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No trash talk ahead of St-Pierre, Hendricks clash at UFC 167

The Canadian Press

8/1/2013 5:24:30 PM

MONTREAL - There was no trash talk between UFC adversaries Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks.

Instead, the two exchanged compliments as they held a public news conference before about 1,000 fans and onlookers in the mall on the ground floor of a downtown office complex on Thursday.

The event was part of a five-city tour to promote UFC 167 in Las Vegas on Nov. 16, where the pleasantries will be left behind in place of trying to beat each other senseless as Montreal's St-Pierre defends his welterweight title against Oklahoma's Hendricks.

"Actually, he's a really great guy," Hendricks said. "We have fun together whenever we're around, and that's what this sport's about.

"It's business, but we can be friends. That's what I enjoy. I can go have a beer with him. I can hang with him. But we have to fight and that's the way it goes."

The sweet talk was in sharp contrast to St-Pierre's last title defence in March, which featured nasty pre-fight exchanges with opponent Nick Diaz and complaints that Diaz wasn't doing his share of the promotional work.

There was none of that with 29-year-old Hendricks.

"He's a gentleman and he represents the sport very well," St-Pierre said. "He's a good role model.

"But if we're nice to each other, it doesn't mean it's going to be a bad fight. It's going to be an even better fight. A style match-up. I'm looking forward to it."

The only quote with a hint of trash thus far came from Hendricks, who said he would make an exciting fighter out of 32-year-old St-Pierre, who tends to take his time overpowering opponents to win by decision.

That brought a laugh from the champion.

"I'm going to make him exciting too," said St-Pierre. "If you look at people buying pay-per-views, I'm one of the highest in UFC.

If I wasn't exciting, I don't think people would buy the fights. But I don't focus on that. I focus on the job I need to do."

St-Pierre is on an 11-bout winning streak dating to a 2007 loss to Matt Serra, who he beat the following year in a rematch. With middleweight Anderson Silva's recent defeat, he is UFC's longest-serving champion.

Hendricks, the top-ranked contender, has won six in a row since 2010.

St-Pierre will be fighting away from home for the first time in five bouts, but he points out that he has fought more in Las Vegas than anywhere else in his career and that it is like a second home.

He got a roar from his home town fans when he said he would "bring the Montreal crowd with my in my heart."

Among the guests in the front row of seats were two of the city's top boxers, WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and former IBF super-middleweight champ Lucian Bute. Also there were short-track speedskating stars Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais and former judo Olympian Nicholas Gill.