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The Ultimate Rush

By: Chris Tessaro



There is tough. And then there is the UFC. When it comes to the ancient art of hand to hand combat, there is no one... NO ONE…tougher than a UFC fighter. Anyone with the skill to enter the octagon is flat out guaranteed to be tough as nails, with a lethal skill set that makes most bikers and boxers look like pussies. And with the incredible soaring success of the UFC, both live and on PPV, not to mention the successful reality show The Ultimate Fighter, these guys are finally getting the recognition and the paycheques they deserve. And one of the fastest rising superstars of the UFC is a 5’10”, 170 pound Canadian named George ‘Rush’ St. Pierre. His rise to the top has been both meteoric and well deserved. And on April 7th, UFC President Dana White made an announcement to the world. George St. Pierre will get his shot at the Welterweight title. And you can bet your ass that St. Pierre will leave the octagon with that belt around his waist. And on the day of White’s announcement, we sat down with the deadliest 170 pounder in the world to have a little chat…

 

UMM: So a kid from Quebec is on his way to becoming a big star in the UFC…

GSP: I think so. I’m going to have a title shot now. I just want to be the best in the world, and I hope I’m going to reach my goal.

UMM: How did you get started?

GSP: I started to do karate when I was seven years old. At that time, I also played hockey. My parents, they didn’t have a lot of money, so they tell me I have to choose. So I choose karate. I get my first black belt when I was twelve years old. And all of the competitions that I did, they were full contact.

UMM: When did you move into mixed martial arts?

GSP: When my karate teacher died, I was looking for a Muay Thay school, and I saw the first UFC tournament (UFC 1), and I saw Royce Gracie. And he won the tournament, and I wondered how a guy of 170 pounds could beat a guy who was 300 pounds, and I realized it was all skill, not size or strength. And I started to train for it, because I was inspired to become a world champion.

UMM: There is no tougher sport than Ultimate Fighting, but some guys actually like getting hit. Are you one of those?

GSP: When I fight, I try to NOT get hit. I like to fight. I love my job, and I think that getting hit is part of the job, but your body isn’t made to get hit, so I try to avoid my opponent’s strikes.

UMM: So how did you end up in the UFC?

GSP: My manager did a great job for me. He arranged a fight for me with a fighter who was an upcoming star in the UFC. And I beat him. So the UFC recruit me after that.

UMM: At what point did you realize that you could make a living at this, and not have to bounce in bars anymore?

GSP: When I signed my first contract with the UFC. You get money from the fights, but you also get money from sponsorships.

UMM: No fighter ever believes they’re going to lose, otherwise they wouldn’t fight. But when did you realize that you really ARE a great talent?

GSP: I’m going to tell you something: I always believed in myself. But I DIDN’T believe it would happen that fast. I started my career, and two years later, I’m in the UFC. And I remember saying to myself, ‘Wow. I never thought I would be here, fighting my first fight in the UFC.’ And now, two years later again, I’m getting my title fight.

UMM: Let’s talk about your last fight: you fight BJ Penn, a big name in the UFC, and early in the fight, he accidently cuts you with a thumb, then busts up your nose with a punch that almost misses. So you LOOK beat up… but you’re not.

GSP: Yah, I should have blocked that jab. But when those kinds of things happen, you have to deal with it. The problem was the blood, in the first round I was almost blind. So I have to push the pace, because I look beat up, but also because I am fighting an American guy in the United States. But in the second and third round I dominated him.

UMM: What was it like being booed because you were Canadian at the ‘Canada vs USA’ UFC 58?

GSP: I fight for my fans, and for myself, so it didn’t bother me. But I have a lot of fans in the US as well. But I’m very proud to be Canadian. I don’t want to let the Canadian people down. I still live in Montreal, and I’m never going to move. I love where I live.

UMM: What do you say now when kids come up to you and say, ‘I want to be just like you’?

GSP: First, you have to put your priorities right. You have to have school. But I’ll tell you something about martial arts. When I was a kid, I could have gone a different way, a bad way. But martial arts always kept me disciplined, and on the right path. But to make it to the UFC… it’s like the NHL. How many guys really make it? You can get hurt, you might not make it…so you need an education to fall back on.

 

UMM: And you have to be tough…but not just physically tough, mentally tough too.

GSP: It’s very tough. It takes dedication. When I get ready for a fight, I train twice a day, for two hours each time, six days a week.

UMM: What’s the best part of the success you now have?

GSP: It’s for sure the personal satisfaction. When you win a fight, you’re achieving a goal, and there is no better feeling than that, knowing that you did a great job.

UMM: So where do you go from here? We’re Canadian, we already know you’re going to beat (current champion) Matt Hughes, so what after that?

GSP: (laughing) Yah, you better just give me the belt right now. No, really, I see myself becoming a world champion. And if I become successful in my division, maybe I’ll move up and see if I can become a champion in the next weight class. There are no limits. I do this because I love it.

 

Remember, you heard it here first: George St. Pierre will be a UFC Champion. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Or a tougher one… Allons y, George… go get ‘em!



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