Childhood & Early Life
Born on May 19, 1981, in Saint-Isidore, Quebec, Georges St-Pierre is the oldest child and only son of Roland and Pauline St-Pierre. He has two younger sisters, including one named Myriam. Roland worked as a flooring and carpet installer while Pauline was employed at a nursing home.
A French-speaking Canadian, St-Pierre faced a multitude of problems while growing up. The other students at his school would often steal his money and clothes. The bullying got so bad that he decided to learn Kyokushin Karate under his father and later under a Kyokushin Karate master. During his childhood, he was also involved in ice hockey, skating, and several other sports.
After the death of his karate master, St-Pierre took classes in wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and boxing. He did various odd jobs, including as a bouncer at a Montreal nightclub named Fuzzy Brossard and as a garbage man to support himself and pay his school fees.
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Career as a Mixed Martial Artist
Georges St-Pierre became a professional mixed martial artist at the age of 21. By then, he had already earned his black belt in Kyokushin Karate. On January 25, 2002, he had his first match as a professional mixed martial artist against Salvadoran-Canadian fighter Ivan Menjivar at UCC 7: Bad Boyz.
His next bout was for the UCC Welterweight Championship against the defending champion Justin Bruckmann at UCC 10: Battles. St-Pierre won the match in the first round via submission.
On October 11, 2002, St-Pierre successfully defended his title against Travis Galbraith at UCC 11: The Next Level. He would participate in one more match at UCC before leaving the promotion.
He fought Thomas Denny at UCC 12: Adrenaline and won by technical knockout in the second round. Prior to his joining UFC, he had one more match in Quebec. On November 29, 2003, he fought and won against Pete Spratt at the TKO 14: Road Warriors event.
St-Pierre made his UFC debut on January 31, 2004, at UFC 46 against Karo Parisyan and went on to win the match via unanimous decision. His next bout was against Jay Hieron at UFC 48. Dominating his opponent right from the start, St-Pierre won via technical knockout in the first round.
He faced his first major opponent in his third match in UFC. Matt Hughes was already an established icon of the sport when St-Pierre was coming up through the ranks. They fought for the vacant UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 50 on October 22, 2004.
Despite St-Pierre holding his own against a much more experienced fighter for most of the fight, he was caught in an armbar by Hughes and tapped with only 10 seconds remaining in the first round. St-Pierre has since stated that losing to Hughes was the best thing that could have happened at that point in his career.
He would fight against Hughes again two years later at UFC 65 and this time, Georges would emerge on top. He defeated Hughes in the second round via technical knockout and won the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Prior to facing Hughes, St-Pierre had been on a five-game winning streak. Among the opponents he fought, B.J. Penn had given him the toughest fight. It went the distance and St-Pierre won via a controversial split decision.
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St-Pierre suffered the second defeat of his career in his 10th match in UFC. Fighting against a relatively unknown Matt Serra, Georges lost the match in the first round by technical knockout, effectively losing his welterweight title. However, he did not have to wait long for a rematch.
He defeated Josh Koscheck via unanimous decision at UFC 74 and Hughes in their third bout at UFC 79 via verbal submission before facing Serra at UFC 83. It was virtually a one-sided affair as Serra failed to mount a defence against a creative and meticulous St-Pierre, losing the match and the welterweight title in the second round.
After reclaiming his title, St-Pierre’s first title defence was against Jon Fitch. The match went the distance and St-Pierre was declared the winner via unanimous decision. Furthermore, the match was hailed as the Fight of the Night. This win made the second fight between him and Penn possible. Penn entered into the octagon after St-Pierre’s victory over Fitch and demanded a rematch.
St-Pierre and Penn fought at UFC 94 on January 31, 2009. In the first round, the fight was balanced. However, from the second round onwards, St-Pierre took control with his superior wrestling skills.
The fight was stopped at the fourth round when Penn’s cornerman, Jason Parillo, asked the referee to do so. Despite his domineering performance, St-Pierre’s victory was overshadowed by a controversy related to one of his cornermen.
He fought and won one more fight in 2009, against Thiago Alves. Between 2010 and 2013, St-Pierre won his fights against Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, and Johny Hendricks. After defeating Hendricks via split decision, he vacated the title voluntarily, making the news public on December 13, 2013. He also told the reporters that he was taking some time off from the sport.
St-Pierre eventually returned at UFC 217 and defeated Michael Bisping to win the UFC Middleweight Championship. However, he vacated the title after 34 days as he was suffering from ulcerative colitis and did not want to hold up the division.
Georges St-Pierre made his acting debut playing a character named after himself in the 2009 action thriller ‘Never Surrender’. He also worked with Hector Echavarria in his action film ‘Hell's Chain’ that year, and in the action drama ‘Death Warrior’, he shared screen space with fellow MMA star Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson.
In 2014, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Georges Batroc / The Leaper, a character that has been dubbed by writer Mark Waid as “John Claude Van Damme of the 1960s,” in the 2014 superhero film, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.
Interestingly, Van Damme and St-Pierre have been friends for long and have worked together in the 2016 martial arts film ‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’. In 2017, he co-starred with Steven Seagal in the action crime film, ‘Cartels’.
Training & Coaches
As one of the biggest stars of his sport, Georges St-Pierre enjoys international popularity. He is a huge celebrity in his native country and sells out every match he fights there. Over the course of his career, he has trained as part of various gyms.
Prior to UFC 58, in which he fought B.J. Penn, he was associated with the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York City. He earned his brown belt in BJJ from Renzo Gracie on July 21, 2006, and went on to get a black belt in the same from Bruno Fernandes in September 2008.
From 2006 to 2009, Phil Nurse taught him Muay Thai at the Wat in New York City. For his fight against Penn at UFC 94, St-Pierre started training at Greg Jackson's Submission Fighting Gaidojutsu school in New Mexico.
Jonathan Chaimberg of Adrenaline Performance Centre in Montréal serves as St-Pierre’s strength and conditioning coach, while the duties of his head trainer are performed by Firas Zahabi of Zahabi MMA. St-Pierre primarily trains at Tristar gym these days.