Five wins by TKO, four wins by submission, three wins by
decision... and a single loss to Matt Hughes by armbar in his
first title fight. It's that last one that haunts Spike athlete
Georges "Rush" St-Pierre.
But on November 18th he'll get a chance to avenge his only
loss and capture the UFC welterweight title. T-Nation caught up
with Georges during the final stages of his training camp in New
T-Nation: You've got about two weeks to go until the fight.
Tell us where you are mentally and physically in your
Georges St-Pierre: I'm almost at my peak right now in terms
of my training. Both physically and mentally, I've never felt
so well and so strong. I'm ready to do the fight of my
T-Nation: If you think back two years ago to the last time you
fought Matt Hughes, where would you say you are now as compared to
GSP: I'm totally different. Matt Hughes is a different
fighter too, but I think I've improved more than him. Right
now I'm more mature. When I fought him the first time, I was a
newcomer to the sport. Now I'm a veteran. I'm 25 years
old. The first time I was fighting my idol, the guy I always looked
up to. But now I feel like I deserve my chance and I'm going
to take him out.
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T-Nation: Being seven years younger than Matt Hughes, do you
feel like your youth is an advantage for you?
GSP: Yes, I definitely feel that my age is an important factor
in why I'm going to beat him. I'm still young, but
I'm a man now. My mental approach has changed a lot. I'm
not a kid any more. And I'm more confident as
T-Nation: Can you give T-Nation a little insight into your
training techniques and methodologies?
GSP: The way I train for conditioning is to do a lot of sprints.
When I lift, I do a circuit. I don't train like a powerlifter
or bodybuilder. I usually do five or six exercises without a break,
then take a rest.
In terms of the exercises, I do a lot of core training with
medicine balls and that kind of thing, as well as weight lifting.
To recover, I drink a Metabolic Drive protein shake. You know, I think of myself as an elite athlete. You
don't put normal fuel in an F-1 car, so I need a world class
supplement and that's what Biotest is all
T-Nation: Is the groin injury completely healed?
GSP: Yes, I'm not worried about that at all.
T-Nation: You've had more than seven months in between
fights. Do you feel that's an advantage for you as
GSP: I think so. I couldn't fight Matt Hughes the last time
because I wasn't one hundred percent. I think everything in
life happens for a reason. So maybe I wouldn't have been ready
if I'd tried to come back from that injury too soon.
T-Nation: For people who didn't see your most recent fight
against BJ Penn, take us back to that fight and explain how you
battled through it.
GSP: At the beginning of the first round, I got punched and his
finger went into my eye, so my vision was shut down for three
minutes. I was too much into the fight to tell the referee to give
me a break to recuperate, because that's like a low blow. I
kept fighting even though I could only use one eye.
During the exchanges I was seeing double, so I wasn't
accurate, and he had an advantage. I also couldn't really back
up because then he'd know that something was wrong. After the first
round, they washed the blood off my face and I changed my strategy.
But most importantly, my vision came back, so I was able to fight
back and win.
T-Nation: Have you watched that fight on video and are you
amazed at how much you were bleeding in the first
GSP: Yes, I've watched it. The bleeding looked worse than
it really was. An uppercut clipped my nose, but it wasn't that
bad. With all the grappling that we were doing, blood was going
everywhere, but I wasn't hurt.
T-Nation: With all that blood and the fact that you
couldn't see, was that the most fear you've ever felt in
GSP: No, I've been more scared before. I was fighting
Thomas Denny in TKO [a Canadian MMA championship] and I entered the
fight very sick. I couldn't breathe and I had a headache.
In the first round, I put him down and I beat him. I tried so
hard to finish him, but the guy always managed to survive. At the
end of the round, I was so tired that I could barely walk back to
my corner. So I said to my cornerman, "Damn! I'm so
tired; I can't go back out there." And my cornerman said,
"What do you mean? You're kicking the guy's ass.
Just go back out and do the same thing you're doing."
I said, "I feel so weak; I'm gonna die. I'm going
to try a high kick to his head, and if that doesn't work,
throw in the towel." So my cornerman looks at me and says,
"Georges, I don't have any towels. Do you see any towels
here?" So I think to myself, "Great! My cornerman wants
me to die."
I got so pissed off that my cornerman, my friend, wanted me to
die in the ring. So I went back out there and finished the guy
T-Nation: And then after the fight, you kicked your
cornerman's ass, right?
GSP: [laughing] No, I respect what he did. That was one of the
scariest moments of my life, but it turned out to be one of my
greatest achievements. With BJ Penn, I was scared because I
couldn't see, but I was never hurt.
