The following is a conversation with George St. Pierre, considered by many to be the greatest
fighter in the history of UFC and MMA, but even more than that, one of the greatest martial
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As a side note, let me say that getting the chance to hang out with George, talk to him
on the podcast, record a quick self defense video that I’ll release soon, all while
both of us wearing suits was one of the most memorable days of my life.
In setting all this up, I talked to Joe Rogan and originally we couldn’t schedule a chat
with him and George on the JRE, which allowed me to pretend for a brief time that George
came down to Austin just to see me.
Who the hell am I?
In truth, him and Joe probably conspired to make me feel special, but that’s the point.
It’s inspiring to see George and Joe, who are at the top of their field, treat others
as equals, as human beings, no matter who they are, even silly Russians in a suit.
Meeting George was an honor for me beyond words.
This is the Lex Friedman Podcast and here’s my conversation with my longtime martial arts
hero and now my friend, Mr. George St. Pierre.
In your fighting career, were you more motivated by the love of winning or the fear and hatred
I like to win better than I hate to lose because if it would not have been the case, I would
never have fought in the first place because I don’t like to fight at all.
But you talked about the anxiety, the fear that you experienced leading up to a fight.
So to you, ultimately the reason to go through that difficult process is because it feels
damn good to have your hand raised?
There is that.
There is also the fact that martial art, I’ve been introduced when I was very young and
it’s probably the best thing I can do in my life, fighting, that’s what I do best.
Also, it provides me of freedom, of access of things that most of people do not have,
but all that as a price and a lot of money, I made a lot of money, of course, with it.
I was maybe predisposed with certain abilities.
I met incredible mentors throughout my life.
I worked really hard and of course, I had a lot of chances.
The stars were all aligned and in order to keep that those advantages of freedom, money
and glory and access of things that most people don’t have and have these dream life that
I have, I had to sacrifice myself and fight in order to keep it.
It’s very hard to understand because I also believe most fighters are not like me.
A lot of guys, because I corner a lot of guys and it seems to me that they love their job.
They enjoyed to go fight in the cage.
I love to train.
I love the science of fighting, the sport, to be in good shape, the confidence that training
and mixed martial art give me.
However, I do not like the feeling of uncertainty, the stress that I have, not knowing if I will
be badly injured or humiliated or winning the fight.
To me, I’m bearable and that’s what takes the most out of me.
More than brain damage, more than anything.
That’s what takes the most out of me.
But the thing you get from it is the freedom that you get because of the money, but because
of the celebrity, because of everything that comes with it.
So you can be the best version of yourself because of fighting.
But at the same time, you’ve said that, quote, I don’t believe there’s pleasure in life.
I believe there’s only a relief from pain.
We have to suffer to be on top.
So isn’t there something to just the suffering in itself?
Just doing really difficult shit just to get to the top?
To explain that and so people can relate to it because not everybody’s a fighter.
I think the best example I can give is let’s say you’re, you haven’t eat for a long time
and you’re craving, right?
So you’re suffering.
And then when it’s time to eat, finally, you’re about to eat your favorite dish.
It’s going to taste so much better.
So that’s why I believe there is always some sort of sacrifice before the pleasure.
And the more sacrifice you do, like they say in fighting, the bigger the risk, the bigger
is the reward.
And I feel that’s how it is for me.
Yeah, I feel that with, I started fasting a little bit in the past couple of years.
And there’s nothing as amazing as a delicious meal or anything, actually anything, any food
when you haven’t eaten for several days.
It’s kind of incredible.
It’s not incredible in this simple way of finally I get to eat.
You get to truly experience the beauty of what it is to be alive.
Like that little piece of food, you see all the flavors, you feel just the experience
of it is ultimately of gratitude of how awesome it is to be alive.
But when you eat many times a day and you’re pigging out and you don’t get to experience
And it’s fascinating.
It’s really like fasting is one of the most accessible things for people, I think to experience
that kind of pairing of hardship to pleasure.
And in my case, it changed my life on a good way.
I cannot recommend it to people because everybody is different.
But to fight Michael Bisping, my last fight was against the champion in the heavier weight
class that I used to compete at.
So I thought that if I would gain weight, it would increase my performance.
And I struggled a lot to gain weight.
I gained about eight to 10 pounds.
Normally I walk around 185 pounds.
And for that fight, I was walking around 195.
However, I forced myself to eat like six times a day.
I was on a very strict diet and it didn’t feel right to me because I feel like I was
carrying like a little bit like I was carrying a bag on my shoulder.
And I think it was a bad idea for me because when I did the weigh in and I went on a scale
at 185, I couldn’t go back to my initial weight that was 195 that I worked so hard for several
months to get there.
So I was 190 pounds, but I couldn’t get back.
And the morning of the fight, I got sick.
We didn’t know what it was in the beginning because in order to know, to find out what
it was, I needed to do what they call a colonoscopy.
They put a camera inside of you and to do that, they give you something that makes that
And I was trying to gain weight, not to lose weight.
So I told myself I’m going to wait after the fight, whatever it is, because it was pretty
It was blood.
And I didn’t know what I was.
I was very concerned.
I thought I had maybe cancer.
I was freaking out.
So I said, I’m going to do that fight.
And then after right away, I’m going to make a checkup.
So I did the fight.
Everything went well.
I won the fight.
I went back home.
I did a colonoscopy and I got diagnosed with ulcer colitis.
Then I got on very severe medication to get better.
And I’m not a big fan of medication.
I was trying to look for more natural way to get better.
And I found out about fasting and it really changed my life.
I met Dr. Jason Fong, who was one of the world authority of fasting.
He treat diabetes patient with fasting and he gave me a program of fasting and it really
changed my life.
And right away what I did is I went in a CAT scan to see the difference because it was
right after my fight with Michael Bisping and I did the CAT scan.
So I had my muscle mass, bone density, fat percentage, water retention.
It’s pretty amazing.
It can show you which harm has more muscle than the other.
It’s very precise.
And I did it like two months after.
So I started doing time restricted eating, 16 eight.
But right away when I started, I did three days water fast.
And the Dr. Jason Fong, he said, because I like to train during those days, I consume
Himalayan salt to make sure, because when you sweat, there’s a lot of minerals to make
sure you don’t deplete your mineral.
And when I compared the two results in the CAT scan, I found out my biggest concern was
to lose muscle mass.
I found out that I did not lose muscle mass.
Instead of losing it, it increased a little bit.
Even though my weight on the scale was lighter, I kept the same muscle mass even increases
a little bit.
My bone density increases a little bit.
My water retention is the biggest thing that decrease.
So my inflammation and my fat percentage.
