Friday, April 6, 2007

St. Pierre not rushed into first title defense

By Victor Perea

Nearly five months after Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (13-1) first pounded away the UFC welterweight title from then-champion Matt Hughes, the Canadian native will make his first title defense inside the Octagon at UFC 69: Shootout from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX on April 7th.

Challenging St. Pierre for his recently-earned title will be The Ultimate Fighter season 4 welterweight winner and UFC veteran Matt “The Terror” Serra (15-4). Although Serra turned professional nearly three years before St. Pierre first stepped into any ring or Octagon, St. Pierre is fully confident his youth only masks his experience heading into the contest.

“I have been training since I was six years old,” says the 25-year-old champion. “I put everything into my training that’s how I can perform how I do when I fight, I train harder.”

The fight was originally scheduled to take place in February, pitting the welterweight and middleweight winners of TUF 4 against the respective champions in a double scoop of title bouts. Unfortunately, St. Pierre suffered a knee injury during training and the fight was postponed,

“Every fighter gets hurt while training for a fight,” says St. Pierre. “When you’re hurt, you can still fight—the difference is that I was injured and an injury should not be overlooked.

“I think it would have been more disrespectful to Matt Serra if I still fought with the injury than to reschedule when we are both at 100%.”

Serra, who runs two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gyms in New York state, along with his brother Nick, has fought many tough opponents in his career and will be a dangerous fight for the welterweight champion.

“I know how good Matt Serra is and I know what he can do,” adds St. Pierre. “I will not underestimate him. I know how much this fight can do for him and I know how hard he is training but I earned this title and I am not going to lose it.”

St. Pierre has fought and defeated the very best the UFC welterweight division has to offer, his record a virtual who’s who list of the welterweight division. Having avenged his only loss while earning the title when he defeated Hughes, it is hard to bet against the charming Canadian.

“I’ve worked too hard to give up this title anytime soon, I begged the UFC for the title shot and they gave it to me. Now that I have the title other fighters will be begging for a shot at it and I will have to defend it against them.”

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