In the octagon with Georges St. Pierre
Considered by many to be the greatest athlete in the world of mixed martial arts, Montreal’s Georges St. Pierre has proved time and again that he is one of the most dominant forces in the sport. Martyr’s Remi L. Roy recently had the opportunity to sit with the UFC Welterweight Champion to discuss chess, breakdancing and the future of MMA in Canada.
RLR-Were you really ranked one of Quebec’s Top-25 chess players?
GSP-Ahh, let me straighten you out about that. I used to play in chess competitions and was ranked Top-25 in my grade in my high school, but not in the whole province. I’m a good chess player…I’m not a professional but I’m good for someone who doesn’t play that much.
RLR-Are Canadians particularly prone to perceiving mixed martial arts as an archaic cage match rather than a sport?
GSP-I don’t think that it is hard for Canadians to accept that MMA is a sport. But there is a big difference between MMA and other sports. You can say that you’re gonna play hockey, that you’re gonna play baseball, but you can’t say that you’re gonna play MMA. It’s probably the most violent sport in the world, but it’s a great sport and I’m proud to be in it.
RLR-Do you see a more fruitful future for MMA in Canada – perhaps even fights in Ontario and Saskatchewan someday?
GSP-Probably. There’s a lot of openings and I’m glad to be one of the pioneers, and I’m gonna do my best to represent the sport well. My mind’s always open to meeting with people because I know the sport is big in Ontario. If I can have a meeting with the governor or something to make it change, I’ll do it for sure.
RLR-Would you call, ‘I fight with my fists and not my mouth,’ your credo?
GSP-I guess you could say that.
RLR-Is it true you practice your footwork in dance clubs?
GSP-When I’m in the off-season, I like to go out with my friends. I’m 25 years old, you know. A lot of fighters are 30-35 and married. I don’t have a girlfriend, I’m alone, and I like to enjoy myself. Absolutely.
RLR-Are you still working as a bouncer?
RLR-Have you considered the irony in winning your first pro MMA fight with one second left in the first round, and losing your first pro fight with one second left in the first?
GSP-I have thought about that. It’s actually kind of crazy, but that’s the way things go in this sport. Anything can happen.
RLR-How did it feel to have Matt Hughes call you the Wayne Gretzky of MMA?
GSP-I didn’t even know he said that, but it’s obviously an incredible compliment. He’s a great athlete and I respect him lots.
RLR-After winning the belt did your celebrity status in Canada grow from where it was a year ago?
GSP-In the States the sport is way more popular, but I like the fact that here I’m seen like every other person. I’m more known now than I was before winning the belt, at least compared to the States, but I love it. I’d never move to the States because right now I like my little life and I hope that it’s going to stay like this.