The UFC has come to Toronto, but more than anything else, GSP, also known as Georges St-Pierre, has come to Toronto.
Being at the weigh ins, press conferences and open workouts has shown quite clearly how much St-Pierre is dominating this event in the minds of fans and mainstream media.
The media simply can't get enough of St-Pierre. At the open workouts, most fighters lingered around after the main press conference to answer questions one-on-one with media outlets. The same cannot be said for St-Pierre.
Randy Couture was easily the second biggest star at the conference. The difference between Couture's reception and St-Pierre's reception was night and day.
St-Pierre entered the conference room like a king entering his court, surrounded by his entourage and a host of UFC staff in charge of maintaining order. All the while, the room was buzzing, cameras were flashing and there was a very real feel of electricity in the air.
Questions were extremely limited, as St-Pierre already had too many press obligations to be able to linger there long.
Even some of the media members seemed star-struck.
"He's so good!" one female media member gushed, while another spent a few awkward moments dropping hints to St-Pierre about the functionality of her St-Pierre action figure.
St-Pierre, for his part, feigned innocence.
Far before anyone wanted, the conference was over, and St-Pierre was surrounded again by his entourage as security and staff made sure nobody else could follow too closely.
Outside the door, some in-the-know fans waited with cameras in hand hoping to catch a shot of St-Pierre up close.
"He walked right by me!" one star-struck fan exclaimed.
And in a flash, GSP had left the building.
Over the next few days, the GSP love-fest continued.
The UFC invaded Dundas Square (Canada's version of Time Square) for a busy "UFC takeover" event. Yet, more than anything, "GSP" was still on the lips of tons of fans in attendance.
The UFC expo was more of the same, where mere mention of GSP by Dana White would cause an outburst of cheers.
Outside of the expo, the GSP headbands were being sold by countless people. Prices for those slim pieces of fabric ranged from $5 to $10, and you'd occasionally hear anguish from fans who had bought one for $10 finding out seconds later that they could have had one for $5.
At the weigh ins, plenty of those headbands were in attendance.
Perhaps surprisingly, Canadian fighters received only moderate cheers as their names were called. Randy Couture garnered a fairly strong chant of "Randy! Randy!", but again, the full onslaught of cheers was nothing compared to the reception received by St-Pierre, who Canadians have embraced absolutely.
So while Randy Couture's retirement, 55,000 fans and Mark Hominick's hometown title shot will receive some attention this weekend, none of those stories even holds a candle to GSP.
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