Jake Shields file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
St. Pierre still has some work ahead of him at
The 170-pound champ has run roughshod through the division over the
last three years, working over the best the weight class has to
offer. If he gets by Josh
UFC 124, it will mark his fifth successful defense of the
title. But regardless of who wins that fight, UFC President Dana
White has his sights set on a championship matchup involving one
the of UFC's newest talents.
Shields is at the top of the list if he gets by Martin
Kampmann [at UFC
121],” said White during Tuesday's UFC 124 press
UFC 124 will be headlined by the aforementioned title fight between
between St. Pierre and Koscheck, going down at the Bell Center in
Montreal on Dec. 11. Both fighters, along with White and UFC Canada
President Tom Wright were at the press conference this afternoon
and fielded questions from the media.
St. Pierre shocked the former NCAA All-American in their first
fight at UFC 74 in 2007 by out-wrestling Koscheck from bell to
bell, putting the former national champion on his back several
“He's got a great wrestling pedigree. He's one of the best
wrestlers in MMA, but it's not a wrestling match. It's an MMA
fight; it's a different thing,” said the champion. “I always fight
against my opponent's weakness. If I'm champion, it's not because
I'm the strongest, the fastest or the best wrestler. It's because I
bring the fight to where he's the weakest.”
St. Pierre has expressed his distaste for his last performance at
UFC 111, in which he earned a dominant but uneventful unanimous
decision over Dan Hardy. In
this defense, St. Pierre is looking to end the fight.
“I care about winning, but also about how I win. I'm not happy with
my last fight [against Dan Hardy at UFC 111]. I wasn't able to seal
the deal. I know now what I did wrong, and I'm the kind of guy who
never makes same mistake twice. I will finish the fight. He'll tap,
or if he doesn't, his limb will break. I'm going into this fight to
win by knockout or submission. I want to take him out and finish
The French-Canadian was also asked about the mind games being
employed by the challenger and whether they will affect his
attitude heading into the fight.
“Yeah, [he's gotten under my skin], but that's a good thing. I've
performed my best against the guys who have been arrogant. [Look at
my fights against] Serra the second time, Matt Hughes
Penn. I feel more pressure, like I'm right on edge of falling,
and I can't step back. That's when I'm at my best, and so it's
perfect for me,” said St. Pierre.
“GSP” also claimed that the bad blood between the two is nothing
personal, at least not on his end.
“I like the mind games. Fighting is not personal for me. I'm going
to promote the fight. I'm going to do my best, and after the fight
I'll shake his hand. But that doesn't mean I like to be in the same
room with him. He's arrogant, and I'm going to fight him. But in a
year, there won't be any animosity for me,” said St. Pierre. “If
you put two roosters in same cage, they're gonna fight each other.
You can't have two alpha males. There can only be one
His opponent says that if he's irritated the champion, it's been
incidental, and that it's all part of promoting a big fight.
“That's not my goal [to anger St. Pierre], although I probably
did,” said Koscheck. “I'm here to win fights. I'll fight anybody,
anytime, anyplace. He's got all the pressure. He's the champ.
There's no pressure on me. I'm coming in with clean slate, and I'm
gonna train hard. The thing about it is that I don't need
motivation. I love to fight. I don't need motivation to fight.”
Like the champion, the challenger is aware of his past mistakes and
isn't looking to repeat them.
“I'm a better fighter than I was the first time we fought. That
first fight, I thought he was a karate guy, so I worked on my
standup, because I didn't think he could take me down. But George
is a fast learner,” said the former All-American. “This definitely
is not a wrestling match. I believe I could beat him pretty easily
in a wrestling match. But you have to become a complete fighter.
You have to work on your takedown defense, your ground game, your
Koscheck, who coaches opposite the champion on “The Ultimate
Fighter” season 12, has made several disparaging remarks toward the
champion, claiming that it would be especially painful to lose to a
“I'm not a racist by any means. It's called expression. It's me
putting on a performance and putting butts in seats. I have fun
with it. I'm here to make money and to have fun and to win fights,”
said the American Kickboxing Academy product. “When it's [no longer
fun], and I can't express myself, then it's time to get a new
career. [The Bell Center] is going to be packed. It's probably
going to be the loudest crowd in the history of the UFC. My goal is
to piss 20,000 people off, hop on a plane with the belt and get out
of here as fast as I can.
Also mentioned at the conference was the UFC's future in
“Canada is the second biggest market for UFC. I'd come here every
weekend if could,” said White. UFC Canada President Tom Wright
added: “MMA was just sanctioned in Ontario, so we'll probably do an
event sometime mid next year. It will probably be sandwiched
between events in Vancouver and Montreal.”