So basically by looking at the data, I found out that by eating so much, trying to gain
weight to fight Michael Bisping, it only increases my water retention, which is not good because
it’s like dead weight and inflammation on you.
So what was the actual process of fasting?
You said 16, eight time restricted, so intermittent fasting.
But you also mentioned the three hour, the three day water fast.
What did that feel like?
And you also said training during the three day?
How did that feel?
Can you give me some details of, this is fascinating.
So I do three days water fast, four times a year.
For me, I do it, everybody is different, but for me, I do it after New Year’s.
Because during the holidays, that’s when I eat bad foods and I drink.
I see it more like a cleansing, like a detox, so to speak.
Mental too, like psychological.
I do it after the New Year’s, right before the summer, cut for the beach.
After the summer, because of the summer, I’ve been partying a little bit sometimes, let
And right before the holidays.
And I’ve tried, Dr. Phuong, he says to me, said, George, everybody’s different because
I’m a very active person and everybody has a different genetics.
So for me, I feel that three days is the sweet spot because I still train during those three
The first day, the first two days, I don’t change nothing.
I train on my regular schedule.
However, on the third day, I modify a little bit.
I do something more easy and that’s how I do it.
And I’ve tried before, because when I say three days is my sweet spot, I’ve tried to
go up to five days.
But the problem is after my third days, I found out that I had a big problem sleeping.
I get into a hyperactive mode.
They call that the hunter gatherer mode, you know, like your brain, I mean, it’s amazing.
Your creativity is at its peak, but you cannot sleep very well.
And sleeping for me, I think it’s very important.
So that’s why I do three days for me.
It’s my sweet spot.
It’s the four or five days when you start, see sleep is not important for me.
So the creativity is really important.
So it’s very interesting the places your mind goes after a few days.
But I mean, what does it do to your mind?
So you mentioned your body likes it.
In terms of training, do you find that it helps you focus and think?
I mean, you’re one of the great strategic thinkers in terms of martial arts.
Does it help with learning?
Does it help with thinking?
Does it help with strategizing and all of that?
Well, unfortunately, I got into fasting after I retired.
I really wish people asked me, would you have done it during the time that you competed?
And the answer is yes.
I think we live in a society that we’re bombarded by publicity.
Oh, buy this, eat protein, this, that.
And fasting, nobody makes money with it because there’s nothing to sell.
I think that’s why a lot of people have not heard about it.
And even for myself, if someone would have talked to me about the benefits of fasting
when I was training before I got sick, I would probably have ignored him because it’s hard
It sounds ridiculous.
It’s going to help your mind and you’re going to gain muscle potentially.
And perhaps people have talked to me about it, but it went in one of my ears and got
out from the other side, you know?
But it really changed my life.
And I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and it helps me get rid of all my symptoms.
What I do is, I know a lot of people have ulcerative colitis and for me, I cannot recommend
it to other people because everybody is different.
But for me, I made a lot of research of how people from ulcerative colitis got better.
And I found out that a lot of people that got that condition get better in the natural
way through fasting, eating fermented food, collagen and bone broth and stuff like that.
And it made a huge difference in my life.
I just wish I would have known that before.
So do you have a specific diet wise stuff you like?
So I’ve recently, another ridiculous sounding thing, but it makes me feel really good is
very low carbs.
So keto, even carnivore, it sounds ridiculous.
It doesn’t make any sense.
But it makes me feel really good, even for performance.
Is Rogan has influenced you?
He’s a carnivore diet.
I was influenced actually by people, yeah.
There’s I’ll tell you where, because I was doing it before he was doing it.
It was popular in the endurance athlete community where it was fat adapted athletes, people
who insane people who run 50 miles, 100 miles, they figured out that they could fuel their
body by with fat that can go to fat as the source of energy as opposed to carbs.
So I remember hoping that I’ll be able to learn how to run 50 miles and so on.
I’ve never done more than 22, but it, I just remember switching away from carbs and feeling
Like I wasn’t thinking about food as much.
I’m able to eat once a day and feel really good.
I mean, I think every everybody’s body is different, but I think carbs make me lazy.
Maybe it’s because the crash, yeah, it’s the crash, but also just psychologically something
it it forces me to also think about food too much.
Like it starts becoming, you know, our logistic, you said our society is so much about food.
There’s so many ads, so much advertisement and so much of our social life is about food.
And so it’s very easy to live life, like live day to day thinking, when is the next meal?
Like what am I going to eat for lunch?
What am I going to eat for dinner?
What am I going to eat for breakfast?
And if you’re not careful, that’s going to get in the way of you doing cool shit for
like liberating yourself and thinking like, what am I actually passionate about in this
Like creating and forgetting to eat those kinds of things and still being able to fuel
I don’t know.
It’s been fascinating to, to figure out like later in life that carbs aren’t necessary
Well, it makes me think like, we don’t know anything about nutrition.
You know, personally, I don’t think I could have a diet without carbs.
I love chocolate too much.
For me eating, it’s a, it’s a pleasure of life.
I love my carbs.
I love my sugar.
However, if you talk about that, I don’t have a specific diet, but recently I, what I’m
trying to do is the days that I do not work out, I only eat once.
That’s kind of my rules.
Plus I try to respect 16 eight and do my three day fast, uh, uh, four times a year.
But the rest of the thing, I, I, I, I let myself loose because I, I don’t think I would
be happy if I, if I, uh, if I, if I don’t give myself the, the, the, the right to, to
eat for me personally, I love to eat so much next.
And you talk about a diet, carnivore diet is very interesting because I, um, a few years
ago I went to Africa in, uh, Masai Mara and, uh, it’s a tribe in, uh, in, in, uh, East
Africa and, um, I want to visit them.
I did a safari and I talked to them and these guys, they, their diet is 99% carnivore.
They they, that’s crazy.
And you should see they’re very beautiful people shredded.
Some people would say, Oh, it’s genetic.
I’m like, yeah, maybe it’s genetic.
But I mean, think about the Eskimos also that like most of their diet is on, on fish, right?
They, they, so I believe it can be done, you know, like, I believe it can be done and like
an exclusive carnivore diet.
And I, I think I’m going to try it pretty soon just to have the experience, you know,
to see how it feels like.
Well, you’re going to hang out with Joe, uh, be careful bringing it up because he’ll convince
you to, uh, forever switch to carnivore.
He loves it.
I mean, but just like you, I think he loves food.
So he’s, he can’t ever stay on carnivore.
It was funny cause we went to an Italian restaurant together and I still only eat meat.
Like I love, um, I love the constraints of discipline.
That’s, that’s partially why I like carnivore.
I like saying no to food that is delicious.
But a part of the problem is that I don’t know how to moderate.
You said chocolate.
I don’t know how to have one chocolate.
