Ge­orges St Pierre says he will be big­ger and bet­ter for come­back fight

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Neil David­son THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Former wel­ter­weight cham­pion Ge­orges St-pierre says he will be big­ger and bet­ter in his Novem­ber come­back fight against mid­dleweight ti­tle-holder Michael Bisp­ing.

The 36-year-old from Mon­treal has been on hia­tus since Nov. 16, 2013, when he won a split de­ci­sion over Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hen­dricks for his ninth straight suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence. St-pierre said at the time he needed to step away from the lime­light be­cause his life had be­come “com­pletely in­sane” and a “freak­ing zoo.”

Four years on, St-pierre (25-2-0) faces the 38-year-old Bisp­ing (31-7-0) in a high­pro­file UFC 217 main event on Nov. 4 at New York's Madi­son Square Gar­den.

St-pierre kept train­ing dur­ing his time away _ tear­ing his an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in 2014 for the sec­ond time _ and says he is a bet­ter ath­lete to­day than he was four years ago.

He will cer­tainly be big­ger, pre­par­ing for the move to 185 pounds.

When St-pierre had to weigh in at 170 pounds for wel­ter­weight ti­tle de­fences, he would walk around at 185-186 pounds. After an eight-month lay­off _ and a reg­i­men of weight-lift­ing _ he was as heavy as 195-196 prior to his vic­tory over Dan (The Out­law) Hardy at UFC 111 in March 2010. He is cur­rently at 200 pounds. “As soon as I knew I was fight­ing Bisp­ing, I got ready, I got fo­cused on that 100 per cent,” he told The Cana­dian Press in a phone in­ter­view. “I hired a nutri­tion­ist, started a spe­cial diet and in­creased my mus­cle mass. And it makes me feel good.”

St-pierre, who has black belts in karate and Brazil­ian jiu-jitsu, has also gone back to his karate roots.

“I should never have left it,” he said. “I think that karate suits my style bet­ter. I've also been work­ing on dif­fer­ent things _ ground at­tacks, leg-locks, stuff like that.”

And he is work­ing with renowned box­ing trainer Fred­die Roach, whom he has long ad­mired.

“It's like my fighter fan­tasy to have Fred­die Roach in my cor­ner,” said St­pierre. “He's al­ways been busy in the past, coach­ing Manny Pac­quiao, but he's go­ing to be there (on fight night) with me and he's go­ing to be there for my whole train­ing camp.

St-pierre also prom­ises an ag­gres­sive game plan against the Cal­i­for­nia-based English ti­tle-holder.

“Bisp­ing is the cham­pion. I'm the chal­lenger, so I'm go­ing to have to bring the fight to him.”

With Conor Mcgregor count­ing his money after his box­ing su­per-fight with Floyd Mayweather and Jon (Bones) Jones fac­ing an­other pos­si­ble dop­ing in­frac­tion, the re­turn of a mar­quee at­trac­tion is timely for the UFC.

St-pierre has said he will re­tire if he loses to Bisp­ing, but will keep go­ing if he wins. He has no prob­lem re­turn­ing to wel­ter­weight but says the UFC would rather he de­fend the mid­dleweight ti­tle.

Odd­s­mak­ers favour St-pierre, with most list­ing him at -150 (mean­ing you need to risk $150 to win $100). Bisp­ing is listed at +120 (mean­ing you need to risk $100 to win $120).

The UFC spot­light switches to Ed­mon­ton on Satur­day when fly­weight cham­pion Demetri­ous (Mighty Mouse) John­son takes on No. 3 con­tender Ray (The Tazmex­i­can Devil) Borg at Rogers Place.

John­son, the or­ga­ni­za­tion's first and only 125-pound men's cham­pion, is look­ing for his 11th con­sec­u­tive ti­tle de­fence.

“If you want to (name) a pound-for­pound (cham­pion), I think he's the No 1 can­di­date,” said St-pierre.

St-pierre has kept his brand busy dur­ing his time off, with nine “part­ners” listed on his web­site. His most re­cent cam­paign is for Bud Light.

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