On Saturday night, Georges St. Pierre took another step towards proving that he belongs in the same sentence as other legends of sports history such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Muhammed Ali. But when he faced Thiago Alves at UFC 100, he spent almost half the bout with an injury that would have put most others on the sideline, asking for the fight to be stopped.
During the third round when St. Pierre found himself on the bottom, guarding from Alves' attack, he felt a pop and immediately knew that something was definitely wrong.
"It's pretty bad, I'm in real bad pain. It happened in the third round, and I don't remember exactly, but when I was on the bottom, in my guard, and Thiago pushed my knee down and I heard my groin, my abductor snap. I heard a noise and it was pretty bad," St. Pierre said during the post fight press conference about the injury.
After the round ended, he headed back to his corner, and while surely a funny moment from trainer Greg Jackson, he simply would not let the champion fade with an injury going into the championship rounds.
"I came back in my corner and some people are going to see that on TV and are going to laugh. I come back in the corner and I told my trainer I pulled my abductor, and my trainer Greg Jackson, he says to me, 'I don't care! Hit him with it!' So I was like I guess I have to go back there and finish the fight. That's the gameplan," St. Pierre said with a laugh. "So I fought on it, with the adrenaline it's not so bad, now it's getting really bad, it's really painful."
Originally, St. Pierre and Alves were set to square off later on the pay-per-view card as the co-main event, but timing pushed the pair up from their start time, which could have affected the champion's ability to properly warm-up before the fight started.
"My fight was supposed to be the fourth on the card, and they called us a little bit at the last minute because of the pay-per-view, so we got called and I really didn't have much time to warm-up as well as I should have done. It's my mistake too, I'm a professional, I'm a world champion, I should have been ready for something like that," stated St. Pierre. "It's just that I was not informed that I was jumping in before I was supposed to."
Regardless of the injury, St. Pierre gutted it out and dominated for all five rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory over one of the top welterweights in the sport today. Now with his third consecutive title win under his belt, St. Pierre will take some time off to recover from the groin injury and see what's next for him.
"I want to face the best guy," St. Pierre commented about his next challenge. "Right now, I'm in really bad pain. I'm going to take a step back and take a look at it and we'll talk about it, and in a couple of weeks we'll see."
During the live broadcast of UFC 100, commentator Joe Rogan noted that matchmaker Joe Silva had said the winner of the upcoming fight between Mike Swick and Martin Kampmann would likely end up being the next challenger to St. Pierre's title.
Whoever the fighter ends up being that takes on St. Pierre, he will have to be more than on top of his game, as the champion has solidified himself for consideration as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.