Is that something you’re able to do?
Have like in moderation?
No, it’s when it, when I have an opportunity, I do it.
I don’t have any, I’m an extremist person, uh, Lex, I, I, that’s the thing I, when I,
when I have a chance, I, I like, I, I just eat, I go too much.
And that’s why I like about my life, you know, that’s what I like about fasting.
Because probably if I would not have discovered fasting, eating chocolate would give me cramps
and all sorts of problems because people on ulcer colitis, normally they cannot eat chocolate.
They cannot drink alcohol.
But I believe because I’m fasting, that’s the reason why I’m medication, medicine, medication
I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, but I have to do that, that fasting, you know,
and now it becomes to a, it became to a point that it’s no longer hard for me.
It’s like normal.
I don’t even force myself.
I don’t, it’s easy.
You know what I mean?
Some of my friends thinks I’m, think I’m, I’m insane, you know, but I tell them it’s
like with, when you get used to it, it becomes like an habit.
And, and I’m, and I know that hunter gatherer, like our ancestor did not eat three times
It’s, it’s, it’s not true.
They, they ate one day they could, and when they eat, they, they, they, they feed themselves
as much as they can until that, because the next time, because they didn’t know when they,
they could eat again.
So it’s, I think that’s how we’re, we’re, we’re built, you know, to, to, to have this
If we could take a step back to the discussion about fear a little bit.
So Mike Tyson talks about this process of him walking to the ring.
He sounds similar to you in many ways of the anxiety and the fear that he experiences.
And he has this sort of story that he tells about walking to the ring and being supremely
But as he walks and gets closer and steps in, he finds the confidence and becomes supremely
I think he calls himself like a God.
I feel like a God in the ring.
Is, is, do you go through a similar process of finding the confidence?
Well, it, yes.
And I use, I use a James Lange theory that they did.
So what I do is because I’m, I’m, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid.
And in the beginning of my career, I really thought I asked myself, because I was very
good in mixed martial, but I, I really thought I wasn’t made for this because the idea of
fighting didn’t, was, was, didn’t make me happy.
It’s something like I, I was, I was forced to do in order to keep that lifestyle that
I have and achieve my goal.
Perhaps one day to make enough money to retire and you know, that, that was my dream.
But when I was looking around the gym where I was training, most of my training partner,
they were happy.
They were excited.
And sometime I corner, I corner a lot of guys and they’re happy and they’re in the locker
They don’t react the same way I do.
Some perhaps does, but if you see me in the locker room, like when I get like my last
fight with Michael Bisping, just to give you an example in my last fight with Michael Bisping,
because it’s fresh, it’s the one that is the most recent and, but it’s always the same
My last fight in Bisping, I get in the locker room, I like three guys that I train with,
Mickey Gall, Eamon Zahabi and Joseph Duffy.
They all lost.
It was like, like my, my locker room was basically cursed.
You know, when you’re in a locker room and people from your locker room leave for a fight
and then they come back, it’s kind of a momentum, you know, you, you, you shake and yeah, good
Now it’s my turn.
You know, it’s kind of a team brotherhood sort of thing.
So the, the, the, the atmosphere in my locker room was pretty bad.
It was like going to a, you know, like a funeral.
So I was very scared and before every fight, I asked myself, I asked myself always, shit,
what the hell I’m doing here?
Why did I choose to come back?
Oh my God.
And I’m freaking out.
However, I’m putting on a mask like I’m acting because if I don’t do that, it will reflect
on my coaches.
And if my coach, my, my, the confidence of my coaches is affected, it will reflect, reflect
So I need to feel strong.
I need to make them believe that I’m excited to be there and I’m happy to be there.
So this sort of play start when I get, when I first step in the locker room, even though
I feel completely different, but that’s how I play it.
Normally the day, the fight day, I never fell, feel a hundred percent.
I always feel exhausted, tired.
My highs are hitching because I don’t sleep enough the few nights before, because I’m
constantly rehearse, rehearsing scenarios that might happen in the fight.
So mentally it’s not that I’m not on top, but you keep all that to yourself.
I keep it to myself and I’m lying to everybody around me.
But everybody knows, you know, fair ass John De Niro, they know Freddie Rose, they’ve
been with me for a long time, so they know what’s going on, but at least I’m lying to
I’m like, I’m feeling great.
So, and seeing all my training partner, like very disappointed because they lost our fight.
Some were badly hurt as well.
It was hard.
So I remember I started to warm up and everything.
And as you start to warm up, you become a different person because we know that certain
posture and yoga can affect your mental state.
But I would say it’s a little bit the same thing in fighting, you know, like when you
started hitting the pads, your muscle memory, your instincts comes back and you remember
that you’re good at this, you know, and your confidence start to grow.
And as seeing your trainers holding the pad and repeating your moves, it makes you also
remember all the sacrifice you have done through your training camp and confidence come from
how you prepared yourself.
And even you’re afraid, you can be confident in the same time.
Being afraid and being confident is two different things.
And before every fight, just right before I walk in, when I’m scared, I go in the bathroom
and I look at myself in the mirror.
I used to have a bandana and a gi, but now I didn’t have this for my last fight because
of the new Reebok deal they had.
But I did the same rehearsal that I always do.
I look at myself in the mirror and I start to compliment myself.
Like even if I don’t believe it, I’m starting to trying to believe it as I am.
I’m finding all the reasons why I’m going to win the fight.
And all my trainer knows that before every fight, when the guy from the UFC goes and
Steppen Maroon says, St. Pierre, you’re up next, I always take a few minutes to do that
And I tell myself I’m going to win this fight because I’m better and I’m very cocky about
I’m telling all the reasons that I’m going to win.
I got a better team.
I made more sacrifice, you know, I’m faster, I’m more powerful, way more athletic.
My fighting IQ is better than him.
I got a strategy on point that he’s never going to be able to keep up with and this
And I was telling myself, I’m going to show these young kids how things should be done.
You know, I’m trying to boost myself.
Try to boost yourself and you start to believe in it.
You become a different person.
So when you walk out the bathroom, now rock and roll, now I really believe it for real.
You know, like I’m still scared, but I believe it for real.
And that’s the transformation that happened for me right there.
And from that from now, from from there to the fight, it’s until the fight is over.
It’s called I call it cruise control because you don’t have time to think in a fight.
If you’re trying to think, you’re missing the opportunity.
So that’s how I see it for myself.
So at that point, you stop thinking and you just go cruise control, autopilot.
Trust yourself, you know, trust yourself because you repeated all the scenarios, you know.
So everything that you have done, it’s inside your computer.
Your computer, your brain is programmed to react accordingly to certain situations.
And it’s not the night of the fight that you will tell yourself, oh, finally, I’m going
to do this.
