(St. Pierre wants to “do it” — just not right away. Video props to Bloody Elbow.)
Many state that my next opponent should be BJ Penn. Nothing has obviously been signed yet, but he is my number one challenger. I believe he deserves a chance to challenge me for my title, but we’ll see what happens on that matter in the next few weeks…
On my end, however, I don’t know if I’ll be stepping back into the Octagon before 2009. I’ve fought four times in the last 12 months. I therefore need some rest. I like the life I lead, but I sometimes need to relax. It’s not the fight as such that’s exhausting; it’s all the preparation that comes with it. I’ve made so many sacrifices to prepare myself. During training camps, I practically do not live anymore. It’s therefore on a psychological level that I need to recharge.
So unless Dana White can bribe/threaten him into changing his mind, the UFC’s New Year’s show may be down one superfight. But no matter when the inevitable meeting goes down, it’s obvious that Penn wants it a hell of a lot more than St. Pierre does. If you watched the end of UFC 87 (video above), you probably picked up on the different vibes displayed by Penn (with his shrill cries of “LET’S DO IT GEORGES, YOU WANNA DO IT!?”) and GSP (who seemingly wants to fight Penn as much as anyone else who “deserve a shot”).
I’d imagine that’s because Penn has a lot more to gain in the matchup. If he loses to St. Pierre, he’s still the lightweight champion, and would be respected for taking on an incredibly talented fighter who’s naturally much larger than him; if he wins, he’s a legend in two weight classes. On the other hand, if GSP loses, then another brief title run has ended, and he drops his belt to a guy he was able to beat just a couple years ago; if he wins, nothing really changes for him. So it’s understandable why he wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to sign the fight agreement.
Though St. Pierre doesn’t talk much about Penn in the RDS.ca article, he does give mad props to Jon Fitch and says he was somewhat (though not completely) impressed with his own performance:
I am very pleased with my performance, but it wasn’t perfect. If I had to rate it from 1 to 10, I’d give it an 8.
What I appreciated the most about this battle is that I went five rounds. It’s the first time I’ve gone this far in a fight and it’s bringing me a lot of experience. It’s a contest that helped me grow, and will make a better fighter of me.
It should be mentioned that I didn’t find it hard to go an extra two rounds, as I am in very good physical shape. However, what I found particularly discouraging was Fitch’s determination. He is a true “Terminator”. As much as I tried to finish him off, he kept coming back. On at least two separate occasions, I was positive that he was completely unconscious, but each time he hit the ground, he got right back up.