For Severn this date is looked upon fondly because he stormed through three guys: Joe Charles, Oleg Taktarov, and Dave Beneteau in route to winning the eight man tournament. Naturally it only made sense for him to win. The event was named Return of the Beast. The victories pushed Severn's record to 5-1, but as we now know was just the start of a prolific career.
Severn continued to fight...and fight...and fight...so much so that after an October of 2001 bout against a guy making his debut named Forest Griffin, Severn had a record of 48-7-4! Before his next fight took place some six months later, Georges St. Pierre had his debut. It was a TKO victory over Ivan Menjivar and little did we know that fight was the birth of a star.
St. Pierre rolled through seven opponents before losing to Matt Hughes. He then won six straight including victories over Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, and Matt Hughes. The victory over Hughes brings us to this day one year ago. But before we get into it, we shouldn't forget about Severn!
While St. Pierre was in the process of compiling a 13-1 record Severn was still going strong, after beating Griffin he continued to fight...and fight...and, you get the idea. He compiled a 36-8-3 record to create his current 84-15-7 mark!
Now for St. Pierre's April 7th. On this date last year he was considered near unbeatable. He was the welterweight champion and marching through all kinds of highly talented fighters. His opponent Matt Serra was on a hot streak of his own. He'd just won The Ultimate Fighter 4 and that was the reason he even got the title shot. Most considered it a mere formality. They'd fight, St. Pierre would dominate, and life would go on!
Of course at the 3:25 mark Serra had TKO'd St. Pierre and was in the process of turning cartwheels and "life" didn't go on. Since the loss St. Pierre has rebounded with wins over Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes once again, Serra has not fought. Now here we sit on April 7, 2008 less than two weeks away from Serra and St. Pierre meeting again and we can't wait.
It is fun to think about this date of both last year and 13 years ago, linked together in some small way by two fighters and triumph and defeat. It is interesting to think of all that has come and gone in the world of MMA: political intervention, PRIDE, Zuffa, rule regulation, The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White, ravenous popularity, huge sponsors, and a host of talented fighters have all adeptly covered the 12 year expanse in one way or another. And on this date in the beginning there was Dan Severn and the end, Georges St. Pierre.
For more posts like this including opinion on Steve Mazzagati's stoppages at UFC Fight Night 13 check out the Sports by the Numbers MMA website.