Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 - Yes, finally the big day has arrived! I have impatiently waited since October 22, 2004 the chance to finally avenge my loss to Matt Hughes. It is now signed and will be on Novemver 18th in Sacramento, California. I more than ever desire to become UFC world champion and I will really use this opportunity to realise my dream in a couple of weeks, even though I’m only 25 years old.
Since my defeat against the champ, I have won 5 straight victories (Strasser, Miller, Trigg, Sherk and Penn) and I really believe that my maturity and skills are ready for this ultimate match-up. Meanwhile, Hughes has won 4 fights in a row and the timimg is excellent for this fight between us.
During his fight against B.J. Penn in September, Hughes did not impress me and during the interview in the octagon after the fight he said something to me since I was next to the ring. I thought he had insulted me and that is why I went and told in front of millions of fans that he had not impressed me. I realize that my commentswere not too respectful and are in fact nt in my personality, but Hughues is always commenting on me, specially during the reality show “Ultimate Fighter 4″. So, lets say that it sparked something! I apologized after, but it will not change anything about my attitude towards him when the bell rings on November 18th (Editors note: there are no bell in the UFC, just a metaphor I guess).
After my groin injury in September, I have taken some rest and then I stared my real training camp for Matt Hughes. I train with a lot of intensity and probably am in the best shape of my career. I continue to spend one week per month in New York with Renzo Gracie’s Academy, more specifically with my brasilian jiu-jitsu mentor, John Danaher. Danaher will be one of my corner men for the fight against Hughes (he was also there during the BJ Penn fight). My training in boxing and kick-boxing is also excellent and I always work under Victor Vargotski (kickboxing) and Jean-Pierre Deneault (Boxe). As far as wrestling goes, I am still with the national team and M. Victor Zibberman. And, every Friday, we get together in Victoriaville with other professional fighters of the TKO Group (Patrick Côté, Jonathan Goulet and company) and its a solid training where we mix all styles, its a real ultimate training.
During the Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock fight in October in Fort Lauderdale, my manager Stéphane Patry introduced me to Greg Jackson. Stéphane believes that Jackson is the best trainer in the world for our sport right now and he manages a fantastic team which includes Rashad Evans, Nathan Marquardt, Diego Sanchez, Damacio Page to name just a few. I was very impressed by M. Jackson and even though I am not on their team, I will work with them in the coming months. Actually, Nathan Marquardt and Rashad Evans will be in Montreal in the next couple of weeks to help me prepare for my fight against Hughes. (Editors note: Evans is a fantastic wrestler, very smart for GSP).
As for the rest, all is going well. I am in great shape and happiness surrounds me. The media around here, are starting to cover our sport more and more and I was very touched by the welcome that people gave me at the Bell Centre during a gala organised by Stéphane et le Groupe TKO. It was very special. It was an exceptional night for our sport in Canada and I really hope to one day be able to defend my title here in Montreal.
Talking about medias, I will be on the very popular tv show “Tout le Monde en Parle” (Everyone talks about it)next November 12th and I will do all I can to give a great impression of our sport to people that will hear about it for the first time.
Thank you again for your support and encouragement, I will give everything I have in my body and my heart to come back to Quebec with theUFC World Title for 170lbs.