Heading into Saturday's big, huge, mega-unbelievable UFC Welterweight championship bout between Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz, the pre-fight buzz has mostly focused on the somewhat inarticulate spatting between the two principles, particularly at last week's spectacular press call.
There are cooler, more analytical heads thinking about the fight however, and appropriately enough, those heads belong to the head coaches for the two fighters, GSP's Greg Jackson and Diaz' Cesar Gracie.
Gracie was on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani yesterday and brought some insight to the bout:
"GSP is always comes in shape, he's probably most explosive athlete in mixed martial arts today, Gracie continued. "The guy is all about training. And then he's a black belt in jiu-jitsu, he's all about training, he's a champion. What can I say? That's why he's the champ. He's the best welterweight the UFC has ever had. So you have to come in phenomenal shape to be able to fight a guy like this, and that's what Nick is. That's why I'm so excited for this fight."
"I don't think he hates GSP," Gracie said. I think there's a lot of things that he doesn't appreciate about the image of GSP. And I think he tried to convey that on the call. I don't think he hates him at all on a personal level, he doesn't know him enough to hate him. Nick comes from the background with the mentalities of someone like a BJ Penn or someone like that, that martial arts is supposed to be like this, and you've got to be more technical, and you've got to know more. And the other guys are basically look, you're going to be stronger, you're gonna, I don't know, it's like fundamental philosophical differences of what he doesn't like about GSP."
Jackson was on Sherdog Radio and shared his insights about Diaz and GSP:
"Nick Diaz as a fighter, I really like him because he's one of those few fighters that can almost always make somebody play his game," Jackson said. "He does it in really smart ways. He'll back you up against the fence and basically have a shootout that he's probably going to win. If you take him down, you've got to deal with some really good ground skills. If you don't engage that, he throws his arms up. He starts trying to punk you. He tries to attack your manhood so that you get mad at him, so that you do start playing that game. He's really smart at what he does. He's very, very clever, but as long as you stay away from those things, as long as you control those elements, you have a good chance of winning. It's just dealing with that really, really smart pressure that he has that makes this fight interesting."
"Up to the fight, I'm sure [GSP] will be emotionally invested in it," Jackson said. "I wouldn't want to see Georges upset. I'll put it that way. He's a son of a gun even when he's calm and rational. ... I've worked with that guy for years, and if you got him really upset and he stays focused, that would be a very dangerous individual."
There you have it, takes on the two very different fighters from the men who know their fighting best.