Fighter has big plans

George St. Pierre vs. Sean Sherk.

George St. Pierre vs. Sean Sherk.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:53 AM ET

First, he wants to bring the belt back to Canada.

Next: The entire Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"If I win in September, I will do whatever I can to have my first title defence in Canada," said Montreal's Georges St.Pierre, who will face the seemingly unbeatable Matt Hughes in a rematch for the UFC welterweight belt Sept. 23 in Anaheim.

"Canadians are great mixed-martial arts fans who have always supported me. I think it would be my way of giving something back to them."

The plan is not out of the realm of possibility. UFC president Dana White has been scouting Canadian locales for a potential future card.

But before St. Pierre starts his campaign to bring the world's most popular fight league to the Great White North, he has a monumental obstacle in Matt Hughes.

In their first scrap in October 2004, St. Pierre made a respectable showing against the powerful veteran only to fall victim to a Hughes armbar with one second left in the first round.

"When I fought him the first time, I was a kid, now I'm a man," said St. Pierre.

"I gave him too much respect. He was the greatest champion in mixed-martial arts. I lost that fight before it started because I was in there to survive and look good, not to beat him."

St. Pierre said he's not haunted by the fact he tapped out with one second left in the round.

"The fact I lost that fight is the best thing that ever happened to me," said the 25-year-old, who would become the second Canadian to own the UFC welterweight belt. Toronto's Carlos Newton, now fighting in Japan, was champ before Hughes.

"Mentally I'm a lot more ready for him because of it."

Since that day, St. Pierre hasn't lost a fight. His profile has grown to rival Hughes' and he will play a prominent role in the upcoming season of the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter.

Hughes, meanwhile, has gone on to defend his belt and guaranteed himself a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame by defeating mixed-martial arts legend Royce Gracie earlier this year.

St. Pierre said he's not only more prepared mentally for Hughes, he's also added more tools to his toolbox, having received his brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from teacher Renzo Gracie last Friday.

Still, the gentlemanly St. Pierre said he has a lot of respect for Hughes.

"He's like the Wayne Gretzky of mixed-martial arts," he said.

"But even Wayne Gretzky's not perfect. He can make mistakes. Matt Hughes is beatable and I will prove it in September."

FIGHT NOTES:

- A rematch of what was arguably the best fight last year has been added to the UFC 62 undercard. Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, who beat each other to a bloody pulp in The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finale, will take to the Octagon for a second time Aug. 26 as part of the Chuck Liddell/Renato Sobral light-heavyweight title fight in Vegas.

- Rumoured to be on the UFC 62 card is the return of Canadian middleweight David Loiseau. Loiseau's first fight since losing a five-round clobbering at the fists and feet of champion Rich Franklin will be against Mike Swick. Sean Sherk and Kenny Florian are also rumoured to be fighting for the vacant lightweight title at the event.


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