If you do this now.
No, if you have not practiced it before, you’re screwed.
The preparation, the repetition that makes it happen, you know.
What about like the really difficult moments in a fight where you are tested to your limits,
Usually it’s cardio related exhaustion, right?
Where you have to ask yourself that same question is like, why the hell am I doing this?
Do you experience those or are you able to ride through the autopilot?
And if you do, like, what do you do in those moments?
Never in a fight.
In a fight when the fight is on, I never change my mind, I go until the end.
However, for example, my first fight with BJ Penn, I had a terrible first round.
So I had to switch gear.
That happened sometimes, but it’s part of my plan.
I always have a plan B, plan A, plan B, plan C. You need to have that.
If fighters go into a fight thinking, oh, I’m going to do this, this, this, and they
don’t have a plan B, if this doesn’t work, that means they’re not well prepared.
If you talk to me before every fight, I can, like in 30 seconds, give you my old strategy.
You know, for BJ Penn, my first fight with BJ Penn was, oh, I’m going to keep it standing
up, keep the fight from the outside, you know, because I’m faster than him.
Then the fight with BJ Penn started.
I found out that I was not faster than him.
And I found out that his reaction time was better than mine.
So I got beat up the first round and I got a bloody nose and everything.
So my plan B was now I’m going to wrestle him, you know, I’m going to wrestle him and,
you know, make him tired and trying to put him down.
And that’s how I beat him because I switched gear, you know?
But if you can’t do that, if you cannot find a way to become the perfect nemesis to your
opponent, you might win a few fights, but you’re going to find, you’re going to fight
someone sooner or later that will, that will give you a lot of, a lot of trouble.
So that’s where the anxiety pays off.
You’re anticipating all the ways it goes wrong.
So you’ve developed a plan B and plan C. You know, we talked a lot with, like John Donoher,
who you work with.
I don’t think I’ve heard him talk about plan B and plan C. He usually has a really clear
plan A, an entire system of plan A. I don’t think I’ve heard him, we’ve had a good discussion
about it in, over some cheeseburgers.
And he’s, he was kind of espousing the value of mastering escapes.
So when you find yourself in bad situations, being exceptionally good at finding ways out
of those bad situations, and that’s a way of dominance.
There’s nothing, there’s no better way to dominate your opponent according to him than
to show that they can’t possibly hurt you no matter how bad the position is.
It’s like, it’s a, as opposed to a physical dominance, it’s a psychological dominance.
It’s very interesting.
But I wonder if he has plan B and plan C in his mind too.
You know, in mixed martial arts, sometimes it’s like in science, sometimes you can make
a mistake, you know, like every human can make mistakes, you know.
There’s certain sport or a certain situation that you, if there’s a mistake made, that’s
Sometimes it’s the case in MMA, but sometimes you’re able to redeem yourself.
And if you look the fight with BJ Penn 1 that I had, which was probably one of the most
competitive fight and it was probably the, it was the fight that I got the most damage
and I was messed up.
It took me three days, like two, three days to recuperate from that fight.
I was really damaged.
And my first fight versus my second fight, I made a lot of adjustment because I have
learned from my first fight.
And also I had a guy, one thing people don’t know, like they talk about fighters having
See, for me, my secret weapons was not like some is that they use like certain, like different
For me, it was knowledge.
I had a guy in Montreal, he was measuring frames.
He’s not a scientist, he’s a friend of Ferras and I.
And what he does, he watch fight and he measure frames.
The way he does it is when you watch a fight and one of the guy throw a punch, he cut
the picture by frame, the video by frame.
So he’s able to see which fighter has better reaction time than others.
And BJ Penn, he found out that BJ Penn of all the UFC roster at the time when he was
in his prime, he had probably the best reaction time of all.
According to him, Lyoto Machido was the second one, but BJ Penn was the first one.
So I knew that if I would try to go first, because I always been the fastest guy normally
when I fight someone.
But when I fought BJ Penn, I tried to go first and he was always able to like, I never was
never able to touch him with my jab and he came back with a counter punch.
However, because of what he told me, I knew that BJ Penn has a very fast reaction time,
but had a very poor reset time.
To him, the way he described it to me is like your nervous system is like a muscle.
BJ Penn was so fast, but he’s like more like a sprinter.
So when I did the second fight, when I fought BJ Penn, I made him flinch.
Like I fake a lot.
So I make him react and flinch.
So all that reaction time that he used to flinch was not used properly to avoid my punches.
So I burn, I load up his nervous system with a lot of information and fake and to make
him flinch and pretending I was kicking and wrestling.
So he got overwhelmed and he got tired very, very fast.
So that’s how I beat him.
People sometimes they don’t know really what’s the strategy behind the thing.
They only see the physical part.
But when you fight someone, if I fight you, I look at you in the eyes, there’s a lot of
things that going on between you and I.
I can look down here, bam, jab you in the face.
The audience will not see these little detail, but you will see it.
And that’s what makes the magic during a fight.
The relation that you have with the opponent, you know, like the mental game, what you make
Those little things, I use a lot of those.
If you talk to a lot of my opponents, they’ll tell you, like, I use a lot of these little
things, you know, like I look down at Banner, I go up or I am pretending I want to attack
you so I make you flinch, but in reality, I’m just doing this because I want to rest.
I want to recuperate and I’m tired.
How much is, you know, people talk about that with poker, for example.
How much is the value of this?
You know, so like some people argue that poker is more about the betting, you know, just
It’s just how much you bet and so on.
So that would be more like the analogy there with with fighting would be just strictly
the physical movement of your body.
And then a lot of people argue that there’s a lot here in the way you look and the little
movements in the face.
So do you think there’s, do you think you’re communicating with your opponent when you
look at them?
There’s no way to know for sure, 100 percent.
And I’m by no, no mean psychic, nothing like that.
And I don’t believe in that at all.
The only thing is I know through looking through the eyes of my opponent when he’s afraid and
when he gives up on me.
I’ve been accused very often in my career to not take enough risk, to not finish my
But the reason why I didn’t finish my opponent is because I saw in his eyes that he gave
He gave me the fight and I’m winning the fight.
So it’s not up to me.
It’s not to me to make it, to try to sacrifice myself trying to finish him.
Perhaps if I do that, I will open up for him to capitalize on my mistake.
It’s up to him to make a risk.
So people sometimes they don’t understand that is the art of fighting, my friend, you
know, like if I’m winning the fight like an hockey, an ice hockey, if you’re winning the
game and it’s the third period, it’s at the end of the third period, you’re not going
to take out your goaltender trying to score another goal because winning five to three
or five to four is the same thing.
Same thing in MMA.
We make a living out of this.
