Two-time UFC welterweight champion and Montreal native Georges St-Pierre will go home to Montreal to face No. 1 contender Josh Koscheck at UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck tomorrow night.
“This is a very special occasion, I’m fighting in front of fans in my hometown,” said St-Pierre at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday afternoon. “I’m normally fighting in the States, so now my family and close friends can come and see the fight live.
“It’s nice to have the fight in Montreal, but wherever [the] fight is, the Octagon is the same. The only thing that changes is my opponent. I’m at my best when under pressure, and I can’t wait till Saturday night.”
Koscheck has played his usual role of the heel leading up to his rematch (St. Pierre defeated Koscheck via unanimous decision back in August of 2007) with St. Pierre and, during time spent as opposing coaches on the currently airing season of The Ultimate Fighter, Koscheck has done enough to ruffle St. Pierre’s feathers.
“To tell you the truth, there were many times that I had something to say in my head, but because of my brand, because of who I am and because of the way I want to portray myself, I didn’t say anything bad,” he admitted. “But sometimes, I said it to my friends and they were laughing. People don’t know what’s happening in my head. Of course, I’m a good guy on camera, because I take my business very seriously. For me, when I’m in front of the camera, it’s a business. The way I dress and everything, it’s a business, it’s professional.
“I try to portray myself like Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan. Of course, I’m a human being and I have some bad thoughts in my head sometimes. I’m human, I have some bad ideas, but when I’m in front of the camera, it’s business and when it’s business, I think of my business and my brand.”
A man that didn’t even wrestle in high school, the 29-year-old welterweight champion has become one of the greatest pure wrestlers/grapplers in the UFC, an area where Koscheck usually enjoys the advantage against his opponents. St-Pierre dominated Koscheck with his grappling in their first bout, however plans to keep the fight on its feet this time around and has been working with renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach on his striking.
“I’m going to fight smart and methodical,” St. Pierre said. “Of course, the crowd’s going to be there and that’s what Koscheck wants. Koscheck wants me to lose my temper. He wants me to fight like an idiot and lose my temper, because that’s how he can beat me. I don’t think skill-wise, he can beat me. In boxing, the guy who is the better boxer, he wants to box. The guy who is not as good as the other guy, he wants to brawl. When you brawl, it’s like flipping a coin. That’s what he wants me to do, to go in there and lose my mind. But that’s exactly what I’m not going to do.
“I have a lot of tools in my bag. If he stuffs one takedown or two, I don’t mind that. I can knock him out standing up. I can beat him on the floor. I can do whatever I want.”
The Montreal native is currently riding a seven-fight win streak with names that include UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Matt Serra, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy and Koscheck. In their first meeting, GSP earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against the versatile Koscheck at UFC 74 in 2007. St-Pierre hopes that a victory over Koscheck tomorrow night will lead to him not ever having to face him again.
“I’m doing this job because I want to be the best, not number two. I’ve always been like this in my life,” he said. “I want to be the best of the best. I fought Josh Koscheck before, and now I’m fighting in Montreal… But when I beat him, it’s going to be the end of it, and we’re not going to fight again. If he has the same mindset as me, he has to win or consider another choice of career. If he loses, it’s going to take him a long, long time to climb back up the ladder for another shot at the title. Or maybe he’ll never get another one. After I beat him on Saturday, I’m going to start another chapter in my career, and I’m going to be very happy.”
UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck takes place this Saturday, December 11 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As always, FightLine.com will provide live coverage of the event.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.