by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
‘The Muscle Shark,’ Sean Sherk, suffered the second loss of his illustrious 31 fight Mixed Martial Arts career at UFC 56: ‘Full Force’ to George ‘Rush’ St. Pierre. Both of Sherk’s losses have come in the UFC octagon, and the only other person to defeat Sherk, other than George St.
Pierre, is UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes. Sean spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about his loss to St. Pierre, his game plan heading into the fight, and his future in the UFC.
When asked about George St. Pierre, Sean Sherk had nothing but respectful comments. He said, “I’d have to say he’s pretty good man. I was actually surprised by his take down ability. I had watched a lot of video of his and he always shot that single with his head to the outside, so that’s what I had trained for the whole entire time, and with me he was shooting some hard doubles. He’s got some good take downs. He’s got a great sprawl. His striking is good, and he elbows like a friggen freight train. I’d have to say that their camp probably has got the best elbows in Martial Arts it would be safe to say.”
Sherk had formulated a game plan in his preparation for St. Pierre, but sometimes the best laid game plans come unraveled. Sherk stated, “I wanted to definitely get him on the ground, put him on his back. Out of all the things I’ve seen from St. Pierre I’d have to say his weakest area, and not that it’s a weak area, but the weakest out of all the other areas would be on his back. I thought I could exploit some weaknesses there, and my game plan was to take him down and put some elbows in his face.”
Further commenting on his strategy, Sherk said, “I wanted to slow him down. Like I said, I watched a lot of video on St. Pierre. He moves real well. He’s real athletic…, so I figured if I kicked the crap out of his lead leg, it’s going to slow him down a little bit and kind of get him to hold still a little bit. Also, too, that I was giving up a lot of reach; it’s a lot easier for me to kick him than it is for me to punch him. I was really trying to kick underneath his punches, which is what I think I did for the most part…That’s kind of what I was looking for, to kick under his punches and slow him down a little bit.”
Sherk’s been in there with Matt Hughes and George St. Pierre, so naturally the question had to be asked. Who would win a rematch between Matt and George? Although Sherk was able to go the full five rounds with Hughes, and St. Pierre was able to finish him, Sherk picked Hughes. He said, “My opinion, I will have to go with Hughes. I just don’t see St. Pierre beating Hughes. I think Hughes is too strong. I’ve grappled with both of them, and I would have to say Hughes has strength advantage. He’s still going to have the wrestling advantage and all of that experience he’s got. I just don’t see anyone taking that belt from him.”
Sean continued, “The thing with Hughes, I think there’s some kind of mystic with Matt. I mean the guy is what, a twelve time world champion right now? The has defended his belt twelve times. When you step into the octagon that’s got to be on the back of your mind at some point and time. He’s taken out every welterweight fighter that there is, including St. Pierre. Focus wise, I just don’t see St. Pierre being mentally Strong enough to grind out five rounds with Matt Hughes. I just don’t see it.”
With only two loses to arguably the two best welterweights in the world, some have already written Sean Sherk off. “It’s a fair weather sport. When you’re on top everyone loves you, and as soon as something bad happens everyone wants to jump onto the next bandwagon. For me, my goal is; I definitely want to talk some things over with Monte [Cox]. I don’t know what the UFC has in store for me. I have two fights left with them. I want to get the ball rolling again. I want to get some momentum going my way. Last year I fought nine or ten times. I had a lot of momentum going, and I felt great. Right now, I’m pretty much coming off a nine month layoff. I don’t feel that I have the momentum that I had last year, so I want to schedule some fights outside the UFC if they’ll let me depending on how much time they plan on laying me off for. I just want to get the ball rolling and get some momentum going again.” Sherk told MMAWeekly.
That wasn’t Sean Sherk making excuses for his loss to St. Pierre. He made no excuses and dismissed ring rust as a factor in his loss. Sherk commented, “To be honest with you it hurt me more with training than it did when I actually stepped into the cage and fought. When I stepped into the cage and fought there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to win that fight. That’s the mentality that I had. Ring rust, there was no ring rust at all. I felt great when I was out there. I felt fast. I felt crisp. Training wise it did take a factor because I had went from taking nine month of absolutely doing nothing, eating junk food and working a full-time job to training three or four times a day. Mentally and physically it took a toll on my training wise, but like I said, I just want to get things rolling again, get back on track. I still want to be a world champion. That’s still my goal, and this is just a bump in the road. That’s it.”
With the loss to George St. Pierre behind him, who would Sean Sherk like to fight next in the UFC? He said, “There’s really no opponent in particular that I’m looking at fighting. I really don’t care who I fight. I’m glad to be back with the show, so whoever the want to throw at me that’s great. It really doesn’t matter to me. I see there’s a couple of big threats in the division. The rest of the division I don’t really see as a big threat. Now they brought BJ Penn back, so he’s going to be a factor. I don’t really care who I fight.”
Closing out the interview, Sean Sherk took the opportunity to thank his fans. He commented, “I just definitely want to thank all of my loyal fans over the years, and stick around. I’m not done yet. I’m not going anywhere. Like I said when I got beat by Hughes, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll definitely be back.”