And sometimes as bad as it can be, you want to save yourself for another day, you know,
you want to minimize the damage.
But if he knows he’s losing the fight, it’s up to him to take the risk.
It’s not up to me.
So I’m a good counter fighter.
I use a lot of my attack or counter strike or reactive take down or proactive take down.
That’s my specialty.
So I’m not going to I have no desire to sacrifice myself trying to try to finish my opponent
if he want to, if perhaps I might give him the opportunity to capitalize on me.
It’s not it’s not smart to do that.
And very often when I fight someone, I can read him, I see the fear in his eyes.
Now I’m like, I got you now.
He’s very desperate.
That doesn’t mean I have to put my guard down because he’s going to be desperate.
But I know I’m beating you.
And I know I’m beating you.
I’m just going to do what I need.
You know, if I have a chance, of course, I’ll knock him out.
But I’m not going to try to sacrifice myself to knock him out.
And if you do that, maybe one day you’ll make a mistake and you’ll get dropped and you’ll
you’ll tell yourself, I shoot, I just got brain damage.
Maybe I’m never going to come back the same.
Maybe you know, I ruined my career or, you know, it’s a it’s a very serious game that
It’s very dangerous.
In the face of that risk, I mean, Mike Tyson talked about, you know, when the opponent
looks away, he knows he’s got him, right, that that he’s broken.
For a person like me who has trouble making eye contact with people, there’s truth to
I mean, there’s truth to that, that there’s an animal nature to us looking away.
I mean, you could see that the way the body language, the way the eyes move between two
animals going at it in the wild when like two lions fight or two whatever fight.
There’s a certain beta move when you’ve you’ve been defeated.
Or one thing when I know that, that when it happened, one of the signs is when I just
like make a faint and the guy flinched like crazy.
That’s mean he’s really scared of me.
It’s a little bit like you’re you’re you’re doing this, that guy flinched a little bit
or you’re doing this.
He’s like, oh, that’s mean you hurt him and he doesn’t want to get hurt again.
So he’s really trying to run away and not not winning the fight anymore, but not losing
sort of surviving the five round.
And it’s hard to to finish a guy who does doesn’t want to fight a guy who’s not fighting
anymore to win in this fighting to not lose.
And the proof of that, if you don’t believe me, just look the reign of all the greatest
champion in UFC.
I don’t care who they are, John Jones or like you could clearly see that in the beginning
of their reign, they could, you know, finish a lot of their opponents, the same as me in
I was finishing a lot of my opponent.
But there is a time that the entire UFC roster is studying you and they found ways to perhaps
not beating you, but they found a way to navigate to the fight in a way that they minimize the
You know what I mean?
So it’s a big difference between fighting to win and fighting to not lose.
You said that there’s a difference between a fighter and a martial artist.
So now we were talking about fighting.
You’re considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters of all time.
But you said that there’s a difference between a fighter and a martial artist.
A fighter is training for a purpose.
He has a fight.
I’m I’m a martial artist.
I don’t train for a fight.
I train for myself.
I’m training all the time.
My goal is perfection, but I will never reach perfection.
So what to you does it mean to be a martial artist?
Martial artist is because that lifestyle that I have has been introduced to me and the seed
has been planted to my mind a long, long time ago by my father.
I am I do not train because I have a fight.
I will always train.
Even now, it kind of amused me that to see that a lot of people, because I’m still training,
because I love the science of fighting.
I do not like to fight, but I love the science of it.
And I will always do it as long as I can do it.
People think I’m going to make a comeback and everything.
I’m I’m about to get to have 40 years old.
You know, like it’s I’m, you know, like I don’t want to fight in a cage at 40 years
I mean, some people have done it.
They did it very well.
But I’m not one of them.
I’m I feel a little bit to me that.
And you never say never feel like to me like it’s a little like a kid that you play with
the strain when he’s young, like when he’s five years old, six years old, seven years
old, eight years old.
But then I was like, what the hell I’m doing here?
And I’m too old for this.
I like it.
So I have done it, you know, and and I got out of it on top.
And I’m I’m healthy, which is the most important thing right now, touching wood.
And I’m I’m wealthy.
I beat the game.
You know what I mean?
In a way, like that’s not to be cocky, but I did it.
And I wish more more fighters could do the same thing.
I wish, but it’s unfortunate because a lot of them, they stay there and hang out for
too long and they get badly hurt.
They get beaten and broken, you know, and they finish broke as well, because the lifestyle
you have when you’re a pro athlete, it’s crazy, you know, it’s it’s it’s unbelievable.
However, everything that goes up and life goes down and you need to plan your future,
And for for me, what if some guys have the same mentality as me and they’re watching
us right now, I would say if you do it because you’re just good at it, you like the money,
the advantage, the freedom that it gives you, but you don’t necessarily like to fight.
When you’re done, you finish on top, you know, go go cash out and get out of the way.
Hard to do.
However, actually, it’s not everybody that does it for that reason.
Some people generally love to fight, love to compete.
So they do it because they love it, you know, or they do it because of the money.
But if you don’t love it, if you don’t like to fight because it’s very stressful and you
don’t enjoy you, you enjoy the training, perhaps, but you don’t like to fight.
You do it because it’s part of what you need to do in order to keep that lifestyle.
And you know, like you don’t need the money to get out of here, man.
If you’re in your you’re in your prime, get out of here.
Because if you don’t, you’ll hurt your own legacy, you’ll damage your health.
It’s very sad and it’s a it’s a sad business, you know what I mean?
It’s like a lot of what one of the place where is the one of the most happiest place for
me to go and the most saddest place for me to go.
It’s in the gym, Tristar in Montreal, because it’s one of the happiest place for me to go
because I can go train and do what I love to do.
But it’s also a very sad place for me because after when I’m about to leave, there’s always
a bunch of young kid that comes or guys that are around 30, 33 years old.
And they come to me and say, hey, George, you have some advice for me.
And I look at them.
And if they’re my friend, they’re real close friend of mine, I’ll tell them the truth in
And I’ve done it many times and it was not well received.
But if they’re not my friend, I have to, you know, you know, it’s always an advice about
fighting and I answer their question.
It’s my pleasure.
But the truth, if they they want me to tell the truth, the big majority of them, I would
tell them, I said, listen, man, you’re in maybe three, like on a losing street of three
You’re 30, 33 years old, you know, I think you should think about doing something else
in your life.
You know, I have other goals, you know, because you’re not going to make it.
And, you know, I’ve seen that movie before and it’s a very sad ending.
And I’m I’m sad to tell you the truth because you’re not going to make the money.
You just choose some.
But if I tell them that they’re going to be angry at me because they’ll be like, oh, you
you make it and you think I cannot make it.
