The Canadian is there cornering his training partner, Yukinori Akazawawho, will be taking on Ramazan Kuramagomedov in the first fight of the evening. St-Pierre believes Akazawa has a lot of potential and speaking to RT Sport yesterday, he said he’s looking forward to seeing him in action.
“He’s mostly from a judo background, and he also trained for few years in karate,” St-Pierre told RT Sport. “He’s a young, very promising athlete--he's very good. He migrated to Montreal, Canada to train with us at the Tristar gym. We’ve been training with each other for a few years now and he's made amazing progress.”
St-Pierre is expected to make his UFC comeback this summer when he challenges UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping for the title. Previously in his career, St-Pierre had never expressed an interest in moving up to a higher weight class, but he took the time to explain why he'd never fought at another weight.
“I’ve never been interested in moving up in the division because I had a lot of work to do,” St-Pierre said. “Every time I finished a fight I had another challenger to come at me. And also, if you remember I blew up my ACL in my knee, so I had an injury. I took some time off so I had to come back and right away defend my title. Also, one of the reasons in the weight, I’m not a big welterweight. I’m an average-size welterweight. Now as I took some time off I gained a little bit of weight. I’ve never been afraid to compete at 185, the problem is when you train, you need to train with bigger guys. When you train with bigger guys there are more chances to get an injury.”
With 22 UFC bouts under his belt at welterweight, St-Pierre justified why now was the perfect time to make the move up to 185-pounds.
“Now it’s a perfect opportunity for me to do it as I had some time off,” St-Pierre said. “I gained some weight and I’m still putting some weight on. Of course, Michael Bisping will be bigger than me, but I believe that will be the only advantage that he’ll have. I believe technically, tactically, athletically I have all the edge on him.”
When asked if Bisping’s weight advantage worried him at all, St-Pierre fired back with a funny quip.
“It doesn’t matter if he is taller and bigger than me,” St-Pierre said. “The only difference it’s going to make is when he’s going to hit the floor, it’s going to make a bigger boom.”
Fans hoping that the fight will take place during International Fight Week 2017 at UFC 213 will be disappointed to hear that St-Pierre doesn’t think it’s going to happen. Instead, GSP is aiming for "after summer." The French-Canadian said he didn't take Bisping's threats serious that he would take a fight with Yoel Romero if he's left waiting around too long.
“I think he’s lying," St-Pierre said. "He really wants to fight me, and I really want to fight him. This fight will give him more money. Well, it comes down to his decision. But if he wants to do it, I’m down for it. That’s who I’m getting ready for. If things change, I’m going to have to do a quick turnaround. No problem I can do it. But he’s the man. He’s the one who has the belt. For me, he is the highest stock right now. And I always aim for the higher guy.”
With the feud between Bisping and St-Pierre brewing up nicely, for the minute at least, all eyes will turn to Moscow this evening for ACB 57. You can watch the entire card live on the Champions Facebook page.