The champion did precisely that on Saturday night, using a snapping left jab to blow up Koscheck’s right eye en route to a five-round unanimous decision victory in the main event of UFC 124 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
“I don’t know how many fights I’ve seen in the last 10 years, [and I don't think I’ve ever seen a fight] where one guy closes the other guy’s eye with a jab,” said UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference. “He picked Koscheck apart. Picked him apart. You couldn’t give one round to Koscheck.”
The jab has long been discussed as one of the most underutilized weapons in mixed martial arts. On Saturday, St. Pierre rifled his at will, battering the American Kickboxing Academy product from bell to bell. Despite his dominant performance, the champion remained dissatisfied that the bout went to the scorecards.
“I wanted to finish with a knockout or a submission. He’s very tough. I closed his right eye, so I was going a lot with the hook and the high left kick,” said the victorious champion. “He’s very good. My punches didn’t land on his chin as much as I wanted. It was a good fight, but I wanted to finish him. That was my goal.”
Koscheck, while possessing power in his right hand, had no answer for the laser-like, straightforward attack of the champion.
“He throws his punches circular,” said St. Pierre. “I knew to beat him, I needed to stay outside behind my jab. [If I exchanged punches with him] it would be the same thing as flipping a coin. I wasn't going to take that risk and get knocked out. My game does not rely on chance. I don’t gamble when I fight. I try to put all the odds on my side.”
St. Pierre and Koscheck, who served as opposing coaches on the twelfth installment of “The Ultimate Fighter,” originally met at UFC 74 in 2007. While St. Pierre dominated the first bout with his wrestling, it was his striking that turned away the four-time NCAA All-American in the rematch. After the fight, the pair embraced, apparently burying the hatchet.
“There was a lot of talk, but he apologized for the things he said to build up the fight. I said, ‘Thank you for coming.’ I need Josh to do what I do for a living,” said St. Pierre. “Without him, I would not make money and you guys would have no entertaining fight. At the end of the day, it’s business.”
As has become routine, both St. Pierre and White fielded questions at the conference regarding a super-fight between the French Canadian and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Both White and St. Pierre said they were open to the idea, but the welterweight champ has no interest in a one-night stand at middleweight.
“It’s complicated,” said St. Pierre. “If I go up, I’m going to have to put more muscle on my body, because I think I’m too small [for 185]. If I go up, I want to stay at 185. When you go up and down -- you see what it happened to [former boxing champion] Roy Jones -- it messes up the reaction time. In boxing, [weight classes] are like seven pounds. In MMA, it’s 15 pounds.”