My next opponent Mike Pyle likes to talk about experience a lot and constantly highlights the fact that he has plenty of it and I don’t. Well, that’s fine. I understand that. The guy is 35 years of age and has a wealth of fights under his belt. I respect his experience and I respect the journey he has gone on in this great sport.
When we fight at UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in a couple of weeks, I’d like to think I can beat him and claim some of that experience from him. I’m also planning on showing him just what I’ve learned along the way. After all, when you’re training with the guys I’m training with, your speed of development and experience works at 10 times the rate of most normal fighters.
Year-by-year my skill-set improves leaps and bounds, but since I arrived at the TriStar gym in Montreal last August my game has gone through the roof. The rate of improvement has just accelerated even further and I’m now gaining the kind of experience, in both the gym and in fights, that Pyle says I need to accumulate over time. I’m a far better fighter now than I was this time last year, as I’m mixing with a better class of fighter and coach and have also added numerous tools to my game.
The gym is now my full-time home and I have a second family there. When I first moved down here, Georges St-Pierre was one of the most helpful guys and was always looking to make the transition easier for me. I didn’t have a car at the time, and Georges went out of his way to pick me up every day for training.
I went to all his training sessions with him and watched and studied the way he went about work. I’d then pick his brain on the journey to and from the gym. I followed him everywhere for a good few months and really got a priceless insight into how a great champion trains and lives.
You pick up so much experience from just talking to guys like Georges. He would talk to me about how he prepares, how he deals with nerves and everything else in between. No question went unanswered and it was a huge benefit for me.
Georges is like no other training partner. He is not only very accommodating and personable, but he also happens to be the best fighter on the planet. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to show you the ropes. He’s an amazing person and one of my best friends.
I now know that in order to reach the level Georges is at right now I have to do everything he does and more. He lives and breathes his career and the sport and leaves nothing to chance. He’s the most dedicated and hard-working guy I have ever seen. If you’re not willing to sacrifice and dedicate yourself to the game the way Georges does then don’t expect to reach the same level.
He also does it right. While other guys are out lifting weights and trying to just get the “look,” Georges will be studying and perfecting his art. He knows what is important and what isn’t. He is both a great athlete and a great technician.
I get asked all the time whether I’d fight Georges or not, and my answer is always the same. I’d never go out of my way to disrespect Georges or any of the guys at the TriStar gym. These guys are like to family to me now and Georges is as close as a brother. I would never ask for a title shot while he was still UFC champion. He has helped me out, taught me things and extended his trust to me. There’s no way I could then turn around and demand a fight against him. I would never disrespect him like that.
If anything, I would move up in weight and fight for the middleweight or light-heavyweight belts instead. I’m not scared to move up in weight. By the time my career is over, I’d like to say that I’d competed at welterweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and even heavyweight. I’d love to do something like that.