UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields Media Conference Call Highlights (Part 2)Posted on April 21, 2011, 04:01 PM by Joey Santosus
Reigning Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and former Strikeforce and Elite XC champ Jake Shields will headline the landmark UFC 129 fight card, set to take place April 30th from the sold-out Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The co-main event will feature a Featherweight title clash between division champ Jose Aldo and challenger Mark Hominick, while the legendary Randy Couture will go head to head with top Light Heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida.
Below are highlights from today's Media Conference Call, which included headliners Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields:
Georges St. Pierre:
• It's the same Octagon, the same rules, just a different opponent. Of course the bar is raised much higher. I'm fighting a much better guy, but I welcome the challenge.
• I want to fight the best and I want to be the best. I don't want to be a paper champion, I want to be a real champion. To do that I have to fight the best contenders and Jake Shields is like a champion too. He's been champion of many organizations and in different weight classes.
• Pressure is always there. At the point where I am, I realize that with every fight the pressure is bigger. The sport is getting bigger. Fight after fight there is more pressure and more people watching you.
• If I fought Jake in a basement, where no one was watching, maybe the pressure wouldn't be as bad. Sometimes it's the entourage, it's the people around that make it worse. That said, I perform better under pressure.
• Media commitments are always a distraction. I'm not going to lie, it's the worst part. You have to wake up very early in the morning, which is bad because it messes up your sleep time. But, when you're champion you have to be ready to make that sacrifice. What pays us is the fans and the fans want to know what's going on with us. There's no perfect job.
• A lot of people try to get into my head, I'm used to that. But, Jake is a true champion and he doesn't need to do that. I think someone who trash talks lacks confidence. Jake is a humble guy, but that doesn't mean that he isn't going to go as hard as he can on me the night of the fight. And the same thing for me.
• I don't want to be cocky, but I always knew, even before I started fighting, I always had a very strong belief in myself. I always knew I could be champion. I knew in my heart that I could be the greatest.
• Right now I am a 170-pound fighter. If I fought at 185-pounds it would be a complete reorientation of my career. For example, in my opinion what ruined Roy Jones' career and winning streak was going up in weight and then trying to go back down.
• When everyone thought that Jake was going to lose to Robbie Lawler, I knew he was going to win. It was the same when he fought Dan Henderson. I knew every single time that Jake Shields was the underdog, I had a firm belief that he was going to win. People forget that a guy that has good submission holds is just as dangerous as a guy with knockout power.
• I strongly believe that if Jake was put against any of the contenders that I've fought before, Jake would win the fight. That is why when I say that the stakes are raised higher than they have ever been before, I'm not lying.
• (People considering Shields as such a big underdog) is foolish. It's like a trap for me. I'm not going to fall into that trap. The odds are ridiculous. The people who make the odds do not know who they are dealing with. They don't know the sport very well.
• I'm around 185 right now.
• There were a lot of things in the Alves, Fitch, and Hardy fights that were 'beautiful.'
• I'm honored and glad to be fighting on this card, it's a historical event. There's going to be a lot of emotion and it's a night that I will remember for the rest of my life.
• I've made too many sacrifices. I've put in everything that I have. I could not be more prepared than I am right now. If I fail, even though I've done everything, I would be heart broken.
• I'm fighting in Canada, but it's not about the country. I have fans all around the world. I'm fighting for myself and for my fans - Whether my fans are Canadian, American, Asian, Brazilian, I don't care. I'm fighting for all of them equally.
• (Having the Diaz bros., Gilbert Melendez, as well as other Welterweights to train with) helped a lot because they're all around my weight and they all train really hard and they're all top guys. Of course, none of them have the same skill set as GSP, they all have different things to offer. It's been a tremendous help.
• Even though I'm going into hostile territory, I'm going to be surrounded by like 20 guys that are coming up with us.
• I got (the weight) in check a long time ago, I was 182 this morning. Which for me is a nice easy cut. I'm way under weight, its going to be no problem. I made a huge mistake last time, which was 100% my fault. I learn from my mistakes and I'm certainly not going to do that again.
• Fighting GSP is something I've wanted for years. I want to test myself against the best and I think he certainly is the best.
• It's crazy, I've never had this much media before. It's definitely insane, but I know that Georges is dealing with it to. Really, I put training first and just do my interviews in between. I haven't missed one training session because of it, so that's all that really matters.
• The UFC has me doing an insane amount of interviews, which is something that I am not used to. They have me getting up at 7 a.m. doing interviews, which is 4 a.m. in my time. Seems kind of ridiculous to me.
• I was a wrestler originally and then I found jiu-jitsu and I just fell in love with it. So I started mixing BJJ and wrestling and infused them. I don't think there is anyone that fights the way I do, which makes me a hard guy to train for. It's the same with Georges.
• I mentally refuse to lose and I always find a way to win. I also think my grappling is on a different level than those guys (Fitch, Koscheck, Penn, etc.).
• Georges is completely different from anyone I have fought as well. He's one of the best conditioned, one of the greatest strikers, he's just one of those guys with very little holes in his game. Of course he does still have his weaknesses.
• I didn't think to much of GSP training with Roger Gracie and Braulio Estima. I think those guys are phenomenal jiu-jitsu guys and its very smart of Georges to train with guys like that. They're different from me, but they're definitely good guys to bring in.
• (Being a 4-1 underdog) was a little surprising to me, but it doesn't really bother me at all. I was also a 4-1 underdog against Henderson, which also surprised me. But it doesn't bother me at all, I don't look at myself as the underdog going into this fight. I look at it as even, and in my mind I'm going to go out there and win.
• I had started getting comfortable fighting at 185-pounds, but ultimately GSP was the guy I wanted to fight. I've wanted to fight him for a long time. Of course I'd like to fight Anderson Silva as well, but in my mind GSP is the greatest fighter right now.
• My experience gives me a lot of confidence. I've been in five rounders, I've been in wars, I've fought good guys. Even though Georges is a great champion, I've been a champion too. A lot of UFC fans don't know where I've been.
• Even though I'm not Canadian, I'm super-excited to be a part of this card. I've been to Toronto before and I love fighting there. They treated me great.
Photo: Georges St.-Pierre celebrates his victory over BJ Penn at the UFC 94 at the MGM Grand Arena, on January 31, 2009 in Las Vegas, NV. Francis Specker