by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
When putting together the short list of fighters who could be named Fighter of the Year in 2005, one name that comes to mind is Georges St. Pierre. Going undefeated through the year with wins over such high caliber opposition as Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg, and Sean Sherk, St. Pierre stepped up and proved he’s one of the best all-around competitors in the sport.
In his most recent win over Sherk, Georges dominated as he has all year and further made a strong statement for his title aspirations. However, with the recent signing of BJ Penn to the UFC, it seems that Georges’ track to the Welterweight Championship may be temporarily on hold.
Never one to complain, St. Pierre knows his time will come and he’s more than happy to go through whatever opposition is placed in front of him on his road to glory. Recently, Georges took time out of his schedule to discuss with MMA Weekly his recent activities, rumors of a possible match-up with Penn, and what 2006 holds in store for the man known as “Rush.”
MMA Weekly: First off Georges, tell us what you’ve been up to since your win over Sean Sherk at UFC 56.
Georges St. Pierre: After my fight I went on vacation to the Dominican Republic. I took one week totally off; I didn’t even do one push-up when I was there, nothing at all. I played tennis, I danced at nightclubs, I drank a little, had fun and relaxed. After my week off I came back and started my training. I don’t train hard as I do before a fight, but I train everyday and stay busy, because not only for my next fight but because I like it. It’s my job and I like to train, if I stay at my house and don’t do anything I feel lazy, I don’t feel good.
MMA Weekly: Let’s talk about that last fight for a minute. A lot of people were very impressed with your performance against Sherk. Did you do everything you set out to do in that match or are there things you feel you could have done better?
Georges St. Pierre: You know I’m not surprised about my fight, the way I took my fight is I always expect the fight to go the distance. Against Sean Sherk I was expecting a three round war, but if the fight finishes earlier, I take it. I did a lot of mistakes, I’m still making mistakes, I’m not perfect, I have a lot of work to do and I know it. That’s why I think I’m going to improve a lot, because I know I have a lot of things I have to improve. I’m a realist, I’m not the kind of fighter that thinks he’s the best and doesn’t do any mistakes. I know I have a lot of things to improve that I work a lot on.
MMA Weekly: It’s hard to believe you did anything wrong in that fight, you dominated from start to finish.
Georges St. Pierre: It’s true, I did a lot of mistakes, I could have hurt him more, especially in the first round, I saw a lot of openings. My Muay Thai/Karate coach was pissed off, because he said I could have hurt him more. It’s true, we watched the tape together and we found out that I missed a lot of opportunities. But you know it’s normal, I’m not a robot, I train to become like it, but I still have to work a lot.
MMA Weekly: Knowing what kind of jokester your teammate David Loiseau is, I’m sure he told you he could have finished the fight quicker via KO huh?
Georges St. Pierre: [Laughs] Yeah, you know Loiseau is a funny guy. But in a win you have to check your mistakes, not only when you lose, but when you win. When you win a fight and don’t look at it and just celebrate and are just happy because you won the fight, you’re going to go nowhere. Because one day maybe I’m going to fight a guy a lot better than Sean Sherk, a guy who is not going to do mistakes and I’m going to be in trouble. I need to work on my mistakes and it’s the time now to work on these mistakes, because I now have no fight coming up. My next fight is going to be in like three or four months, so it’s time now to work on my mistakes. When the fight is coming it’s time to push myself and limits and train for my next fight, not train on my mistakes.
MMA Weekly: Let’s talk about that next fight. Some people are under the impression that you’ll fight BJ Penn next and that he said he wants to fight you before Matt Hughes. What are your thoughts about that?
