UFC 158: Will Fighting at Home Give Georges St-Pierre an Edge over Nick Diaz?
Some fighters revel in the chance to perform under the bright lights of their home arenas. But for others, competing in front of family members, friends and acquaintances just proves too daunting of a task.
For longtime UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, the former certainly rings true when he fights at Montreal's Bell Centre.
Although "GSP" and Nick Diaz have both maintained that the location of their tilts has little to do with what ensues in the cage, St-Pierre will enjoy the home-arena advantage for the third time in four fights against Diaz at UFC 158.
St-Pierre has fought in title fights at the Bell Centre three times since 2008, becoming the undisputed champion against Matt Serra at UFC 83 and then defending his strap against both Josh Koscheck at UFC 124 and Carlos Condit at UFC 154.
St-Pierre also capitalized on the privilege of facing Jake Shields in Toronto at the historic UFC 129, defending his belt at an event that drew a record 55,724 fans to the Rogers Centre, the bulk of whom were pulling for GSP.
He's 7-0 in his career when fighting in Montreal, but St-Pierre remains adamant that his home-arena advantage has had little to do with his remarkable run in the UFC.
At the UFC 158 pre-fight press conference, GSP continued to downplay the significance of fighting in his hometown:
It's not really an advantage. The good thing about it is my parents and close relatives will be able to see the fight and come to see me fight live. But, yeah, the crowd (is) gonna give me the pump, you know, and everything, but there's only me and Nick. Nick and I in the cage. Nobody will help us. Nobody else will help me, so I'm ready for that.
In typical Diaz form, the former Strikeforce champion jokingly played off the idea of being at a disadvantage fighting in Montreal:
I don't think they test for steroids out here. But, no, it's cold, it's cold. ... I'm used to doing most of my fights in (Las) Vegas or San Jose, but, you know, I'd like to get up here a little earlier. It's kind of cold out here. A little dry. So that's the only thing that comes to mind.
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