Freddie Roach (right): Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Georges St. Pierre’s fights have been so completely dominant in recent years that, at this point, it’s tough to even conceive of a decision not going his way. Since August 2008, the UFC welterweight champion has gone the five-round distance in three title defenses, winning every round on every judge’s scorecard.
Nevertheless, with a growing trend of incompetent judging in mixed martial arts, St. Pierre would prefer not to take any chances.
“That’s why I want to finish fights. I’ve been very close in my last fight, close to finishing two times. I made a little mistake, but I want to make sure that if I get the opportunity to finish the fight, I want to take it. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” St. Pierre said during a Monday conference call.
GSP will have the chance to rectify one such “mistake” on Saturday, when he meets challenger Josh Koscheck at the Bell Centre in Montreal for UFC 124. St. Pierre was unable to finish Koscheck in their August 2007 affair, though he did thoroughly out-wrestle the former NCAA Division-1 champion for the better part of three rounds. The champion suspects that Saturday’s fight could have a divergent look.
“I think it’s a different fight with two different fighters,” said St. Pierre. “I’ve been working on a lot of different things. The main thing I’ve done, I’ve been working a lot on punching power. I’ve been working on that with Freddie Roach. A lot of stuff I was doing wrong and he corrected.”
According to St. Pierre, Roach -- the acclaimed boxing trainer who has helped propel the careers of superstars such as Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan -- showed him what boxing really is.
“I think Freddie helped me a lot. A few months I’ve been working with him and he changed a lot of things in my mechanics. Before I knew him, I thought I knew boxing, but I found out I didn’t,” St. Pierre said. “I’ve been sparring a lot with his professional boxers. Some of his guys are world champions. I’m very ready for this fight. I’ve never had a [better] training camp ever [than] for this fight.”
The confidence runs both ways: in an interview with FightHubTV.com, Roach predicted that St. Pierre will knock out Koscheck with a left hook -- a comment to which the challenger took exception on Monday.
“Working with Freddie Roach is good and all, but Freddie Roach can’t teach strengthening your chin, and that’s where I’m gonna hit Georges and knock him out on Saturday,” Koscheck said. “Also, my mom predicts a second-round left hook knockout, too.”
The ribbing was but a small taste of the “heel” persona which Koscheck adopted during the most recent season of reality show “The Ultimate Fighter,” where he and St. Pierre served as rival coaches. Throughout the series, Koscheck mocked and provoked both the French Canadian and his team, behavior which St. Pierre kept in mind during his training.
“The fact that Josh was very arrogant with me did not affect my fight -- it affected my preparation coming into the fight,” said GSP.
“There’s three things I’m very good at, and it’s fighting guys that trash talk, fighting guys that come from a strong wrestling base, and especially [fighting] in a rematch. Josh has those three components.”