St. Pierre, Fitch Make Weight for UFC 87

By Joe Hall Aug 8, 2008
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) and challenger Jon Fitch (Pictures) made weight Friday in Minneapolis ahead of their title fight scheduled for tomorrow night at the Target Center.

Both men weighed 170 pounds for what will be the UFC 87 main event.

St. Pierre (16-2) has tried to defend his title once before, a stunning April 2007 loss to Matt Serra (Pictures). The Canadian has since avenged that defeat, though, won the title back and silenced speculation that he lacked the mental fortitude to back his physical gifts.

At Thursday’s prefight news conference, St. Pierre was asked why he seemed more serious that he had before previous fights.

“The only thing is, I don’t want to be like I was at my last title defense,” St. Pierre replied. “I lost to Serra. I am realistic. I know this fight is very dangerous. I truly believe I am fighting the most dangerous guy that I’ve fought so far. I haven’t cut corners. I’ve done my homework, and I’m in the best shape of my life.”

To say Fitch (17-2) will be his most dangerous opponent is a significant compliment, especially considering that St. Pierre has taken on B.J. Penn (Pictures), Matt Hughes (Pictures) and Josh Koscheck (Pictures). A native of Indiana, Fitch hasn’t lost since 2002. It was around that time, about five years ago, that he left home to train with Bob Cook (Pictures), Javier Mendez and company at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

“I moved 2,000 miles away from everyone I know, all my friends, all my family, job offers,” Fitch told UFC.com. “I packed what I could fit into my car and drove to California with my dog. I slept on the floor for the first month because I couldn't afford a bed.”

Before then, Fitch wrestled at Purdue University and began his mixed martial arts career in grass-roots Midwest shows like HooknShoot. His climb has been a long one, from Japan to Mexico and back to the U.S., where he delivered several quality performances in the UFC before he was featured by the promotion, then more quality wins before he was given his title shot.

Fitch’s 8-0 run in the Octagon, which ties Royce Gracie (Pictures) for the longest UFC win streak, includes victories over Diego Sanchez (Pictures) and Thiago Alves (Pictures). Popular opinion, however, suggests that he’s never fought anyone quite like St. Pierre.

Kenny Florian (Pictures) (9-3) weighed 155 pounds for his lightweight bout against Roger Huerta (Pictures). Huerta (20-1-1), who’s fighting out of Minnesota, received a considerable welcome and also weighed 155.

Heath Herring (Pictures) (28-13), recognized as a quality heavyweight who hasn’t yet got over the hump, weighed 250 pounds for his bout against Brock Lesnar (Pictures).

Lesnar (1-1) came in at the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds. Although the former professional wrestler will have a size advantage, the edge in experience goes to Herring: Lesnar started fighting in June 2007, more than 10 years after Herring’s first professional bout.

Lineup:

Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) (170) vs. Jon Fitch (Pictures) (170)
Brock Lesnar (Pictures) (265) vs. Heath Herring (Pictures) (250)
Kenny Florian (Pictures) (155) vs. Roger Huerta (Pictures) (155)
Demian Maia (Pictures) (185) vs. Jason MacDonald (Pictures) (185)
Manvel Gamburyan (Pictures) (155) vs. Robert Emerson (Pictures) (155)
Luke Cummo (Pictures) (167) vs. Tamden McCrory (170)
Cheick Kongo (Pictures) (235) vs. Dan Evensen (Pictures) (244)
Andre Gusmao (Pictures) (205) vs. Jon Jones (205)
Steve Bruno (Pictures) (170) vs. Chris Wilson (170)
Ben Saunders (170) vs. Ryan Thomas (170)
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