matt-hughes-16.jpgMONTREAL – With three title fights against him, Matt Hughes knows a thing or two about Georges St-Pierre.

When it comes to Saturday’s UFC 158 welterweight title fight between St-Pierre (23-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC) and Nick Diaz (26-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC), Hughes believes the champ has the edge.

But, Hughes said at a Friday Q&A session at Montreal’s Bell Centre, site of Saturday’s pay-per-view, there are ways Diaz could give the hometown favorite some fits.

Hughes was the first fighter to beat St-Pierre, submitting him with one second left in the first round at UFC 50 about eight and a half years ago in a 170-pound title fight. Hughes won four in a row after that, which included a pair of title defenses.

But at UFC 65, St-Pierre got his revenge with a first-round TKO to win the belt. The two met again at UFC 79 for the interim title while champ Matt Serra, who beat St-Pierre in arguably the biggest upset in UFC history, recovered from a back injury. And again, St-Pierre got the win, that time with a second-round armbar.

Because St-Pierre has a strong wrestling pedigree, like Hughes, the UFC Hall of Famer believes that’s his key to winning the fight: by being able to control where the action goes.

“The wrestlers have the big advantage in this sport,” Hughes said. “If GSP’s going to stand, he’s going to stand. If he’s going to go to the ground, he’s going to go to the ground. So I think that’s going to be great for GSP to be able to control the fight – no doubt about it. I think Diaz is OK in the wrestling game, but you can’t compare it to GSP.”

Hughes also believes St-Pierre will have a speed advantage and should be able to use that, as well.

“I think GSP is going to be the faster fighter,” he said. “So if I was coaching GSP, I’d say, ‘If you feel comfortable on your feet, get in and throw some bigger punches. Then come back out, out of range, and do whatever you want. If you feel comfortable taking him down, take him down.’”

Diaz, regarded as one of the sport’s best boxers, might pose a few problems for St-Pierre on the feet. But unless he brings something else to the table besides his two hands, Hughes believes St-Pierre can neutralize that part of his game with his strengths elsewhere.

“If Georges wants to stand with him, all he has to worry about is two hands,” he said. “He doesn’t have to worry about kicks or knees. He can really do whatever he wants. I don’t know what the game plan is, but Georges is going to be faster, and Georges is going to be able to control the takedown game. The advantage is to Georges because he’s going to be on top, and most judges see if you’re on top, you’re winning the fight. I don’t think I really see Diaz throwing an elbow to win the fight. Georges has a lot of good things going for him in the fight.”

It seems as if Hughes might give the nod all the way around to his three-time nemesis. But not so fast.

If Diaz can stretch the fight to the championship rounds, Hughes believes the tide could turn in the challenger’s favor.

“Diaz is in great shape, and this is the first time that Georges is probably going to be facing someone that’s in better shape than he is,” Hughes said. “So if I was Diaz, I’d push the fight and try to get in GSP’s mind: ‘Hey, I’m here to fight, and I’m going to try to take it to you.’ Diaz is going to want to brawl, so Georges needs to play a smart game and if he comes hard at him, just take him down. Don’t keep backpedaling.

“The fourth and fifth rounds could be very interesting because that could wear on GSP. ‘Is this guy really coming at me this hard? Is he going to have better cardio than me?’ It’s going to be really interesting in the later rounds.”

St-Pierre is a 5-to-1 favorite in the fight. Only against Dan Hardy at UFC 111 has St-Pierre been a heavier favorite since his loss to Serra at UFC 69.

For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 Odds, Tickets, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-In Hype

  • 28 days ago
  • 35 views

Not one, but two championship fights headline UFC 199. Luke Rockhold will defend his middleweight championship against Michael Bisping in the main event Saturday night in Los Angeles, while Dominick read news >>

UFC 199 Weigh-ins Results: Two Title Fights Officially Set

  • 27 days ago
  • 11 views

Before UFC 199 can take place on Saturday, the fighters on the card first had to weigh-in at The Forum on Friday, and all the athletes hit their mark on the scales. read news >>

If Max Holloway Doesn’t Get a Title Shot, He’ll Just Keep Winning Fights (UFC 199 Video)

  • 24 days ago
  • 22 views

Max Holloway doesn't know what's next for him or if a UFC featherweight title shot is in his near future, even after decisively defeating Ricardo Lamas at UFC 199. read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter 23: Ep. 8 Preview

  • 22 days ago
  • 36 views

It's down to the final two fights in the preliminary round of The Ultimate Fighter, with Team Joanna still searching for their first win as Josh Stansbury looks to take out Abdel Medjedoub in the fin read news >>

Marc Ratner headed to International Boxing Hall of Fame

  • 22 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner has witnessed countless big fights, both in the boxing ring and in the Octagon. He will be front and center Saturday when he is inducted into the read news >>

Josh Copeland Wants a Win at WSOF 31 and Many More Fights in 2016

  • 19 days ago
  • 6 views

Struggling to stay busy, Josh Copeland wants nothing more than a win at WSOF 31 and several more fights in 2016. read news >>

Max Holloway: Hawaii's Wunderkind Is the Featherweight to Watch

  • 19 days ago
  • 24 views

Despite 15 fights in the UFC since debuting in February 2012—12 of which he won—Max "Blessed" Holloway has flown under the radar for many casual fans. The Hawaiian striker was ranked No. 4 and on an read news >>

Max Holloway: Hawaii's Wunderkind Is the Featherweight to Watch

  • 19 days ago
  • 12 views

Despite 15 fights in the UFC since debuting in February 2012—12 of which he won—Max "Blessed" Holloway has flown under the radar for many casual fans. The Hawaiian striker was ranked No. 4 and on an read news >>

UFC 200 Free Fight: Miesha Tate Chokes Out Holly Holm

  • 17 days ago
  • 27 views

Relive one of the greatest fights in women's bantamweight history as Miesha Tate meets Holly Holm at UFC 196. "Cupcake" puts her title on the line for the first time at UFC 200. read news >>

UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2 Extended Video Preview

  • 9 days ago
  • 43 views

Stacked with three world title fights and the return of one of UFC’s elite superstars, the historic UFC 200 event will thrill fans around the globe. read news >>