UFC star Hardy: Serra helping me combat GSP
IT is almost fight week and I am settled here on the other side of the Pond ahead of the big UFC world title challenge against welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre on Saturday. As you will have seen on Primetime, I am getting tips from Matt Serra, the former UFC world champion who is 1-1 with GSP. He is the only man to KO him.
I am learning a lot from Matt, not only about winning, but also about making sure I don't lose in the manner he did in the second fight with GSP. Matt is telling me the mistakes he made in that re-match and I will be sure not to repeat them.
I like to lock myself away as the fight draws near but I have been getting out of the hotel. The drive to Serra's gym takes 40 minutes and I also went out and about in New York to watch the Manny Pacquiao fight.
The sports bar we were in had posters of UFC 111: GSP v Hardy everywhere and that was pretty cool.
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I haven't drunk in eight years, but I had fun being around sports fans. I am getting a lot of well-wishers coming up to me.
Maybe the Americans understand I only say some of the things I do to have a laugh, or maybe me having an American girlfriend helps. Either way, they are being very nice over here.
Fans have been asking me if I felt I needed to talk my way to a title shot, or to adopt a persona to get noticed. Honestly, I don't do anything intentionally to sell any of my fights. I'm just a very vocal person about how I feel and what I'm thinking going up to a fight.
This is a great situation for me. No one really expects me to win this but, as I've said before, I'm not in the UFC to make up the numbers.
The only reason I'm here is because Georges has got something I want – that belt. What I'm here to do is get that and bring it back to show everyone in Nottingham.
Whether I had to do a little trash talking along the way or because I got the right break at the right time in terms of the best opponents needing someone to fight or not, the bottom line in I was always coming for the title.
All I know is that you know Georges has got something I want and I'm in a position where I can take it off him and you know, I'm looking forward to that opportunity.
Another question I am getting asked a lot is what would me becoming the first UFC World Champion from England mean for the UK MMA scene? I think we've come a long way over the past few years, especially since the UFC's come over and really marketed the sport well and legitimised it in the UK.
The sport's grown massively anyway and I think that when I take the belt back home, it's really going to raise the profile of the UK and establish us as a player on the international scene.
UFC 111: St-Pierre v Hardy will be LIVE on ESPN.