So it’s kind of they’re going to think I’m cocky.
But I was lucky to make it.
You know, at the start, we’re all aligned.
But at one point, you need to be able to to have a plan B, you know, like like some parent
they come to see me with their kids and this is the future world champion in the UFC.
And what advice would you give him?
I always tell the same thing.
And it does not make everybody happy.
When I said I say I go to the case, a are you good at school?
Say stay at school.
School is very important for you.
Do boxing, martial arts, a great sport.
Stay in shape, but don’t put your eggs all in the same basket.
And the parents sometime are angry when I’m not angry, but I can see in their eyes, they’re
like they kind of surprised.
And it’s not because I made it that I will tell the kid to follow the same path that
I went to school to I’ve studied, I dropped off school when I had my first world championship
fight against Matt Hughes.
But before that, I was in school.
Quite another, you know, another way to go if things would not have gone the same, the
way I wanted.
But the problem and I’m saying that it’s not only about boxing in MMA, I’m talking about
hockey, basketball, baseball, same, same thing.
Maybe it’s the one on the hundred thousand that make it.
And I’m saying I’m saying that make it when I’m saying I make it.
That’s mean they can retire and have enough money for the rest of his life because it’s
a sad story.
The only people only heard about the people that makes it.
But a lot of fighters, even a UFC champion in boxing, champion, even in football, basketball,
I don’t I don’t I don’t care.
Big names when they retire, they have zero.
They’re bankrupt, my friend.
And it’s a very sad, sad story and a sad reality that most people are not aware of.
But having other paths in life actually can also increase the chance of you dominating
and like reaching the highest peak in your main thing.
I mean, Jimmy Pager, I don’t know if you know who that is, is a judo coach in in America.
He was he says that to all of his athletes is to make sure that you go.
He has a lot of, you know, Kayla Harrison, two time Olympic gold medalist.
He has a lot of Olympic medalists.
But basically, there’s something about going to school, like having an forget school, any
other avenue in life that gives you the freedom to go all out in your main like that, you
know, you’re doing it for the right reasons.
You’re not stuck.
It clears the mind to where you’re free to be the best in the world as opposed to kind
of you have to.
I mean, different people are motivated by different things.
So sometimes some people like having their back to the wall and that’s the only option
But most people, I think, excel when you have other options.
I think it’s a distraction and I think it’s important to have a distraction.
When you say that, I think about one of my coach, John Danaher.
He put his academic background experience into jiu jitsu.
And that for me, that’s why he’s the best teacher I ever had is incredible.
He start teaching me when I even couldn’t speak much English at the time and I was able
to communicate and understand, you know, that’s how good he is.
But I truly believe that most of the athletes, especially in sport like mixed martial arts,
train way too much.
If I could go back and talk to a young George, I would tell him, you do way too much volume.
You train way too hard, train smarter, it’s more important.
And I think sometimes we underestimate the benefit of recuperation because I think we
assimilate the information that we learn during a training when we recuperate and not during
the training itself.
And this whole mentality of harder, heavier, you know, it’s good for someone who’s lazy.
And if you’re an elite athlete, most of the time, you know, like you’re not always, but
most of the time is because you’re not lazy.
And a lot of guys, sometimes they’re elite athletes, champions, and you’ll hear people
say, oh, I can’t believe he’s very gifted, but he doesn’t work.
But perhaps it’s not really because perhaps it’s because we don’t understand, perhaps
he’s doing the right thing and it’s us who’s working too much and too hard.
That’s what I think.
There’s a guy I train with, he made me think about it.
His name is Mansour Barnaoui, he’s going to be a future star, he’s an incredible fighter.
He trained once a day.
And he asked me some time advice when he came to Montreal, he’s from France.
You’ll hear about him, he’s very good.
And I saw him in the morning at TriStar and I said, okay, I’ll see you perhaps later in
the other trainings.
He said, no, I only train once a day.
And he kind of waits for me to give him like, not an approval, but like to see how I react
or, you know, I don’t know, it was kind of a strange feeling, but I told myself at that
point I kind of had an awakening and I told myself, man, maybe he’s doing the right thing.
Because a lot of people would say, for example, oh, that’s a lazy way of doing it, but perhaps
it’s the best way to do it.
I’m not saying that training once a day is the best way to do it.
That’s what I’m saying.
I’m saying that everybody’s different, but for him, it works beautifully.
And I wouldn’t change anything, you know, like if I would be him because he’s improving
And ultimately the bigger picture there is to do something that everyone else says is
It’s like the fasting thing that a lot of people would say, a lot of nutritional experts
would say that that’s a dumb way.
You know, if you want to be an MMA fighter, you should be eating like many times a day.
You should be starting every day with oatmeal.
You should be carving up constantly, but that’s not necessarily true for everybody.
And it’s possible.
I’m sure there’s actually now a few MMA fighters that are carnivore only.
I used to eat right before training and it didn’t bother me.
However, now my first training that I do normally in average around noon, 11 a.m., I haven’t
eaten anything when I do my first training.
And it feels to me that I’m much more clear in my mind.
I’m much more creative.
I feel better.
It’s a big difference.
I just wish I would have known that before.
Well, it’s fascinating, the role of the mind in all of this.
How important is it for your mind to be clear, to really think deeply?
There’s a judoka American named Travis Stevens.
I remember he said something that the right kind of practice is when your mind is exhausted
at the end of it, that you were constantly thinking through things like your body shouldn’t
be exhausted first, your mind should be exhausted first.
It’s really fascinating.
So people think about training hard, you know, a successful practice is where you walk away
just overwhelmed how much you had to think.
It’s fascinating framing of a successful practice.
Travis Stevens was one of my main training partner when I got ready for my fight with
Nick Diaz and Carlos Candit.
He drove every Friday from, I believe, Boston.
It’s like a six hour drive.
Drive to the gym in Montreal, train with us an hour and a half, drive back.
He’s got such an amazing discipline.
I was so happy for him when he won the medal at the Olympic game.
And what a well deserved, you know, accomplishment.
It paid off.
You know, I was so happy for him.
And every time we got to the gym, he was waiting for me in the kneeling position like a soldier.
I was like, my God, this guy is made of steel, you know.
And after training, I always offer him, I say, Travis, I know you like to train with
that because in Montreal, they have very good judo team, Nicholas Gill and all those guys.
And I say, if you want to stay, I’ll get you at the hotel, you know, like anything
He’s like, no, no, I got to go back.
I have another training later.
I’m like, not only did he train with us, he had to go back because he had another training.
I’m like, this is insane.
And he’s gone through a huge number of injuries.
So he’s also an innovator because, I mean, it’s difficult to say, but for American judo,
there’s not many high level judoka.
