Heading into the main event of UFC 158 this Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the majority of the mixed martial arts community expects Georges St-Pierre to defeat Nick Diaz.
However, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is firmly in the corner of Diaz and believes the former Strikeforce champ has what it takes to defeat the longtime UFC welterweight champion.
“I think he can and I think he will (beat GSP),” Rousey told Showdown Joe Ferraro on Monday’s episode of UFC Central.
“I know that GSP is a lot more riled up for this fight and I hope to see him return to the actual ‘Rush’ St-Pierre that I haven’t seen since that loss to Matt Serra. I used to be a really big GSP fan, but I have seen the way he fights kind of changing over the years.”
Rousey frequently trains with Diaz in their home state of California, so it’s not too big a surprise she believes he will win, but even looking at the matchup objectively Rousey said she would be cheering for Diaz.
“Nick has always been one of my favourite fighters,” Rousey said. “I’ve always admired his fighting style since I started doing MMA and I really hope that he wins this.”
Like some fans who have argued that St-Pierre is boring and can’t finish fights, Rousey is hoping to see if the champ can put on an exciting show.
“I want this to be a really good fight and I hope that GSP comes out to fight and not to win a couple rounds,” Rousey explained. “If that happens this is going to be one of the most memorable fight cards ever.”
Watch three hours of UFC 158 coverage on Saturday on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific starting with a preview show at 7pm ET / 4pm PT and two hours of preliminary fights at 8pm ET / 5pm PT
Rousey and St-Pierre have a brief history of verbal exchanges. There is certainly no bad blood between the two but Rousey -- never one to censor her opinions -- criticized GSP after he said he wasn’t a big fan of women’s MMA.
“I have a hard time watching the girls fight,” St-Pierre told reporters last November. “It's the way I grew up maybe, the mentality is different, I'm old school. I have a hard time watching girls fighting; it's hard for me. I never really watched a woman fight, but I know they are pretty good. It's good for the women who want to make a career. But for me, it's hard to watch the girls fighting.”
St-Pierre recently went out on a limb with a bold prediction of his own, telling UFC Central he believes Chris Weidman will defeat and finish Anderson Silva when the two meet at UFC 162.
At UFC 158, GSP will look to win his 11th consecutive fight and defend his 170-pound title for an eighth consecutive time.