T-Nation: When it's time for you to leave the locker room
and head out to the octagon to fight Matt Hughes, what's going
to be going through your head? What do you do to get fired up for a
GSP: I never fight with my emotions. Never. Because when you
fight with anger, you make mistakes. When I fight, it's all
mechanical. There's no emotion whatsoever. I just try to keep
up the rhythm, keep up the pressure, and take the opportunity when
I feel I can finish him.
T-Nation: What's the last thing you'll do before you
enter the ring?
GSP: About ten minutes before I come out, I take a Spike tablet.
As I said, so much of my approach in the ring is mechanical and
analytical. Spike gives me total mental clarity as well as
incredible energy. I think it's a real advantage for me.
T-Nation: You had a pretty rough childhood in Quebec. Tell us
about where you grew up and some of the scars, literally, that you
have from growing up there.
GSP: I grew up in a little town that was separated into four
different districts, so I ended up going to four different schools
in my childhood. One of the schools I went to was La Salle. La
Salle was a very bad place with lots of gang
T-Nation: Is this in the suburbs or is this in
GSP: It's in Montreal. When I was there, it was the worst
neighborhood in all of Montreal. In my school there was a class
that was full of delinquent teenagers. They came every week to
steal my money, take my clothes, things like that.
T-Nation: Did they pick on just you or did they pick on
GSP: It wasn't only me. They took on a lot of people. They
were the main gang in school. They were three years older than
everybody else and they were always together, always hanging out.
I had to fight many times against those people when I was young.
I remember one time, six of them came after me and they beat me up
and took my Chicago Bulls hat. This was at a time when Michael
Jordan was playing and it was a cool thing to have a Bulls hat.
They also tried to take my shoes, but I defended myself and they
just got the hat.
We all got suspended from school for a couple of days. Everybody
was afraid of these guys and I was afraid too, but they made me so
angry that I never wanted to give in to them. So when I returned to
school, I saw one of these guys and he was wearing my hat and
walking around like it belonged to him. I walked up to him and
tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey! Do you remember
me?" When he turned around, I just punched him in the face and
took my hat.
So that was the kind of thing that happened when I was in high
school. I never fight somebody who doesn't deserve it. I
always had to fight for myself.
T-Nation: How did you get the big scar on your
GSP: That actually wasn't from school. I was fighting a guy
– I didn't want to fight him, but I had to – and I knocked
him down. But I was too nice to him and started to walk away.
That's when the guy grabbed his knife and slit my calf. So I
just turned around and kicked his head like a soccer
T-Nation: Between the fighting you did as a kid and later being
a bouncer at bars in Montreal, does any of that come into play when
you're in the ring, or is it pure MMA
GSP: It's pure martial arts for me. I mean, the fact that I
went to a bad school, I don't think it has anything to do with
the fact that I'm a fighter. If anything, in life when I face
an obstacle, I have no problem overcoming it. I never give up and
always keep my head up to face any obstacle.
T-Nation: On your career path, do you feel like you're in
your prime as an MMA fighter or is there still more to learn for
GSP: I definitely still have more to learn. I don't think
I'm in my prime. If you look at other champions, they're
usually around 30 years old. So I still have a few years to go. At
thirty, you're more mature, you're stronger and in the
best shape, but you've also got experience, which is very
T-Nation: Where did your athleticism come from?
GSP: I've always been interested in sports and I've
always been a good athlete. Maybe not the best, but one of the best
in every sport – hockey, basketball, baseball. Whatever I did, I
was always competing at an elite level.
T-Nation: During the recent Ultimate Fighter
TV show, you and Matt Hughes didn't exactly get along very
well together. Will you bring any of that into the ring on November
GSP: Like I said before, I don't fight with emotion. I try
to clear my head of all that stuff. During that show, Matt Hughes
was very arrogant. One day he said to me, in front of everybody
with the cameras on, "Georges! When are you going to stop
avoiding me? Come see me and I'll show you how to get out of
It was a joke and he was trying to be funny, but nobody laughed
and it wasn't a nice thing to say. That wasn't something
that a gentleman would say, not something I'd ever
T-Nation: So you're just going to get in the octagon and
let your actions do the talking for you?
GSP: Exactly. You know, he can say whatever he wants, but I'll
talk with my fists in the octagon on November 18th.
T-Nation: We've got a big party planned for you after the
fight in Sacramento. Good luck in the fight. All of T-Nation will
be rooting for you!
GSP: Thank you very much. I'd just like to say to my main
sponsor, Biotest. Thank you for all of your support! You guys are
the best and I'm looking forward to celebrating together in a
couple of weeks.