By now you’ve heard the news that Mark Coleman has been forced to pull out of his UFC 87 fight against Brock Lesnar due to a torn MCL. I guess that’s the risk in promoting a fight featuring a 43-year-old five months in advance.
While Coleman’s injury is certainly a bummer, the UFC did help turn our frowns upside down by announcing today that Georges St. Pierre will defend his newly-won welterweight title against Jon Fitch at UFC 87. I have a feeling this fight was going to take place on this card anyways but it certainly softens the Coleman injury blow by announcing both items on the same day.
This is the second-time in six months that GSP has been used to “save” a card. Of course, he recently stepped in to replace an injured Matt Serra at UFC 79 against Matt Hughes. It’s safe to say that he has officially paid the UFC back for pulling out of two major fights in the past; A September 2006 rematch against Hughes and a February 2007 fight against Serra.
Meanwhile, UFC 87 is shaping up to be the battle of the really nice guys and that might seem a little strange to us after a string of intense grudge matches. We’ve had GSP-Serra II, Penn-Sherk, Tito-Dana and, coming up, Jackson-Griffin. UFC 87 features St. Pierre, Fitch, Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian – four of the nicest fighters in the sport. Don’t expect a ton of trash-talking coming from these candidates (although, I must say that Huerta and Florian have been showing signs of fire as of late).
Over at my home away from home, MMARated.com, I’ve got some quasi-interesting shots of Roger Huerta training with GSP in preparation for his fight against Kenny Florian in August.
What a great pairing these two are: Down-to-earth, humble, good-looking and, most importantly, great ambassadors for the sport. Oh, and they are also two of the best fighters in the UFC.
I don’t really think anyone is subscribing to the whole ‘Roger Huerta ain’t for real’ notion anymore but, if they are, training with the likes of St. Pierre will help shut all the critics up soon enough.
Earlier this month, Joachim Alcine retained his WBA Light Middleweight title. Tonight, Georges St. Pierre became the interim UFC Welterweight champ when he defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 79. And next Saturday, Herman Ngoudjo looks to dethrone the IBF Light Welterweight champion, Paulie Malignaggi. Forget about Edmonton, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh and any other city who has declared itself “The City Of Champions” in the past because, the way we see it, Montreal, Quebec, Canada is the new owner of that title. (At least when it comes to combat sports, ok?)
Needless to say, JarryPark’s hometown of Montreal is filled with a ton of pride this evening, my friends. We weren’t there to celebrate with our peoples but, regardless, watching GSP manhandle Hughes (again) was one of the prettiest sights these eyes have ever seen. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better we witnessed GSP pull off two perfect spinaroonies in the middle of the Octagon. Vas-y GSP, indeed!
St-Pierre-Serra for the undisputed Welterweight crown this April in Montreal? I’m going to have a hard to sleeping tonight.
For the next couple of weeks, JarryPark.com will countdown the 15 most memorable combat sports moments of 2007. Some will be positive while others will be negative. Some will have happened in a ring or cage while others on the outside. Every day, we’ll feature a single moment as we bid adieu to ‘07. As we present each moment, feel free to agree or disagree with any of our selections in the comments section below.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we chose fifteen the answer is quite simple: You take the “7? from ‘07 and the “8? from ‘08, add them together and you get 15. Duh.To see the rest of the countdown click here.
#8: Terra Rising
What: Matt Serra defeats Georges St. Pierre and captures the UFC Welterweight title
Where: Toyota Center in Houston, Texas
When: April 7, 2007
Excuse me but this one really hits close to home. You see, I was fortunate enough to witness Georges St. Pierre’s UFC 65 victory over Matt Hughes in a sports bar in my hometown (as well as his) of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I kid you not – the roar at that sports bar was akin to anything I heard following a huge Montreal Canadiens victory. Later that night, I dreamed of the UFC making its debut at the Bell Centre with GSP defending his belt in front of his people. But a funny thing happened on the way to La Belle Province…
That’s all I got. Let us never speak of this again.
I have a confession to make. Growing up in Montreal, I hated anything to do with Canada. I am not sure why, really. I just did. No, I wasn’t a separtist or anything…I just liked to be different, I guess.
Then the time came to move to the United States (for schooling purposes) and, BAM, my love for the city and country grew ten-fold. My apartment walls were covered with Canadian paraphenila, I would constantly listen to Canadian music (more Kardinal Offishall than Celine Dion, though) and I ate a teaspoon of Canadian maple syrup for good luck every morning. Some people would call my behavior “homesick” while I prefer the term nationalisitc.
Sadly, I am still in exile. It’s been almost seven years since I lived in Canada yet my love for all things Canadian is as strong as ever. Atop that list is arguably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter, Georges St. Pierre. Excluding hockey players, Canadian sports fans (such as myself) don’t have many athletes to root for so you can imagine why we are so passionate about GSP.
In less than four weeks, the pride of Montreal will be put to the ultimate test when he looks to recapture (sort of) his UFC Welterweight title against Matt Hughes at UFC 79. Of course, he will need to get by current champion, the injured Matt Serra, at some point to fully lay claim to that title but we’ll take what we can get.
I spoke(!) to St. Pierre about his career, his upcoming fight against Hughes and about his good friend Joachim Alcine as he prepares to defend his WBA Light Middleweight title this Friday. Take a listen below.
Georges St. Pierre – 12/04/07
(Can’t listen to the interview right now? Download this one and all of our great interviews by clicking on the iTunes or Odeo link at the top right of the page.)
The UFC held a conference call today to officially announce that Georges St. Pierre (14-2-0) (right) will be replacing the injured Matt Serra at UFC 79 to challenge Matt Hughes (41-5-0) (left) for the interim Welterweight title.
Hot diggity, the UFC really worked their magic with this one. Sure, we all wanted to see Serra and Hughes settle their differences once and for all but Hughes-GSP III is just as intriguing.
And, one has to believe, Dana White will be all smiles regardless of who walks away with the interim title come 12/29. If GSP wins, it will potentially set up a great rematch against Serra in Montreal come April. I have attended many great events in Montreal and I can assure you that you will never hear a crowd like the one that will go nuts when a title-wearing GSP walks into the cage to avenge his loss to Serra.
Or, Hughes defeats St. Pierre for the second time, captures the interim title and Serra vs. Hughes, a feud that has been built up for over a year, is back on.
Regardless, UFC 79 is shaping up to be a tremendous card. Already announced was Silva vs. Liddell, Sokoudjou vs. Machida and, now, this.
Dana White, Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes were all present at a special UFC 79 conference call earlier today. No huge news coming out of it but Hughes definitely had some choice words for Serra that are worth checking out (including saying Serra is taking the easy way out and will be soon out of the UFC). Take a listen below.