So if you want to be the, like fight with the best in the world, you have to be alone.
It’s a lonely journey, actually.
It’s kind of sad.
It’s much easier to be in Japan where everybody’s a killer.
When you’re alone at it, it’s a difficult journey.
And you know, it’s funny we talked about kind of, there’s some sports where a mistake is,
You can’t recover from a mistake.
I think judo oftentimes is one of those sports and added on top of that is the Olympics only
every four years.
And Travis’s story, he’s the reason I, when I saw him in 2008, cause I started martial
I switched from like wrestling and street fighting to doing jiu jitsu and judo.
And I just saw so much guts.
And the, in 2000, I might be messing up the years here, but in the next Olympics he fought
and he lost on just the referee call.
And just, he went to war and he just so much guts and just everything on the line and to
lose and then to still persevere through all the injuries, through all of that, through
incredibly difficult training sessions to go another four years and then compete and
then win a medal.
I mean, that guy’s just, and like he clearly could have been very successful.
He’s also an incredible jiu jitsu competitor.
So he could have switched to that, but he’s stuck.
In a lot of sport, when you’re in elite, like for example, in Canada, ice hockey is the
number one sport of the countries.
Kids when they’re in elite, when they’re young, they get chosen and they’re kind of already
known as a superstar.
The school where they go and the program they follow, like I’m sure it’s the same thing
in the US and basketball, baseball, perhaps American football, because they already chosen.
So they grew up with that, that it’s secure, that superstar stardom, so to speak.
And it’s already sort of glamorous.
However, in MMA, there’s no MMA, judo, wrestling, like in America, because it’s not our national
sport, it’s actually, it’s not like, even when I first started, it was not really well
received by the media.
There’s no glamor into it.
Now I don’t know, it seems like it’s another era now.
And I feel sometimes that some people do it for the wrong reason.
You know, some people do it because of the glamor, because of the money.
But even if you’re an elite and very good, the glamor and the money won’t come in the
It’s a very long grind before, you know, it starts to come in.
And you need to make those sacrifices.
And it’s a journey where you will be tested, you will be hurt repetitively.
And you’re going to have to reach the down deep and come back up.
And then once you finally think you made it, you’re going to go back in the down deep again.
It’s a very exhausting and decaraging adventure sometimes.
But if you hold on to your dream and you believe in it, you know, and you have the stars aligned,
you’re going to make it.
That’s why it’s only a few people that make it, you know.
And that’s why I feel sometimes that a lot of people in the new generation do it for
the wrong reason.
In my generation, because of sport, at first there were no rules.
I thought it was more pure.
The people that did it was really because of the passion.
We didn’t seek money, fame.
We did it because we wanted to be…
I did it because I wanted to be the man, you know.
I like to have the confidence that when I walk somewhere, you know, I have the confidence
that, you know, it’s an illusion because nobody is faster than a bullet.
But I wanted to achieve it for myself.
Which today now, because I don’t know if it’s social media and all that, the world has changed.
The glamour, you know, I feel it’s a different thing right now.
Yeah, if you get in it for the glamour or the money, you may not have the right amount
of fuel to persevere through all the ups and downs, for sure.
You know, when you talk about motivation of money and glamour, a guy comes to mind, and
I don’t know how many wrestlers, you know, but in Russia, there’s a guy named Bovassiy
The Satiev brothers, one of the greatest freestyle wrestlers of all time, but he also has…
It’s funny that he doesn’t have many interviews.
One of my goals is to go out and talk to him in Russian, do an interview with him because
he’s exceptionally poetic and a deep thinker.
He’s the kind of martial artist that you are in the way that it’s not just about the different
battles you’ve been through or whatever.
It’s about the philosophy behind the way he approaches life.
Now, he has spoken quite a bit about that the glamour, the fame, the money are all things
that get in the way of the purity of the experience, the art, that the way to achieve greatness
is to just lose yourself in the art of the actual combat, in his case, it’s wrestling,
and then kind of not to worry and actively make sure that you block out anybody who,
you know, feeds you the narrative where you’re supposed to be this famous person and all
those kinds of things that he basically says, let others write your story.
Make sure that you just focus on the art.
And another person from that side of the world is, of course, Khabib, so he represents that
side of the world.
And we were talking about walking away and most people not being able to walk away at
the top as you have, but also now Khabib has, it looks like, incredibly so.
I mean, maybe you can comment about what your thoughts are about Khabib Nurmagomedov being
able to just walk away.
You know, we talk about the GOAT very often, Khabib is, you know, one of, isn’t the argument
because he has the most dominant carrier of all martial art, the guy, you know, some guys
can be named the GOAT for different reasons, but Khabib for that reason, and he’s undefeated.
I don’t even know if he lost, he might have lost a round, but he dominates all his opponents.
It was ridiculous and such an incredible career that he had.
I love to watch him fight, he’s incredible.
And when you talk about the art, when you say mixed martial art, the idea of a flawless
performance, for me, everybody often, when we say flawless performance, thinks about
a knockout, a brutal knockout.
But for me, it’s to be able to showcase beautiful technique, like a beautiful takedown, beautiful
submission, like something beautiful that, you know, when you look at, for example, Wayne
Gretzky or Michael Jordan or like Stephen Curry, even if you don’t know nothing about
basketball and you watch Michael Jordan, you’ll be like, wow, that’s beautiful what he just
Like, we talk about fighting and trying to say the word beautiful in fighting for certain
people, it could sound kind of crazy, you know, but I’m talking about the technique,
a beautiful technique, you know, for me, that’s the goal.
You know, when I was fighting, it’s no need to have a brutal knockout because some people
are more gifted than others.
I’m saying gifted, some people are better than others in certain phase of fighting.
But for me, it was that it was to showcase, to win, of course, but to showcase some beautiful
technique that you can watch it and be like, wow, that was incredible.
The timing, he did it.
And when I think about Khabib Nurmagomedov, I see all the detail of his work, especially
when he’s got his opponent against the fence, that’s like, that’s his area of expertise
where he’s, to me, he’s the best that ever did it in terms of that fighting style, that
particular expertise that he has, it’s just incredible.
The flawless execution of that particular set of techniques.
And Conor McGregor had the accuracy.
The Spider Anderson Silva was like, was, I would say, the most flamboyant of all, you
know, like he was moving like the Matrix.
Jon Jones was incredible in terms of creativity, spinning elbows and that, and he faced incredible
Dimitrius Johnson was so complete.
You could bring, like he was slamming a guy to an armbar.
It was just unbelievable.
Like, like he was like the complete fighter.
BJ Penn was like so flexible.
He did stuff with his body that like nobody could do his, the dexterity of his hips was
Dominic Cruz, to me, was incredible, his footwork, his distance control.
