“Especially where I come from, hockey is the number one sport, but I knew it was a matter of time before the fights were important here,” he said. “Montreal has always been a city of combat. People love boxing and wrestling here and I think they will love UFC even more. “
But when you are in an “outlaw” sport, you are seen as an outlaw yourself. It’s good when you are looking to supplement your income with bouncer jobs at local clubs, but not when you are trying to convince people that you are not only a serious athlete, but an athlete who participates in a real sport. , not a bloody spectacle.
“At the time, people thought I was crazy,” said St-Pierre. “Now people know that it’s a real sport and that I train just as much as someone who trains for the Olympics or any other professional sport. I always knew it was only a matter of time. And I don’t blame these people because I understand it. I can put myself in their place and try to see my sport from the outside. I know it’s violent, but when you don’t understand it, it gets even worse. “
Eventually, however, mixed martial arts, and the UFC in particular, erupted – not only in the United States, but in Canada, where the poster of the movement was St-Pierre: gifted, handsome and gentleman. Not that he takes credit for it.
“I’m not going to say that I’m THE guy in Canada,” he said almost sheepishly. “There are a lot of great fighters here in Canada, and one of the reasons I think I am doing so well is because I have great training partners. Of course, many of them come from the United States, but many from Montreal and other parts of Canada. I think I’m lucky to have grown up in a fighting city where boxing is very popular, and we have a lot of great boxers, great wrestlers and great martial artists, and when you mix it all up, you have a good fighter martial arts mix. “
“Good” would not be the most used adjective for St-Pierre when he had a 7-1 record in his first eight fights at the UFC. His book included victories against BJ Penn, Karo Parisyan, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg and Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller. The only loss – in 2004 against Matt Hughes – was avenged categorically at UFC 65 in November 2006. Georges St-Pierre – “The Natural” – was a world champion and everything went according to the Hollywood scenario. The questions of his longevity as a champion have not been addressed in terms of defending the title, but for years. You don’t hit a future Hall of Fame like Hughes if you’re average; you don’t survive a five-minute attack from Penn and come back to win the next two rounds and the fight; and you don’t cross guys like Sherk and Trigg if you’re just another fighter.
But the fall, like all great falls in hindsight, seemed inevitable. Matt Serra, a veteran fighter whose brilliant attribute can be his tenacity, never got the press of St-Pierre, never caressed his back, and never received the marketing push. He is an end-to-end New Yawker whose contagious personality pleases everyone, even his opponents. But when the bell rings, it’s all a question for the 30-something Serra, a true believer in the adage that old age (well, relatively) and betrayal will exceed youth and skills. Translated into MMA terms, Serra’s experience and game plan on April 7, 2007 dismantled a St. Peter who discovered in Texas, from all over the place, that he was human like everyone else. Perhaps he was even more human than most of us, as a whirlwind of personal problems leading up to the fight diverted his attention from what most believed to be a routine first title defense.