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GSP fights with heart & mind--not anger

Story by Anthony Springer Jr
Photo by Chris Cozzone

Georges “Rush” St-Pierre will ride a four fight win streak into Saturday’s super fight with current UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn. With wins over Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes and most recently, Jon Fitch.

His opponent doesn’t care.

St-Pierre defeated Penn in a controversial split decision when the two first faced off at UFC 58.

Again, BJ Penn doesn’t care.

One embarrassing blemish on St-Pierre’s stellar 19-2 record is the shocking upset loss to Matt Serra in the Canadian’s first welterweight title defense. The highly favored St-Pierre seemed to fold under Serra’s unrelenting pressure, and for a moment, the growing legend that is growing around St-Pierre came to an abrupt halt. The loss served as a motivational factor for the current welterweight title holder and he has won every match since then in an impressive fashion.

Despite that, Penn believes that St-Pierre will once again wilt under pressure. Penn question’s the 170 pounder’s heart, openly calling him a “quitter.” Is it an effort to get into St-Pierre’s head, or does “The Prodigy” really believe “Rush” doesn’t have what it takes? Regardless of the answer, UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 will be a defining moment in the career of Georges St-Pierre.

“It’s not nice to hear,” St-Pierre said of the remark, “but I’m not going to slack off my game plan or fight with anger. I’m going to fight with my heart like I always do. It’s not the first time somebody has said something that wasn’t nice about me. Promotion is part of the game too, I’ve been training too hard for this fight to let myself go and ruin everything. I’m training myself to fight an army so that one guy will not be able to break me.”

While St-Pierre trains himself to fight an army, he will carry an army into battle with him come Saturday night. The champion is an unofficial member of Jackson’s MMA, home to one of the greatest strategist in mixed martial arts today, Greg Jackson. In addition to Jackson’s mind being at his disposal, St-Pierre has a who’s who of great training partners as a result, including current UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and middle weight contender Nate Marquardt.

“It’s great,” St-Pierre said of training with Jackson. “Greg is a genius and we put together a strategy to come out victorious.”

Still, Penn is not convinced that St-Pierre has the heart to defeat him. “I still believe once I get through all this stuff, it’s going to be empty on the inside. I think that’s why he gets so mad when I call him a quitter. Maybe there is some quit inside when you push through all the strength and all the muscle. I think that’s where I’m going to beat him.”

As Penn is questioning GSP’s heart, the best 170 pounder in the UFC may be looking to win this fight with his mind.

“It’s all mental at this point,” St-Pierre explained to Fight News. “The training is done. It’s like when you play golf. The swing is already done and the ball is in the air. I cannot be stronger or better as a fighter than I already am. Now it’s all mental.

A victory over Penn will likely elevate St-Pierre into the MMA stratosphere—and will also put him in line for another super fight with reigning middle weight king Anderson “The Spider” Silva. “I think anything is possible,” UFC president Dana White said on the potential matchup. “[St-Pierre’s] gotta face Thiago [Alves] first. But anything is possible.”



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