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UFC 158 Aftermath: Georges St-Pierre can’t be rattled

Nick Diaz couldn’t make Georges St-Pierre crack. From Las Vegas hotel mean mugs to accusations of steroid use, from attempts by his camp to create a last-minute hand-wrap controversy, to taking a swing at the champion after the conclusion of the third round, MMA’s premiere trash talker did everything he could to get inside the head of the UFC welterweight champion. Over the course of fight week, St-Pierre looked as close to flustered as we’ve ever seen him, sometimes peevish in interviews and visibly annoyed with Diaz during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. St-Pierre even admitted, after his across-the-board sweep of Diaz at UFC 158, that Diaz took head games to a higher level than any fighter he’s ever faced. More Coverage: UFC 158 Results | UFC newsDownload MMA Fighting iPhone App It was crazy, St-Pierre said. It was the first time someone played a lot of head games with me. It was tough. It was very demanding. I’m happy. Some people play head games with me before, but to that level, it was quite uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, maybe. But in the end, none of it mattered. St-Pierre on Saturday showed the mental focus which separates the all-time greats from the contenders and even from other champions. Once the fight started at Montreal’s Bell Centre, after all the histrionics, GSP treated the Octagon the way a doctor does his office. St-Pierre dominated the former Strikeforce and WEC champion with the same methodical precision as he has everyone else who has stepped to the plate. In recording his 11th consecutive victory, St-Pierre tied Matt Hughes’ UFC record with 18 wins, surpassed Hughes with his eighth successful welterweight title defense, and ensured that come April 19, he’ll become just the second fighter, behind Anderson Silva, to boast a five-year UFC title reign. Eventually, someone is going to defeat GSP and end his magnificent run atop the welterweight division. That someone could very well be Johny Hendricks, whose combination of high-level wrestling and punching power makes him the most intriguing pure style matchup St-Pierre has faced, perhaps in his entire title reign. But Saturday night served as proof, once and for all, that when it all matters, no amount of bluster is going to rattle St-Pierre from his game plan, not even from the sport’s pound-for-pound ranting champion in Diaz. I always respect everybody who does their job, GSP said of Diaz. It’s a very tough job, we all come from a different background, but where we all come from there’s a lot of sacrifice. We all have a different road, but I have high respect for anyone who makes the sacrifice. You have to work very hard. UFC 158 quotes He hits like a woman. He has his full-on range to separate and punch me, but he hits like a girl because he’s too scared to let go to get a real punch in. — Diaz, in a Fuel TV interview. There was animosity before the fight, and then after the fight we hugged, then when I went to do an interview with Ariel Helwani, he said that I fight like a girl and he wants to fight in a rematch immediately, so I guess we’re back to where we were. — St-Pierre at the post-fight press conference. When they were sitting up there at the press conference and GSP said ”Ëœmy dark side’ and all that s***, you said that. I didn’t put a f*** impersonator or ventriloquist up there to shoot the promo or the commercial, he said it, and all the s***’s that’s happened with Nick Diaz has happened. You couldn’t hear the commentary when Diaz went back to his stool, he was saying, ”Ëœhe hits like a b***, win or lose, he’s a p****.’ And stuff like that, he tried to slap him after the third round. He’s one hell of an actor, maybe he should get a role. It’s Nick Diaz, that’s the way it is. — UFC president Dana White, when essentially asked if the fight buildup was phony. Once your weapons are injured, you gotta find another way to win, and that’s what I did. I know Carlos is tough, I knew that I had to fight him everywhere. Hopefully, it shows that I can do a little bit of everything. — Hendricks on overcoming a hand injury and earning his victory over Condit. In my opinion, the ref should have taken a point away right there. It was intentional. — White, on Diaz’s swing at GSP after round three. Stock up: Jake Ellenberger Ellenberger fumed when Johny Hendricks, who was originally slated to face Hendricks on Saturday night, accepted the co-main event bout with Condit after Condit’s original opponent, Rory MacDonald, had to drop out of their planned fight. You can’t blame Hendricks for taking the opportunity, nor can you blame Ellenberger for his disappointment. But once he got over it, Ellenberger did the only thing he could with his vicious knockout of veteran Nate Marquardt. It remains to be seen whether Ellenberger’s wrestling is up to the level of St-Pierre or Hendricks, which is what it will take to get to the top of the mountain. But there’s also no doubt his striking is solid enough to hang with anyone in the division,…

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