(Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)
Of the many things that set UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre apart from his competition, one of the most notable is his willingness to travel great lengths in order to improve elements of his game. While many fighters are content to hang out in one camp, GSP has traveled to Brazil for jiu-jitsu training, spent time learning from the Canadian wrestling team, and regularly leaves his Montreal home base to bang with the all-star team at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque or drill his Muay Thai at the Wat in New York. The latest piece of the puzzle is a familiar one: St. Pierre is now working on his boxing with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. As he told Yahoo! Sports:
“It is time to focus on my boxing. When I get to the other side of my career I don’t want to be one of those fighters who have been hit too many times, so they keep getting knocked out. If you have the opportunity to work with someone like Freddy, you take advantage…I’ve only been here a few days with Freddie and each time I left feeling like I was better.”
GSP plans on spending a week with Roach before taking off to film TUF 12, opposite Josh "Booooooo!" Koscheck. As for Roach, the soft-spoken trainer is beginning to occupy a very unique place in the world of MMA.
Of all the prominent figures in boxing, Freddie Roach has demonstrated the most openly positive attitude when it comes to mixed martial arts. (Though if you can avoid using gay slurs when describing the sport, you’re already ahead of the pack.) Over the past few years, Roach’s students have included BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, Andrei Arlovski, Dan Hardy, Tito Ortiz, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Obviously, training with Roach is no guarantee of success — throwing improvised flying knees negates any advantage you get from him, and you have to be able to keep the fight standing in the first place — but if you’re a fighter and you want to get the most mileage out of your fists, Roach seems to be the guy to go to.
It’s strange…you never hear about any MMA fighters trying to work on their boxing with Roger Mayweather. Is that because training with Roach has become the trendy thing to do, or because other prominent boxing coaches don’t want anything to do with these cage-fighting savages?