by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Just when it appeared that Georges St-Pierre had cleared out the welterweight division, and a move to a different weight class could be eminent, along came Dan Hardy; who, with his swagger and knockout punch, vaulted to the top of the contenders list last year. He now gets his opportunity to challenge St-Pierre for the title at UFC 111.
Some have made an argument against Hardy getting the shot at the title, but St-Pierre himself stands by the choice, and points out that he’s done exactly what a contender has to do. In the words of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis… just win, baby.
“I’m happy. I’ve fought a lot of the other guys already in my division who were in line for a title shot, so I think he deserves it,” St-Pierre said about Hardy. “He has beat everybody. He’s undefeated in the UFC. So I think it’s perfect.”
Listening to people say that a fighter didn’t deserve a shot at the title is a familiar ring to St-Pierre. Just when it appeared that the Canadian was set to go on an epic run as champion, he ran into huge underdog Matt Serra, and less than a round later he was headed home to Montreal without his title belt.
St-Pierre says it was a lesson learned, and underestimating an opponent is something he’ll never do again.
“I see it a little bit it’s the same scenario… when I fought Matt Serra the first time everybody told me ‘oh, he shouldn’t be there, you shouldn’t fight him, he didn’t deserve it’ and I got beat,” said St-Pierre. “For me it’s a little bit like redemption. It’s a chance to redeem myself by being in the same situation that I was the first time, but this time succeed.”
Hardy has one big thing on his side in this fight, and that’s simply no one expects him to win, so he has nothing to lose and that makes anybody dangerous. Given that factor, plus the deadly power in Hardy’s hands, and the formula is simple. The Brit has to leave everything in the Octagon.
For the champion’s part, he has studied Hardy’s game and knows what danger he brings into the fight, and GSP is ready to test him and see if he’s ready to roll with the best.
“I know what he’s good at. I’m aware of his strengths, but I’m not afraid of him,” said St-Pierre. “I’m going to fight my fight, I’m going to control the pace, and this fight is going to be mine, starting at the beginning until the end.”
Confidence and swagger are two terms usually used to describe Hardy, but when you’re Georges St-Pierre, currently riding a six-fight win streak, and gunning for a fourth consecutive title defense, you’ve earned the right to be confident, too.
“There is no way I’m going to lose this fight. I’m going to be there 110 percent. I can’t wait. I’m ready to step inside the Octagon. I’m ready for a war,” said St-Pierre.
The Canadian champion will close out his camp in Montreal before heading back to New Jersey for his UFC 111 main event fight against Dan Hardy.