GSP ready for Serra in Montreal

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Few quick things you should know about the extremely popular Georges St. Pierre, aka Rush, aka GSP:

Don't question his character, don't make fun of his heritage and, oh yeah, don't attack him with a knife.

Other than that, you're going to see in St. Pierre -- a 26-year-old from Saint-Isidore, Que., and the "interim" Ultimate Fighting Champion welterweight title holder -- the "nice-guy" reputation that proceeded his whirlwind visit to the nation's capital this weekend.

So friendly. So dedicated. So giving of his time.

St. Pierre signed autographs at a Local Heroes "Meet 'n' Greet" Friday night and until the wee hours of yesterday morning, with money raised from the session going to CHEO.

He didn't even get up to go for a pee. Not once.

"Wanted to do it all in one shot," a member of his entourage said of GSP's determination to satisfy all his fans without making them wait any longer than necessary.

Now that's one tough hombre.

Following a brief sleep, St. Pierre was at the Centurion Conference & Event Center on Colonnade Rd., giving both morning and afternoon seminars to hundreds of his people, his following. They paid $100-$130 for the privilege, depending on when they registered.

He taught some moves, posed for countless photos, signed more autographs and sent everyone home absolutely thrilled that they had been in his company.

In between, St. Pierre revealed another side of himself.

Know that look you see on someone's face when they've had a nerve scratched? When they're trying to control a very real anger? When they're eyes turn cold and their face starts to shake?

That's what happened to Rush when a lunch break conversation turned to Matt Serra and the title match between the two last April.

"I made many mistakes that fight, I had terrible issues," St. Pierre said, starting calmly. "I'm not talking about injuries, only. I'm talking only about the training issues. I had personal issues. Some people died in my family. A car accident. My father was sick. The government was running after me. A bunch of crazy things, all happening at the same time. It was the toughest time of my life.

"I learned what it takes to become a champion, and at the same time, I learned what it takes to stay a champion. It was a great life lesson.

"Matt Serra beat me that night because he was a better man. I don't want to give excuses. That night, he beat me fair and square. I came in, I did my best, and I got beat by a better man.

"The next time I fight him, it's going to be a different story."

St. Pierre holds the "interim" tag as Serra, a native of East Meadow, N.Y., rehabs from a back injury.

The two are tentatively scheduled for a rematch April 19 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and if the fight does take place, Serra has already provided some bulletin-board fodder for the GSP dressing wall, not that it was needed.

Serra has compared fighting St. Pierre in Montreal to Rocky Balboa going to Russia and beating up Ivan Drago in front of his people.

"We'll see what's going to happen next time. We'll see if he's as good at fighting as he is at talking," Rush said, growing noticeably hot under the collar. "I have respect for him, but he has said a lot of things about me. I will let my fists do the talking next time I fight him. I've never answered him back. Next time I fight him, he's going to feel it.

"A lot of people asked me, 'what happened to you? You didn't look the same in your fight.' Maybe I shouldn't have said it, but I said I had issues, maybe I should have taken that fight. But I took it and I lost to a better man. That's it.

"He said I was giving excuses. Which is bad. I shouldn't say those things. But I did. He said, 'aw Frenchy, go back to your red wine and hockey game.' I'm a Frenchy guy ... okay man, we'll see next time. I never answered back to him, but I'm going to let my fist answer back next time. He's not my friend. I had a good relationship with him. He's a nice guy, he was a nice guy, until he crossed the line. Perfect. It's going to be a different story next time.

"I don't fight with my emotion," he added, "but when I have somebody say something like this, it gives me a lot of drive to train harder. So that's all good. I love that stuff."

GSP returned from a TV interview and lunch to show yours truly some of the moves that has made him a star.

He finished with the "armbar" that he used on Matt Hughes to win the "interim" belt at UFC 79: Nemesis, on Dec. 29.

I can see why Hughes tapped out.

"Have you ever broken a limb with that thing?," I asked GSP.

"Yes, unfortunately," he said, smiling.

For the sucker that went after him with a knife one night in Montreal, when St. Pierre was just 17, it sure was unfortunate.

"He was a drug dealer, he's in prison now," said GSP. "I heard his arm break. I was defending myself. He was trying to kill me. You have to defend yourself when someone is trying to kill you."

Thankfully, the attempt was unsuccessful.

You'd like Georges St. Pierre, and not just because you wouldn't want to be his enemy. He really does seem like a nice guy.

You'd hope he gets the chance to remove that "interim" tag from his title, that he has the opportunity to be the UFC welterweight champ he was for about five months before his last fight with Serra.

And you home he gets the opportunity to do it at the Bell Centre, which is a little more than an hour drive from his Saint-Isidore birthplace.

"It would be a dream for me," he said. "The UFC , it's like the NHL. It's the best. Everybody who does MMA wants to fight UFC. It's the ultimate goal. For the UFC to come to Montreal, it would be a dream for me, to fight in front of my people. My crowd. Since I've been in the UFC, I've been fighting in front of my opponent's crowd. I can't wait. If it happens, I would be the most happy man on earth."

The guessing here is he'd then make Serra the sorriest man on Earth. But then what do I know - red wine and a hockey game sounds like a great night to me.

---

GEORGES ST. PIERRE FILE

Age: 26

Date of Birth: May 19, 1981

Birthplace: Saint-Isidore, Que.

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 170 lbs.

Nicknames: Rush, GSP

MMA Record: 15-2; 5 by knockout; 6 by submission

Fighting Style: Kyokushin, wrestling, jiu-jitsu

Quote: "For the UFC to come to Montreal, it would be a dream for me, to fight in front of my people. My crowd. Since I've been in the UFC, I've been fighting in front of my opponent's crowd. I can't wait. If it happens, I would be the most happy man on earth."

-- Source Wikipedia


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