The two top welterweight fighters in the world were on hand today to face the media and fans at the UFC 154 press conference from New City Gas in Montreal. Both men have oozed respect and admiration for each other leading up to the fight, and the air was no different today:
"I see George as the champion. He's been one of the most dominant guys in the welterweight division. He's one of the best fighters that has ever gotten in the Octagon. Until somebody beats him, until I beat him, he's the champion," Condit said from the stage today.
"I'm honored to have the chance to compete against George. He's someone I've admired as a fighter for a long time, but he's where I want to be."
Condit continued his praise, and his statements were genuine and true, but then he assured everyone that the respect will end once they step in the cage on Saturday night.
"He's the top guy in the sport, the top guy in the division, he has cemented a legacy as the best in the world. He's the best in the division and that's what I want, so all admiration aside I'm coming to take that from him."
"George is a guy I've wanted to fight and looked up to in the sport and I have wanted his status for a very long time. George is the best in the world and I want to be the best in the world so I have to beat George."
The returning champion was loose and jovial today.
He stressed that Condit is the most dangerous fighter he has faced to date and he was very Bruce Lee-like in his approach to this fight.
"I don't want to think too much in there. I want to be more opportunistic and let it flow," he stated.
St Pierre continued to lavish praise on Condit:
For sure it's gonna be tough, but I don't want anything less than a title shot and to fight the best man in this division and it is Carlos, so I'm happy for the opportunity. I think what makes him so good is because he's a very smart guy. He's a thinking fighter you know. He doesn't just go in there and throw you know he's a thinking guy and the people in his entourage, like his coaches are very smart too.
"He's a very smart human being, and over his athletic ability, that's why I think he's so successful I believe."
It may seem very fluffy and boring, but a Carlos Condit fight is never boring, and St-Pierre seems to have a new purpose in his approach to the fight. They are both scared and wary of each other but equally hungry to be the man at the same time.
That's the recipe for an incredible clash.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca UFC. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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