by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When it was announced that Georges St-Pierre would step up on short notice to battle Matt Hughes for the interim welterweight title on Dec. 29, Greg Jackson, St-Pierre’s coach and trainer, kicked into overdrive to make sure his fighter would be ready for the task at hand, a five-round title fight with possibly the most dominant champion in Ultimate Fighting Championship history.
To prepare for the upcoming bout, Jackson will focus on getting his fighter ready in a short amount of time without sacrificing any of the components needed to fight someone like Hughes.
“We’ve just got to make sure we really focus on that conditioning and make sure Georges can go all five rounds,” said Jackson. “We’re expecting a good five-round war. We speed up the process a little bit and make sure he can peak at the right time.”
With weight cutting always being a major concern for most fighters, St-Pierre admitted during a UFC conference call on Monday that the only thing he needed to watch was what he was eating. Jackson feels confident the weight cut won’t be a problem.
“We just have to make sure that Georges does everything right,” he stated. “Eats right, cuts right and he’s done it before and shouldn’t have a big deal with it.”
On the upside of taking a fight on short notice is the fact that St-Pierre never really takes himself out of fight shape and also works consistently with the other fighters at Jackson’s camp in New Mexico.
“Georges is always training. He’s always trying to improve himself and get better,” Jackson said. “He comes down to New Mexico a lot, even when he really doesn’t have to, to help out the guys and kind of get himself on the cutting edge.
“I think that’s one of the advantages of having a team that really cares about each other. Those guys are constantly coming back and helping each other.”
The fight between St-Pierre and Hughes will be the third bout in a series that has seen each fighter get a win, and Jackson understands the threat the former welterweight champion poses.
“I think Matt Hughes is going to be really hungry to avenge his loss,” he said. “I think he’s not going to play the stand-up nearly as much as he’s done in the past. I think he’s going to try to get Georges on his back, put him up against the fence and keep him down.”
As far as St-Pierre’s game plan going into the fight with Hughes, Jackson has already demonstrated his ability to dissect a bout for each of his fighters, as he’s proven in past fights such as St-Pierre versus Josh Koscheck and Keith Jardine winning over Chuck Liddell.
“I figured we were going to fight Hughes sooner or later, so I don’t know if it’s the perfect game plan, but it’s the plan we’ll use and hopefully we’ll be successful with it,” he stated.
In the end, St-Pierre will work tirelessly over the next four weeks to prepare himself for the bout with Hughes and Jackson understands the test that faces his fighter in just a month.
“It’s going to be a matter of proper preparation,” said the highly sought after trainer. “I don’t think he’s looking past Matt Hughes at all. Quite the contrary, we’re really excited. Matt’s in great shape, I’m sure, from training so hard to fight Serra, so we’re expecting a five-round war and we’re going to make sure that we’re not expecting to knock him out. We’re not expecting to tap him out. If that happens, hey that’s great, we’re expecting to be in a great war.”