GSP’s head. Against all expectations, Matt ”The Terror” Serra gave St-Pierre the beating of his life. It is seen by far as the biggest upset of the UFC history. What were the odds for that result? What went wrong? GSP didn’t make any excuses for his bad performance. Many years after the event, it was said that GSP wasn’t prepared for the fight mentally. He had many distractions leading up to the fight, one of them being his father death. The other being that he disregarded his opponent. Serra took everything from GSP that night. He let a bittersweet taste in St-Pierre’s mouth that would last for a year.
It could have been a downfall from their. It isn’t unusual to see good fighters crumble after a reversal of faith like Serra vs St-Pierre (see football player Tim Tebow). During the succeeding months, GSP had to learn what it meant to truly be unbreakable. He had to face himself in the mirror. The only thing he was thinking about was vengeance against Matt Serra. He was completely numbed by that desire. He wasn’t thinking about his actual next opponent: Josh Koscheck. The truth? He wasn’t ready. He realized his mistake after meeting with a sport psychologist. He talked about that critical moment in his book Way of the Fight. The psychologist told him that he was carrying a brick. That brick was Matt Serra. As long as he would carry that brick he wouldn’t be able to be himself again. He told GSP to write the name of Matt Serra on brick and carry it. When I would be ready to embrace his future, he would have to throw the brick in the river. And that’s exactly what George did.
GSP choose another path. He understood that he was defeated, but he wasn’t destroyed. He knew that he hasn’t said his last word. He made the decision that he would learn as much as possible from that defeat. Never again that situation would happen. He would be back and nothing would stop him. After that understanding, GSP consecutively defeated Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes in the following months. He was once again on the path of glory. The 19th April 2008, GSP was back in Montreal. It was time for GSP vs Serra II. Face to face with his nemesis. He finally got the chance to redeem himself from that painful night. St-Pierre came to fight with a killer instinct. He took back his lost prize in a devastating fashion. After that fight, GSP went undefeated for 5 years until his retirement from competition in 2013. He was unbreakable until the end.