Georges St-Pierre had one of the most notable careers in UFC history, and along with a Hall of Fame record, he also had several moves that set him apart from his competition. One of these deadly jabs, his take on the ever-popular Superman punch, is the subject of a new YouTube video from Canadian Bellator MMA fighter and six-time kickboxing world champion Gabriel Varga. The fighter broke down GSP’s iconic punch, from the technique, setup, and the follow up after landing, so that viewers at home can understand the maneuver and attempt to include it into their own repertoires.
“This has gotta be one of the fancier punches that I’ve seen, one of the most difficult to block, and the one that comes from out of nowhere,” says Varga.
He starts out by explaining that “99 out of 100 times people are coming up, faking the low kick off the back leg, and then coming into that Superman Punch from farther away.” This isn’t the case with this iteration. “But GSP’s is very different, in the fact that he does it off the lead leg, lead arm, and he does it from much closer,” he says.
According to Varga, the big thing with this punch is the fake before the jab.
“If I’m just standing here and this guy’s expecting the jab and I come up where I’m covering distance, it’s not going to land. The reason GSP was so successful with this punch was his setup. He would throw the lead leg in a low kick, tossing it up constantly. And then when he reacted, people would react with a check,” says Varga.
This leaves the fighter opened up, dropping their guard, dropping their hands. They also focus their eyes on the kick, moving their eyes away and making it easy to land a jab. (He adds that Sugar Ray Leonard did that a lot.)
Varga also notes that during the low kick, GSP didn’t rotate his entire body, instead shuffling in to get his opponent’s attention drawn downwards. The left foot comes forward, and after a reaction from the opponent, the right leg jumps forward while the left goes back. Then you add the jab.
“From there, you can drop or follow with a kick, or angle off and make your way out,” says Varga.
He adds that this move isn’t one of his favorites, and that he’s tried it numerous times. But he does recommend that fighters try adding it into a shadowboxing routine or pad work to see if it works for them. As for body type, Varga notes guys that are more stocky like GSP and T.J. Dillashaw have success with this.
“It’s good for them because they have shorter arms. It’s hard for them to step in and always engage with the jab,” adds Varga. I know GSP did this very well, but not so much against taller guys he fought, but against guys his own size.”
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