The UFC’s short history can be summed up in many ways. However, perhaps nothing describes this organization’s meteoric rise better than the fight card lined up for UFC 100.
The card features several impressive match ups, including a battle for welterweight contention, a bout between “Ultimate Fighter” coaches, and two title fights.
The title fights include Brock Lesnar looking to even the score with Frank Mir in a heavyweight showdown, while Georges St. Pierre looks to defend his welterweight belt against the anxious grasp of Thiago “Pitbull” Alves.
While the heavyweights have displayed disdain towards one another, the welterweights have put forth quite the opposite.
In the UFC 100 conference call on June 25, Thiago Alves and Georges St. Pierre displayed confidence in victory in their upcoming bout. However, what they displayed towards one another was nothing short of the utmost respect.
The champion gave his props to the American Top Teamer from the very start when he called Alves a “gentleman.”
“He (Alves) is not someone that needs to trash talk to promote himself. He is a very respectful guy,” stated St. Pierre.
St. Pierre’s thoughts on Alves the fighter also included great praise with the champion saying, “He is the best guy I will fight so far.”
By calling Alves his toughest opponent, St. Pierre puts him atop a list filled with great fighters.
The Canadian has accumulated an 18-2 record through his time in mixed martial arts with victories over Jon Fitch, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, and B.J. Penn, to name a few. Alves landing on top of the list of toughest opponents displays the respect shown by the champion.
However, the show did not end there, as St. Pierre also stated he would "bet all my money" on Alves if the Brazilian were to fight B.J. Penn.
St. Pierre truly has a respect for Alves that no other opponent of his has ever seen.
While Alves may not have been nearly as in depth on the amount of respect he holds for St. Pierre, he did return the respect he was given by offering some of his own.
“He is a complete fighter,” stated Alves. “I have a lot of respect for him.”
Alves continued his show of respect by later stating, “He is the champion. He is the man,” referring to St. Pierre's occupancy of the very top of the welterweight division. While it is obvious St. Pierre is the champion and the man to beat, Alves stating this displays where he himself sees St. Pierre as a mixed martial artist; at the pinnacle of UFC success.
However, the conversation was later geared toward the actual fight itself when the topic of takedown defense arose. Alves was quick to explain that St. Pierre’s takedowns were not the only thing he had to watch for.
“You gotta be careful with him everywhere,” explained Alves. “He’s a dangerous striker, he’s got great jiu-jitsu. I’m preparing for everything.”
Alves and St. Pierre will fight on July 11 at UFC 100, an event hosted by the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The respect they have shown prior to the fight has displayed the sportsmanship that can in fact be exhibited by fighters, including the most high caliber ones.
The realization of the repercussions or rewards this fight could afford has made these fighters respect the skills of one another. Each fighter realizes that respect towards the other will be necessary to gain a victory at UFC 100 and place welterweight gold around his waist.