They say pressure will either cause pipes to burst or it will make diamonds. In Georges St-Pierre’s case, it produced the greatest welterweight to ever grace the UFC’s canvas.
GSP puts his title up for grabs in front of 55,000 fanatics when he meets Jake Shields this Saturday at UFC 129. Although MMA’s most marketable athlete will perform before a record-setting audience, it’s just another day at the office for St-Pierre.
“Pressure is always there. At the point where I am, I realize that every fight the pressure is always bigger,” St-Pierre stated during a recent conference call. “The sport is getting bigger fight after fight, so there’s more pressure, more people that are watching you.
“Let’s say I would fight Jake in a basement when nobody is watching, maybe the pressure would not have been that bad. Sometimes it’s having the people around and the entourage that makes it worse. But on the other side, I perform better when I’m under pressure.”
In essence, the heat has been on St-Pierre since he initially captured the 170-pound crown from Matt Hughes at UFC 65 in November 2006. At the time, Hughes was considered the division’s most decorated champion. Less than 10 minutes into their scrap, Hughes was thoroughly humbled and nearly unconscious.
“I don’t want to be a paper champion,” St-Pierre said. “I want to be a real champion and to be a real champion I need to fight the best contender like Jake Shields. He’s a champion in many different organizations in many weight classes, something I’ve never done.
“I take this very seriously.”
St-Pierre looks to solidify his spot as the division’s G.O.A.T. this Saturday inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.