Freddie Roach is crossing over. The Hall of Fame trainer will be heading to the octagon next week to corner Georges St-Pierre’s return to MMA against Michael Bisping in UFC 217, a fight for the middleweight title. St-Pierre will be ending a four year layoff in this title bout.
Speaking to ESPN about the new assignment, Roach says St-Pierre made him promise that he would work his corner and that he’s simply living up to his word. That said, he doesn’t expect to perform like a fish completely out of water.
"This might be a little different than boxing, but it is combat sports and I know how to fight. I used to be a wrestler in high school. I was never a great wrestler but I have an idea on it and watching it during camp has given me a better idea. Everyone in the corner is real friendly with one another and I will give the best information I can in there on fight night, and it won't be strictly boxing."
St-Pierre’s opponent, Bisping, is a big guy, but Roach believes that will work to St-Pierre’s advantage because he expects Bisping to be the larger, slower target. Whether or not that turns out to be true remains to be seen but Roach promises he’ll advise St-Pierre to fight to his advantages — whether or not that includes the stand up striking that Roach is most accustomed to.
"Believe me, we're not going to be like Ronda Rousey, where someone told her she was a good boxer when she was winning every fight of her life on the ground. I'm not going to lie to my fighter. We've been working on everything and will take advantage of everything."
Should St-Pierre win the title, his UFC contract demands that he come back at least once more to defend the belt. But should he lose St-Pierre says he’ll walk away for good.