Hughes believes Canadians can't fight -- American's are Warriors
UFC champion Hughes takes swipe at Canada over foreign policy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CP) - UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes took a swipe north of the border Thursday, moving out of his mixed martial arts comfort zone to criticize Canada's foreign policy and Canadians' hearts.
The fighting farmer from Hillsboro, Ill., who is preparing for a title defence Saturday night against Montreal's Georges St. Pierre at Arco Arena in the main event of UFC 65: Bad Intentions, was asked at a news conference Thursday about some of his past comments about Canada.
Prior to the first Hughes-St. Pierre fight in October 2004, Hughes said "Who wants to lose to a Canadian in a street fight?" St. Pierre has alleged more slurs prior to this bout.
Hughes was asked by a Canadian reporter Thursday if such comments were mere pre-fight hype and whether he wanted to clarify his attitude towards those north of the border.
"Well, if you look back at history, I don't think Canada's had big wars or anything like that. They're not a violent country, can we say that? Would you agree?" the 170-pound champion asked the reporter.
Told Canada had done its bit, Hughes responded: "You've done your bit. Well I'm from America and I think we're fighters, as a country. Look where we're at, we're all over. That's what I was talking about."
So Canadians aren't fighters, Hughes was then asked.
"I don't see you guys venturing out trying to help the world out, we'll say that," he responded.
UFC president Dana White chimed in: "Put that in the headline, Matt Hughes hates Canadians. Pay-per-view Saturday night," said White.
Hughes kept going.
"Some of you guys definitely like to twist your words around, we'll see if that's what you do. But I've got no problem with Canada. I like Canada, as my website goes I've got a lot of people in Canada who like me, ordering this, ordering that or just showing their support."
"That just ended, that's over." said White to laughs.
St. Pierre then entered the fray.
"If Matt thinks there is no warrior in Canada, he's going to be in a war Saturday night, I can tell you that right now."
St. Pierre did not seem irked at Hughes' take on Canada's world relations. But he has clearly not appreciated some of Hughes' other comments.
"There is some stuff you can tease a person (about) in public. Some stuff you can say and some stuff you can't," he said Thursday.
St. Pierre said last month that Hughes had told a Los Angeles station that "Georges is French and the French didn't make war with us. They don't have a real warrior spirit. They don't have any heart. So the fight is going to be easy. Georges is going to give up because of that."
Hughes, who relishes mind games and getting under his opponent's skin, has said consistently he likes St. Pierre and is just teasing. St. Pierre took the high road Thursday, saying he had not taken it personally and that Hughes' comments had probably helped sell the fight.
I think what he is trying to do is get in my head, because the first time he did," St. Pierre said, referring to the first fight, "and it was worth it for him. But this time it's not going to happen. It's just like a game. I like Matt. We're just going to fight each other. It's a sport."
"I don't do any trash-talking," he added. "I do my talking in the Octagon with my fists."
The 33-year-old Hughes is 42-4 and has a 9-1 record in UFC title bouts. St. Pierre, 25, is 12-1.
Hughes won by submission in their first fight, with St. Pierre tapping out to an armbar with one second remaining in the first round.