Freddie Roach didn’t get to work with Georges St. Pierre before his bout Saturday against Carlos Condit at UFC 154, but the renowned boxing trainer likes GSP’s chances ahead of the matchup.
In a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show, Roach discussed the fight, St. Pierre’s striking and more.
On Condit: “He has been to my gym a few times. I think I may have worked the mitts with him once or twice but not knowing who he was at the time, just trying to help out.”
On St. Pierre: “Georges is a master at what he does and he’s in great shape. He did come down to work with me for this fight, but I was away and he did work with Eric Brown, who’s one of my assistants who just won two world titles last week on the show in New York. Eric’s very good also. To be honest with you, I wish I could have spent more time with Georges, but it just didn’t work out this time. But he’s very good at what he does, and I’m sure he’ll prevail.”
On St. Pierre’s speed as a striker: “The thing with Georges was that he’s very, very muscular in the upper body and that’s what slowed him down a little bit. And just being a little bit tight and thinking a little bit too much. Really what the key was was just getting him to relax a little bit and be more fluent with his punches. Once he got relaxed in there, the punches came a lot more sharper, a lot faster and a lot quicker. He became much better. I think Georges is one of those guys, in the first round he’s still a little tense sometimes and then as the fight goes on, he gets a little bit looser and gets more into it, and the punches flow a lot better for him when he gets that mindset.”
On St. Pierre’s boxing in his rematch against Josh Koscheck: “[Koscheck] starts from too far away and he lunges in with the big overhand right. I told Georges, ‘The only thing you have to do with him is don’t give him any ground. Hold your ground and meet him as he comes. Meet him with the jab or the inside hook.’ A lot of those inside hooks were effective in the fight of course. It’s a really good power shot. The inside hook is really something that a lot of people don’t really know about and don’t teach because it comes from the old school pretty much. My trainer, Eddie Futch, taught me how to throw the inside hook. … He wasn’t just [throwing] the jab. The inside hook was the power shot that really hurt Koscheck. It kind of looks like a jab, but the momentum and the placement of your footwork and the way you’re pivoting, it really isn’t.”
On Nick Diaz: “We were coming up with a good game plan for Nick Diaz. Nick Diaz, he’s very good with his hands. The thing is, if you move back in a straight line with Nick Diaz, he’ll eat you up because he does fight in straight lines. The game plan we had with Nick was more angles. … He’s one of the toughest guys out there also, Nick. I get amazed sometimes about the positions he gets in sometimes. He won’t tap out. He’s very resilient. He’s a very accurate puncher. … I was talking to Andre Ward when we did ‘Inside MMA’ together, and Andre Ward told me he spars with Nick quite a bit and he’s a very, very good boxer and he gives him very good work, and [Ward’s] one of the best boxers in the world today pound-for-pound.”
On learning about MMA so he can train fighters like St. Pierre: “I asked a lot of questions when I was working with guys like Georges in the past and I’ve learned a lot more about the ground game so I can be more effective with the punching game. ... It is a whole different approach, teaching them how to punch. I can’t teach them how to punch just like a boxer because a boxer would get much closer. In mixed martial arts, they have a little more distance. So we have to compensate for that, and it’s really opened my eyes up a little bit to using angles with my fighters in boxing. Learning more about MMA has actually helped me with my boxers.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 53:36).