Pretend you're Georges St. Pierre for a minute. You've won 24 of 26 fights. You haven't lost in seven years. You're the UFC welterweight champion, the biggest draw in the promotion, and have millions of fans. You've got it all. So when you're walking to the cage, about to face off with someone else that wants to take your belt and everything you've worked for, do you feel confident? Excited? Relaxed? According to the man himself in an interesting interview with Inside MMA, that's not what GSP is thinking. In fact, it's fear that is at the top of the list:
"I’m scared. Before a fight, I doubt about myself. I’m scared."
"I try to be confident, but deep down inside, I’m afraid. I’m afraid to get knocked out, afraid to get humiliated, afraid to have done all that work and put all that effort for nothing, and not be as good as people expect me to be. That’s why I’m afraid."
Fighting is a pretty macho thing, and you don't often hear grown men admit that they might be scared of something. But GSP, who was on the show promoting his New York Times bestselling book The Way of the Fight, makes it clear that it's not the guy across the cage that he's afraid of:
"It’s not really being afraid of my opponent. I’m afraid of not performing the best as I should. And I think it’s the same fear that keep me sharp, keep my reaction time better, and make me perform better."
St. Pierre has taken a lot of heat for not finishing fights, but he is consistently one of the most insightful and honest fighters out there. I'm sure some will gloss over the idea that fear could be a motivator because it's easy to do, but he has a real point here.