Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 | 6 p.m.
A lot is being written about how UFC 87 tomorrow night could shape up as the year’s top event. With a welterweight championship bout between Georges St. Pierre (current champ) vs. Jon Fitch (going for a UFC record nine straight wins) headlining the show and two equally impressive fights between Heath Herring and Brock Lesnar and Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta — there sure doesn’t seem to be a shortage of fireworks on store for Minneapolis’ Target Center.
Here’s a look around the world of MMA and what insiders are saying about UFC 87, “Seek and Destroy”:
ESPN’s Franklin McNeil writes that despite all of Georges St. Pierre’s talent, the welterweight champion has never defended his title. Pierre makes no excuses for his loss to heavy underdog Matt Serra and vows not to make the same mistakes he did in that match more than a year ago.
"Right now I realize what I have; I'm world champion. Last time I didn't really realize what I had in my hand. Now I know what it is and I don't want to lose it,” Pierre said.
Mike Harris writes how Fitch, the overwhelming underdog to most UFC fans and “so-called experts,” has been an underdog is entire career — yet sits on the cusp of setting a UFC record for consecutive victories.
Fitch says that people have the tendency to build fighters into unbeatable machines, and obviously GSP’s loss to Serra in 2007 suggests otherwise.
“Fans have this thing of building mythical gods out of men. So maybe they don’t see a lot of the mistakes that are being made. I’m not going to say what those mistakes are. I’m just hoping to expose them,” Fitch said.
John McMullen says that while Brock Lesnar might have brought a whole new audience (his World Wrestling Entertainment’s fans) to UFC, he must provide fight fans with a win to show his worth as more than just a promotional machine.
ESPN The Magazine’s Ryan Hockensmith says most fight fans know Heath Herring because of his unique hair styles and colors and the fastest knockout in MMA history when he cold-cocked Yoshihiro Nakao after he leaned in to kiss him before their New Year’s Eve fight in 2005, but now Herring says he’s more mature and is ready to show Lesner his standup game.
Dan Duggan writes about the strong partnership that Kenny Florian has with his trainer Mark DellaGrotte. DellaGrotte and Florian’s brother, Keith, have helped Kenny climb to the top of the MMA mountain and with a win over Roger Huerta on Saturday perhaps get the title shot he’s been shooting towards.
Dan Arritt writes about Roger Huerta's incredible story of transformation from his tough childhood of mental abuse and abandonment to stardom in the UFC.