Opinion: What GSP Will We See at UFC 158?
By Jesse Heitz
UFC 158, which sees its main event feature a long-anticipated bout between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, is right around the corner. This is undoubtedly a fight that the fans have been craving for quite some time, and despite the objections of some—such as the author, regarding the current worthiness of Diaz as a title challenger, it will hopefully provide some fireworks. At least it had better after the buildup.
The rivalry between Diaz and St-Pierre seems to be not only deep-seated, but genuine. The normally unflappable welterweight great has been visibly shaken, or upset by the near non-stop chatter and antics of his challenger, who has accused GSP of everything from using steroids to being pampered as a child.
UFC President, Dana White, spoke to Josh Gross on the noticeable change in the typically calm and calculated champion, stating,
“Georges is being weird right now. Georges isn’t close to being Georges. There’s no doubt this thing has messed with his head. I just think he’s pissed. He’s a in a different place than he’s ever been because he’s mad.”
Despite the best efforts of GSP’s inner-circle to quell any circulating notions of Diaz getting into St-Pierre’s head, the champion himself has made statements that only serve to reinforce the notion that GSP has lost his normal tactical thought process with regards to fighting, and instead is embracing a more basic process, one that only aims to dominate his opponent. While his comments are beyond tame for the MMA norm, his heated and outrageous conference call with Diaz, proved that Diaz is under his skin. GSP commented on the bizarre call by stating in an interview with Ariel Helwani,
“Actually, I’ve listened to it after all. I couldn’t understand at the moment what he was saying. He was referring to some bad word. I think he was saying that I was having sex with my own biological mother. That’s what he says to me. And I got frustrated. I don’t like to be disrespected. I’m a nice guy, you don’t disrespect me. I’m gonna be disrespectful too. I’m not like a lamb. I’m not going to let myself be disrespected. But after that I listened to the conversation and my friend who is an English speaker told me ‘you guys are both out of line.’ And I realized I was out of line too. We were both talking about stuff that didn’t make any sense. I’m sure some scientist will listen at this tape in a thousand years they will be trying to analyze the depth of the conversation and they will still not understand it. It was actually pretty funny.”
On top of this difficult to understand exchange, GSP called Diaz an “uneducated fool” and criticized his English language skills. All pretty strong from a guy whose most controversial comment prior to this fight was saying he “was not impressed” by Matt Hughes’ performance.
Now the question remains, is GSP really cool and confident and just partaking in the age-old craft of selling a fight, following the lead of Dana White and Nick Diaz, or is he actually hot under the collar? From there it is logical to ask what version of GSP will we see, the one that often follows a methodical game plan (one that is often criticized as boring by fans), or will he exhibit the more dynamic and risk-taking style that was the hallmark of his early career? I suppose will find out on Saturday night.