The UFC's second trip to Japan featured one of its most anticipated events of the year, and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre reflected on his experience going to the country where his martial arts base in Kyokushin Karate was founded almost 50 years ago.
It's like a different world, said St-Pierre, who is currently ranked as the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. They have a different culture. They are very extreme in a way that they are very respectful and everything, but when they do something, they do it a hundred percent. I really like that.
When the Canadian star suffered a knee injury late last year, he was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout with former WEC champion Carlos Condit at UFC 137. Instead, Nick Diaz and B.J. Penn fought to determine a top contender in the division.
After Diaz defeated Penn by decision, the fight between him and St-Pierre had been set before the UFC champion suffered an ACL injury and was forced to pull out and possibly sit out from competing in the sport for 10 months.
Diaz went on to fight Condit at UFC 143 and lost a close unanimous decision after five rounds. St-Pierre said of the decision:
I think Carlos won. It was a very tight fight. It could have gone either way, but if I would have been a judge, and most of the people that were with me thought Carlos had an edge. Even though Diaz was pressing more of the action, Carlos was more efficient.
Following the fight, Diaz tested positive for marijuana, and arguments about whether or not it is performance enhancing have been ongoing among MMA fans and fighters. St-Pierre does not consider marijuana performance-enhancing:
I wasn't surprised because I heard some story before that he took marijuana, but for me, marijuana, I don't think it's performance enhancing. I don't see it as bad as if it would be like a steroid or something like that so maybe it could help Nick Diaz because he might have problems in front of the camera. Maybe the marijuana calms him down and makes him perform better.
GSP's return is anticipated for late this year or early 2013. It will have been almost two years since he last fought and defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129.