UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Josh Koscheck will face off in the main event of UFC 124. The two combatants joined UFC President Dana White and UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright today for a press conference at the Bell Centre, the site of the Nov. 11 championship bout.
Check out our highlighted quotes from both fighters below:
WHAT DOES GSP THINK ABOUT KOSCHECK’S WRESTLING ABILITY?
St. Pierre: He’s got a great wrestling pedigree. He’s probably the best, or one of the best in mixed martial arts. But the truth is, it’s not a wrestling match – it’s a mixed martial arts fight. It’s a very different thing.
KOSCHECK DISCUSSES HIS FIRST BOUT WITH GSP
Koscheck: Well, the first time we faced off, I think mentally I wasn’t prepared. I thought he was a karate guy, a martial artist and not a wrestler. And I didn’t believe he could possibly take me down. So I worked all the time on my standup because I didn’t believe this guy was going to take me down. And one of the things about Georges St. Pierre is that he’s a fast learner. It’s not a wrestling match. If it was a wrestling match, I believe that I could possibly beat Georges very easy in straight wrestling. (St. Pierre grins) But this is a mixed martial arts fight. I definitely think that there’s a lot more to it than just wrestling. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over the past couple of years. It’s not just wrestling. I have to become a complete fighter and have my takedown defense, working my ground game and my striking game. I think I’ve absolutely become a better fighter than I was the first time Georges fought me.
KOSCHECK HAS SPENT PLENTY OF TIME TALKING TRASH ABOUT CANADIANS. IS HE A RACIST?
Dana White: You must have forgotten what he said the last time he was here. He said the Penguins were going to kick the Canadiens ass and then he was gonna come back here and kick Georges St. Pierre’s ass.
Koscheck: I’m not racist by no means, but it’s called expression. Love me or hate me, I’ll give you expression. And guess what that does? It puts butts in the seats out there, and that’s what this is about. Coming into the Octagon and using that expression and winning fights is what it’s all about.
St. Pierre: It was a good experience. I used it as a little training camp for myself as well because I was training with the guys every day. I probably learned just as much as them because my coaches were there teaching technique, so I was very well surrounded. It was a great experience. I came back from it as a better martial artist.
KOSCHECK’S GAME PLAN FOR THE GSP FIGHT
Koscheck: When I go into a fight, I want to knock my opponent out and put on a great performance. But you know, if the fight presents itself, I don’t mind winning by decision. I don’t mind winning by submission. I just want to win this fight. I’m coming here well-prepared. I’ve been training for quite awhile now and we still have two months left until the fight. So I’m going to be ready. My goal coming into this fight is to knock Georges out.
GSP WANTS TO FINISH KOSCHECK
St. Pierre: I care about winning, but I also care about how I win. I’m not happy about what happened in my last fight. I had a great opponent in Dan Hardy and I was not able to seal the deal. I know what I did wrong, and I’m the kind of guy who will never make the same mistake twice. If I see that position again, I will finish the fight. If he doesn’t tap, his limb will break.
Every time I fight, I get better. I’m going into that fight to win by knockout or submission. I want to take him out and I want to finish the fight. I’m not happy with a decision. Last time was a decision, and this time I’m going to take him out.
KOSCHECK DISCUSSES HIS BAD BOY PERSONA
Koscheck: I wouldn’t say that I’m a bad guy. It seems that way in the arenas, but when I’m walking through the airport or at dinner, that’s never the case. But I have fun with this. I’m here to have fun, I’m here to make money and I’m here to win fights. If it gets to the point where it isn’t fun for me and I can’t do what I want and express myself, it’s time for me to find a new career.
It was a great honor to coach on TUF against Georges. It’s going to be a fun fight here in Montreal. This place is going to be packed and it’s probably going to be the loudest crowd in the history of the UFC.
They’re going to be yelling for Georges, and my goal is to piss 22,000 people off and come out of there with a new shiny belt and get on the plane home as quickly as I can.
ST. PIERRE ON THE CRITICS WHO SAY HE’S A BORING FIGHTER
St. Pierre: I have a lot of critics from my last fight. I understand the critics. But the way I fight is that I always go after my opponents weaknesses. The reason I’m champion today is not because I’m the strongest guy or the fastest guy or more athletic. It’s not because I’m the better wrestler or striker or submission guy. There are guys out there who are much better than me at everything.
The reason I’m champion is because I always have a way to bring the fight where I am the strongest. That’s the way I fight. Fighting is not in the arms. Fighting is in your head. And that’s why I’m the champion. You don’t have to come from the streets to be a good fighter. You can be educated and come from a good background. Good fighting is based on your head.
ST. PIERRE ON HIS PERSONAL FEELINGS FOR KOSCHECK
St. Pierre: Yes, he’s gotten under my skin. But this is a good thing. The guys who have been the most arrogant with me are the guys I perform the best against. Matt Serra the second time, Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn – I perform the best when you’re under my skin. I think about you all the time. I prepare more. I’m more mentally motivated in my training. I feel like I have more pressure. I feel like I’m right on the edge of falling and I can’t step back. That’s when I perform the best. So I’m glad it happened like this, because it’s perfect for me.
There’s no dislike with me for Koscheck. It’s a mind game. Fighting for me is not personal. I’m going to do my best against Josh and then I’m going to shake his hand. Of course, I don’t like to be in the same room as him. He’s arrogant and I’m about to fight him. But I’m sure if I met him in one year when we don’t have to fight each other, who knows?
In the UFC, there can be only one champion. If you put two roosters in the same cage, they’re gonna fight each other. Put two alpha males in the same place, it’s gonna be a fight. It’s the same thing with Josh and I. There can be only one champion. And that’s what is happening right now. There’s nothing personal. For me, it’s just business.
Dana White: He really didn’t mean that about two roosters fighting.
DOES KOSCHECK INTENTIONALLY TRY TO PISS PEOPLE OFF?
Koscheck: I’m sure that wasn’t my goal. I’ll fight anybody, any time at any place. It just so happens that we get to come to Montreal and square off in front of his home town. He’s got all the pressure. He’s fighting in front of his home town and he’s the champion. I have no pressure. He’s beaten me already. I’m coming in here with a clean slate. The thing about this is that I don’t need motivation to fight. I love to fight. The only time I’m happy is when I’m fighting. So if he needs motivation to fight, that really shows who’s the fighter and who is not.