Georges St. Pierre: I’m not afraid of anybody, now I’m to the level that I cannot refuse anybody. I’m ranked two or three in the world in my division, so I cannot refuse anybody. For sure I’d like to fight Matt Hughes, I’d hope it’s going to be Matt Hughes but I don’t know what’s going to happen. If it’s BJ, I’m going to take BJ, I’m not afraid. I’m going to have to fight these two guys anyway, if I fight Hughes it’s all right, but I’ll have to fight BJ after or it’s going to be the opposite, I don’t care. I just want to fight and hopefully it’s going to be for a title. In 2006 I’m going to have a title shot and I’m going to be World Champion of the UFC, in my mind I’m pretty sure I will be the Champion.
MMA Weekly: Let’s say you face off against Penn first, what kind of strategy would you have to have to beat someone like him?
Georges St. Pierre: A guy like BJ, he’s very well rounded, but when you’re ranked in the top five, everybody is well rounded. Everybody has a solid base and has a particular strength. BJ’s strength is Jiu-Jitsu, so if I fight BJ I have to be careful of his Jiu-Jitsu. When I fought Sean Sherk I had to be careful of his wrestling, his ground ‘n pound. Everybody is well rounded but they have a special strength, special weapon. If I have to go to the ground with BJ I have to stay close, very tight and not give him a lot of openings.
MMA Weekly: You’ve already fought Matt Hughes once, what would be different the second time around?
Georges St. Pierre: Matt Hughes, I think I am more than ready for him. Since I lost to him I just want to have a rematch. He beat me fair and square the first time, he did a very nice move. Not to give me an excuse, but if I was going into that fight mentally 100%, I think I would beat him. I cracked under the pressure, I wasn’t there (mentally), at the end of the match when he spun for the armbar. I tapped even before my arm was stretched. Because in that fight I thought Matt Hughes was killing me, kicking my ass. But, when I watched the tape I realized I was doing pretty well. I know I’m the caliber of fighter who can beat Matt Hughes. I believe a lot more in myself and I cannot wait for a rematch with him.
MMA Weekly: Would you say you had a fulfilling year in 2005?
Georges St. Pierre: Yeah I had a pretty good year. In 2004 I lost against Hughes, but I came back strong. I beat Dave Strasser in January in Canada (at TKO 19), I beat Jason Miller in April, I beat Frank Trigg in August and I beat Sherk in November, so it’s perfect for me- four victories. But I hope now they are going to give me a title shot, I think I deserve it. I beat all the contenders faster than Hughes beat them himself, so I think I deserve it.
MMA Weekly: When you first came into the UFC the fans weren’t quite sold on you, but lately they’ve really rallied behind you and you’ve become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. How does it feel to have the fans support and to know they are behind you?
Georges St. Pierre: It feels great. Before like you said, it’s true, the crowd booed me, but it’s normal, in the beginning they cheer for their hometown guy, but now a lot of people like me. I think it’s because I give a good image of the sport, I think it’s very important for us, for our sport, to be accepted all over the world to give a good image of it. Don’t let people think we are bums or street fighters or guys like that, it’s very important to make people believe we are real professional athletes.
MMA Weekly: I’m sure the dancing has helped a bit too.
Georges St. Pierre: [Laughs] Exactly.
MMA Weekly: You also have to be pretty happy with the fact that your team is becoming one of the best in the sport and that they’re in line for titles as well in the New Year.
Georges St. Pierre: I think that David is going to win the world title when he’s going to fight Franklin. I have no doubt in my mind. You know I’m very glad because we work very hard together, we train very hard together, but we still have a lot of things to work on. We’re still doing a lot of mistakes, but that’s normal, we’re very young. We have a lot of time to improve and become almost, I say almost because perfection doesn’t exist, almost perfect fighters. We have to work a lot to reach that level of fighting, but I am very happy we have done so well.
MMA Weekly: All right Georges, thank you for your time, we appreciate it as always. Is there anything you’d like to say as we head out?
Georges St. Pierre: I want to thank all the fans for the support they gave me and I hope they are still going to cheer for me, because in 2006 I will become the UFC World Welterweight Champion. I hope I will be a good Champion for the crowd, thank you very much and see you again in March or April.