Critics keep hounding GSP

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:00 PM ET

MONTREAL - Georges (Rush) St. Pierre is tired of hearing the criticism that he hasn't been the same fighter since his knockout loss to Matt (The Terror) Serra at UFC 69 in April 2007.

Despite winning his last seven bouts, critics have slammed him for letting four of them go to a decision. However, St. Pierre (20-2) said his detractors have short memories and only remember him being unable to finish Dan Hardy at UFC 111.

“My style of fighting always depends on who I'm going against,” St. Pierre said at the UFC 124 pre-fight press conference. “People criticize me because of my last fight, but the truth is if I had finished him with the armbar at the end of the first round, nobody would have said that. Everybody would have said, 'Oh, Georges St. Pierre is the greatest.' The line is very tiny between a decision and a finish. It's a little disrespectful to Dan Hardy. I'm not fighting tomato cans here.

“So I think you need to give credit to Hardy. He did a perfect armbar escape and people don't even acknowledge it. Sometimes it's even a result of a lack of knowledge about mixed martial arts.”

Despite St. Pierre's view on things, the challenger to his welterweight championship at UFC 124 in Montreal this Saturday, Josh Koscheck, has no problem bringing it up to get under his skin.

“Georges hasn't fought the same since he fought Matt Serra,” Koscheck (15-4) said earlier at the press conference.

“I'm a bad guy, what can I say? Apparently that's what everybody believes, so I might as well go with it. I'm here to win fights, make money and be successful. That's what it's about for me. It's a business. If I've got to piss off 23,000 people (at the Bell Centre), then guess what? I'm going to do that. I enjoy what I do and I'm having fun with this. I plan on pissing off 23,000 plus people again Saturday night when I knock Georges St. Pierre out.”

St. Pierre and Koscheck originally faced at UFC 74 in August of 2007, with St. Pierre earning a unanimous decision victory. The two also recently served as coaches on the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter. During the course of the show, Koscheck let the smack talk fly and feels he has the mental edge going into the championship fight.

“Yeah, I think I have (gotten inside his head),” Koscheck said. “Georges has a lot of pressure coming into this fight. He doesn't want to lose to a guy who talked a lot of trash and isn't very well liked (in Canada). There's a lot of pressure for him to come out and put me away. I know he's said he really believes that he's going to knock me out and I hope that's the case. I hope he tries that.

“Georges is fighting in front of his hometown fans; the pressure's on him. I have no pressure. I'm going to come out and have some fun like I always do. I can guarantee that I'm ready to fight 25 minutes if I have to.”

St. Pierre said that fighting in front of his home town won't make a difference once the cage door shuts.

“It's nice to have the fight in Montreal, but wherever the fight takes place, it's always the same octagon,” St. Pierre said. “The only thing that changes is my opponent. In Montreal it's going to be something special for me, but I'm ready to do it. I'm at my best when I'm under pressure. I will persevere that night.”

In preparation for the fight, St. Pierre has worked on punching power with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. Roach has since predicted St. Pierre will knock Koscheck out with a left hook in the second round.

Koscheck isn't worried about Roach's comments and said he will put St. Pierre to sleep at UFC 124.

“Working with Freddie Roach is all good and all, but Freddie Roach can’t teach strengthening your chin,” Koscheck said. “That’s where I’m going to hit Georges and knock him out on Saturday.

“And also my mom predicts a second-round, left-hook knockout, too.”


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