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St-Pierre heads to hotel rather than stay at home

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The Canadian Press
11/15/2012 3:11:29 PM
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MONTREAL -- Georges St-Pierre may be fighting at home this weekend but he's not sleeping in his own bed.

The UFC welterweight champion has moved into a hotel, leaving the comforts of home ahead of Saturday night's UFC 154 main event with interim title-holder Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit at the Bell Centre.

He wants no part of the hometown feeling, other than to have friends and family in the stands.

"I want to feel like it's another fight, like normal," he said.

The move has cut into his privacy. Fans in the lobby have pretty much restricted his ability to leave his hotel room. But that plays into another priority ahead of the fight.

"At this time I try to isolate myself, not get sick -- not catch any cold or stuff like that. Stay very focused on the main goal," St-Pierre told reporters.

The fight is the first for St-Pierre (22-2) since April 2011 when he beat Jake Shields. He underwent reconstructive surgery after injuring his knee in training last fall.

Condit (28-5) defeated Nick Diaz in February to claim the interim title during St-Pierre's injury layoff.

After Friday's weigh-in, when he has to make 170 pounds, St-Pierre's immediate plan is to "eat and drink." An ice cream is high on his priority list.

Both main event fighters attended a public workout at a local nightclub Thursday, although St-Pierre did little other than sign autographs and give fans some training gear.

He says his training is done for the fight so it makes no sense having a session just for show. Using golf as a metaphor, he says he has already hit the ball. It's in the air and he can't influence it any more.

"Even if I were to do 100 push-ups, I'm not going to get any stronger," he said. "So it's all in the mind. My training is done.

"There is nothing I can do to be stronger, sharper, better than I am. The only thing I can change is my mind, so I try to stay positive and enjoy every second of it. Even though there is a lot of stress."

While looking relaxed in bantering with a horseshoe-shaped wall of reporters enveloping him, St-Pierre said he always feels nerves going into a fight. He just tries to control them.

He quoted the so-called James-Lange Theory, which argues that emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions. Knowing that, you can also control your emotions, St-Pierre reasons.

"That means I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm 'Oh my God, I can't wait,' but I act likes it's all good and I'm all good."

St-Pierre argues that superstars like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods were acting as champions before they achieved that status on the sporting field.

"It's all in the mind," he said.

The fighter has long been interested in the mental game and isn't afraid to try something different. After losing his title to Matt (The Terror) Serra in April 2007, a sports psychologist suggested he threw a brick with Serra's name on it into the water off Montreal's South Shore to symbolize getting the title loss -- and Serra -- off his back.

He did and beat Serra when the two met again.

Condit also seemed cool and composed Thursday as he was surrounded by media.

"It comes and goes," he admitted. "I get butterflies, of course, like anyone else. But for the most part I'm pretty calm. I'm very confident in my preparations."

Notes -- St-Pierre said he will walk out Saturday night to the music of French rapper Fababy. "I never take the same song two times, it's bad luck for me," he said. ... Condit has done well in title fights with Canadians. He defeated Canadian John Alessio in winning the vacant WEC title in August 2007. Condit just moved house and says his championship belts are in a box somewhere.

Georges St-Pierre (Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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