Being a part of the biggest fight in UFC history could rattle a lot of fighters. With millions watching all over the world and thousands of fans in attendance, just about anybody could feel the nerves shaking their body, or the butterflies in their stomach. But one fighter who is as calm as can be is UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who isn’t thinking about hype, promotion or fan fare.
He’s only thinking about one thing- B.J. Penn.
St. Pierre knows how important this fight on Saturday night could be for the UFC and the sport of MMA, and he was happy to give Penn a rematch from a fight the Canadian won a few years ago.
“I’m very glad to fight B.J. Penn. The reason is, right now, I have some challengers. Of course, Thiago Alves is the No. 1 guy right now. I have a lot of other guys in my weight class, but the guy everybody wants to see me fight is B.J. Penn,” St. Pierre told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “It’s a fight that’s going to make history.”
History will be made when St. Pierre and Penn, arguably two of the sport’s biggest stars and best fighters, meet in the Octagon at a time
when you will rarely see champions from different weight classes meet to decide who could be the best pound for pound fighter in MMA.
The first fight saw a strong performance from the Hawaiian early on, but St. Pierre persevered and worked his way to a decision
victory. This time around, the Canadian champion understands that much is different about both fighters.
“I’m sure B.J. is better than he used to be before, but I am a way, way, way more improved version than I used to be than when I fought
B.J. the first time,” St. Pierre stated. “I’m very much well prepared.”
One of the biggest differences in St. Pierre’s training is the addition of Greg Jackson, who has helped lay out the gameplan for many of
the welterweight champion’s fights since he joined his top ranked team. Along with Jackson came a number of great training partners like UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, and Nate Marquardt, to help prepare St. Pierre for his fights.
“It will be a major factor,” St. Pierre said about the addition of Jackson and his team to his camp. “If I have something to say, it’s that I know how to fight B.J. Penn, and I’m going to take care of business Jan. 31. I know how to fight him and I’ve been studying a lot of tape, and we put on a great strategy to shut down his whole game and it’s going to work very well.”
Penn has of course amped up his training of late, while also turning up the volume on the trash talk aimed directly at St. Pierre. No one will ever accuse Penn of not doing his part to help hype a fight he is involved with, but the 170-pound king isn’t concerned with talk… only action.
“I don’t focus on what B.J. Penn is doing, I focus on what I do,” St. Pierre said.”The reason is as a fighter it’s important to focus on things you have control on, and I don’t have any control on what B.J. is doing and what B.J. is saying.”
When it’s all said and done, St. Pierre simply says his goal is to be the absolute best fighter he can be and if B.J. Penn is the challenge
that gets him there, so be it.
“I want people who challenge me. I want to fight the best in the world to become the best,” St. Pierre stated in closing.
The best of the best will square off when Georges St. Pierre faces B.J. Penn at UFC 94 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.