The UFC hosted an open workout and general question and answer session this past Wednesday at the Tristar gym in Montreal with Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.
Before getting into the thick of the event, the UFC announced a deal with Cineplex Odeon in Canada. Now Canadians can join their neighbors to the south and go to the movie theatres to watch UFC 111.
Georges’ St. Pierre has been fighting for over eight years now and has amassed a mixed martial arts record of 19-2. He is 13-2 in the UFC and has defended his welterweight title three times since April 19 2008.
Rogers Sportsnet has awarded Georges the Canadian Athlete of The Year award two years running and he is riding the peak of his career.
Not only is Georges an excellent fighter and athlete, but his personality and attitude have turned him into a great ambassador for the sport.
Accolades aside, Georges St. Pierre is on the path to defending his title for the fourth time in a row.
Georges’ open training and responses to the media don’t paint the picture of a guy who is under estimating his next opponent, Dan Hardy. Although Georges feels he is the better fighter in his upcoming match up, he certainly knows that on fight night anything can happen.
“I am a better fighter then he is, but a fight is similar to a hockey game. It isn’t always the best team that wins it’s the team that plays the best that night that wins. It is the same in my sport.”
Georges is probably reminded of the old saying “a puncher’s chance” when preparing to face an opponent like Dan Hardy. St. Pierre's first round knock out loss to Matt Serra in 2007 is most definitely keeping him on his toes.
Georges St. Pierre is still improving as a fighter and this was evidenced in both his open work out and his after practice discussion with the media.
From wrestling, to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to striking and diet and exercise, Georges is on top of it all. He has been seeking out the best in every field in order to fine tune his game.
In addition to training with the guys in Greg Jackson’s camp, like Marquardt and Rashad Evans, Georges has also been fine tuning his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the legend himself Renzo Gracie.
In his last few bouts, Georges has taken the fight to the ground and brutalized his opponents. The only things that seemed to be missing in Georges’ ground clinics were highlight reel submissions and we had a chance to hear Georges touch on that.
“I am much better than I used to be before on the ground, I made a lot of mistakes in my last fight and I won’t do it for this one.”
When the fight hits the ground and make no mistake it will, hopefully fight fans will get to see the improvements on the ground Georges is talking about.
It will be interesting to see if some of the suffocating submissions he put on display at the Tristar gym this past Wednesday will come to fruition the night of UFC 111.
Honing his skills as a martial artist aren’t the only things he’s been working on. Believe it or not Georges St. Pierre is on a diet and no we aren’t talking the fad diets late night infomercials are pushing.
Georges has hired on nutritionist John Birardi (PhD) to formulate the kind of diet that has helped the Champ put on seven pounds of muscle since his last fight.
John Birardi isn’t St. Pierre’s only hired gun when it comes to his nutrition. Georges has two friends who help with the planning and preparation of his meals in accordance with Dr. Birardi’s recommendations.
Contrary to what many probably think, Georges hasn’t always followed a strict diet and this is the first time he has taken control of his nutrition in this manner.
It is highly doubtful that his diet prior to this new regime consisted of Poutine and Pizza, but the change in his diet has definitely helped him reach another level in terms of strength and conditioning.
Dan Hardy expects to be able to outlast Georges St. Pierre in a five round affair, so Georges’ strength and conditioning are of utmost importance and luckily for Georges it has never been his weakness.
St. Pierre’s opponent Dan Hardy is certainly a lively character, with his sharp tongue and wild hair he definitely knows how to hype his fights.
Hardy has definitely talked some trash and it’s interesting to see what the Champ thinks about the world of trash talk and why he doesn’t always partake.
St. Pierre explained his reluctance to engage in pre-fight banter and he even got a bit of a chuckle out of the media circle surrounding him.
“English is not my first language, I am pretty bad at English and the thing is if I go in a war of words I am always gonna end up second, I am never gonna win this.”
When asked if there was a line that can be crossed in terms of talking trash, Georges answered with an emphatic yes.
St. Pierre doesn’t mind the trash talk his opponents talk as long as it doesn’t get too personal.
Judging by his facial expression when asked about Frank Mir’s “neck breaking” comment towards Brock Lesnar, it seems that wishing personal injury or death on an opponent is crossing the line for Georges.
Georges explained that he often prays for himself and his opponent before the fight because winning is the most important thing for him, but he does not want to ever kill or injure someone permanently in his fights.
The welterweight champion summed up his opinion on the whole issue of trash talk in a single yet powerful statement.
“There is a line I will never cross. If he is gonna cross the line he is gonna cross it alone and I will answer back with my fists.”
Trash talk aside, St. Pierre is confident that he has more tools than Dan Hardy and that he will be coming away with the “W” come March 27.
Not to look past his next opponent, but after the title defence, win or lose there have been some questions swirling around as to where Georges will go from there.
Of course in the welter weight division there are a bunch of guys waiting for a shot at the title, Josh Koschek, Paulo Thiago, Paul Daley, and Jon Fitch to name a few.
Jon Fitch in recent days was quoted as saying that he is now a “better” fighter than Georges and that he would like a rematch with Georges in the future.
When Georges was asked how he felt about Fitch’s comments, he went on to say that he was focused on his fight with Dan Hardy and that Fitch had better do the same for his upcoming bout with Alves.
If Fitch doesn’t beat Alves, then he can forget about a shot at the title in the near future.
Recently the idea that Georges might consider making a run at the 2012 Olympics in wrestling began floating around.
Georges appears to be on the fence as far as the Olympics are concerned and he was not prepared to give a straight yes or no answer.
“My No. 1 priority is I am a mixed martial artist, fighting in UFC is my No. 1 priority and you never know what is gonna happen in the future, but right now fighting is my No. 1 priority.”
Obviously he is leaving the door open, but for the time being expect to see the champ fight in the octagon a few more times before we see him in London 2012.
Besides Georges is probably better off finishing what he has started in the UFC Welterweight division before taking on challenges as big as the Olympics.
St. Pierre has said it before and he said it again, he is not fighting for the title anymore, he is fighting to cement his legacy.
Up until the emergence of guys like Paulo Thiago and Paul Daley, the general consensus in the world of mixed martial arts was that Georges St. Pierre had cleaned out his division.
Another fighter looking for big fights in order to continue to cement his legacy as one of the best, is none other than the creative and talented Brazilian Anderson Silva.
There has been a lot of talk on whether Georges would consider making the move up to middle weight and take a run at the 185 pound title.
The fact that Georges has packed on seven pounds of muscle since UFC 100 definitely has the media and fans alike wondering what for.
“The main reason why I did it is because of my last fight against Thiago Alves. I realised I was walking around at 185 and he is like 215 pounds and now Hardy was over 200 pounds and Anthony Johnson is 220 pounds.”
Georges went on to say that he felt he was small for his division and that where he is at now is perfect for welter weight.
Again Georges was pretty tight lipped, not wanting to say if he would fight at 185 pounds or not.
Judging by his response it seems that the motivation behind his weight gain was primarily to give him an advantage in his current division and nothing more for now.
Whatever the future holds for St. Pierre, one thing that is for sure is he isn’t taking Dan Hardy lightly and he is more focused than ever before.
Tune in this March 27 for UFC 111 to witness Georges St. Pierre take that next step in cementing his legacy in mixed martial arts history.
All Photographs courtesy of: Luke Horne