So when you talk about like the GOAT, Royce Gracie, another one, he did things that I
think for me is the number one.
Yeah, I gotta, I gotta, and sorry to interrupt, Royce is a fascinating one.
I’d love to hear what you think about him, but many people consider you, most people
consider you to be the number one greatest mixed martial arts fighter ever.
So it’s fascinating to remove you from that list and continue this discussion and asking
like, who do you think is the greatest fighter ever?
You listed some amazing ones, Royce.
You somehow skipped Fedor.
I’m very, as a Russian, I’m very offended.
No, I was, I was going to, there’s so many.
Fedor is one as well.
Fedor, I think in his prime was like, when you say, when you talk about a name, for example,
like we talk about him when he was in his prime.
Like when I talk, for example, about Anderson Silva, I’m not talking about the Anderson
Silva who fought, who fought his last fight against Uriah Hall.
I’m talking about the Anderson Silva who knocked out Victor Belfer.
BJ Penn, same thing.
The problem is when fighters hang on for too long in the sport.
That’s what happened.
They kind of make, make people forget how good they were.
And it’s very sad.
We talk about Fedor and just, just think about Stipe Miocic.
Miocic is probably the greatest heavyweight of all time.
With Fedor, I would really wonder who would have won this fight, the both guys in their
I tend to lean towards Fedor because my heart was with Fedor, but he could have gone the
But just because Miocic lose his last fight, now everybody’s like, oh yeah, they forgot
It’s crazy, man.
It’s one fight.
You zig when you should zag, boom.
That’s the reality of mixed martial arts.
Well, that’s why the thing is the mixed martial arts isn’t just the performance, the strictly
who won and who lost.
It’s also the stories we tell ourselves.
And so, I mean, there’s beautiful stories being weaved.
And that also is part of who is the greatest of all time is what were the battles, what
had to be overcome?
What was the flavor of the flawless performances?
You know, all of that plays into it and you’re right.
Being able to walk away at the top is also part of that.
A lot of people ask me about Khabib and that fight.
I want it to happen.
Khabib wanted to happen, but UFC did not want to happen between you and Khabib.
And we tried to make it like about three years ago when I retired, two, no, three, no, it
was after two years ago and it never came to fruition.
The UFC were clear.
They said they have other plan for Khabib and it makes sense for the business standpoint
because they want to keep the ball rolling.
Now Khabib retired and like everybody else, after Justin Gaethje, I was doing the commentator
in French for the UFC and I had Butterfly, I thought he was going to call me out.
If there is one guy that I would have said, yes, it would be him, because for a fighter,
the most exciting things to do, it’s often the scariest one.
And Khabib was, you know, the scariest macho.
But he was worth the risk because nobody has ever been able to solve them.
How would you solve the Khabib Nurmagomedov puzzle?
Well, Khabib is very good against the fence.
I would have to establish a game plan and everything, but I think what I would need
it to do is take the center of the octagon right away.
Use a lot of think and faith.
Keep the fight all the way, all the way out or all the way in.
And when I say all the way in is when you close the gap, use my proactive and reactive
takedown and perhaps my superior explosive to put him down.
I like to use those proactive and reactive techniques because for me, I feel it’s more
Khabib is a much better chain wrestler than me.
Chain wrestler is when you got that guy to the fence, it’s pure wrestling.
What makes my takedown very efficient?
It’s my karate.
It’s not my wrestling.
I’m very good at timing my opponent and getting in with my explosivity.
So if you watch my takedown, it does not demand often, it does not demand a lot of work.
When I use the, I call it proactive takedown.
When he’s coming to punch me and I react, I mean, proactive is when I’m faking it.
So I instigate the takedown by a fake, then I take him down.
And reactive is when I’m baiting him to throw something, then I’m going.
It’s a counter.
But all my takedowns…
In the center of the octagon.
My takedowns are more in the center of the octagon.
Like for example, another guy that does it well is Gleason Thibault that did it well
in his best days.
Khabib has more a style of chain wrestling, I would say like Kamaru Usman, so to speak,
kind of guy.
It’s a different style.
You cannot compare both styles.
And that’s the kind of takedown I’m good.
And if I would have fight Khabib, that’s one of the strategy I would have adopted.
I would not have been afraid because everybody that I fought, I was able to put them down
and I have the pedigree to prove it in my fight resume.
So you would have perhaps seen him on his back and I would have perhaps be on my back
So it would have been a very interesting fight.
How hard do you think he is to takedown?
I mean, a lot of people speak about his wrestling being just…
It has nothing to do with the wrestling because…
It has to do with the karate.
If I got that timing and I got my both hands around his knees, he’s going down the other
Everybody goes down.
Yes, yes, he goes down.
And I had a lot of that.
That’s what I would have adopted.
I would not have been afraid of his wrestling.
I would have be the instigator.
I would have forced the fight forward.
And that’s how I would have approached that fight, which I believe most of his opponent
were afraid of his wrestling because they didn’t have the tools that I have to put him
I would not have forced the wrestling.
I would have…
In the clinch, I would have tried to disengage.
I have many ways to disengage a clinch.
I would have wanted to force the fight in a fighting distance, like in a shoot box distance,
not in a wrestling distance.
Is it possible this fight still happens?
You’re young, you look great in a suit.
Well, there’s a lot of problems now.
And the thing is, now I made peace with it.
I no longer don’t want to fight and I don’t…
It’s not going to happen.
UFC was not interested and I’m bound by contract with the UFC and by exclusivity.
Some people says to me, oh, how about if a wealthy Russian guy come with the money?
I said, I’m going to be in court with UFC.
And also, I’m older now and when I go home and I’m like, I don’t want to do this, you
But you were always like this.
No, I don’t want to do this.
But like, for example, I was training with Freddie Roach a few days ago and I’m hitting
pads, you know?
And Freddie is looking at me and he’s like, hey, you have the hitch back.
I’m like, yeah.
If Dana White would walk in the room, in the gym at that precise moment with the UFC contract,
I would sign it in the blink of an eye.
But when I go home, I’m like, hell no, my belly is full, I’m healthy, I’m wealthy.
Why would I want to fight for?
I made peace with it.
But the minute I go back in the gym, because I still get it inside me when I train with
the young guys, I still get it.
And a lot of guys think, hey, tell me the truth, you’re preparing a comeback because
I still get it.
You know, I’m a little bit older, but I got more knowledge, I can compensate.
I become a different animal because, you know, it changed you.
But then after you go home and you’re like, man, no way I’m doing this.
It’s very hard to explain, you need to be a fighter to understand that it’s very, very
hard to explain.
Well, from your perspective, I think Khabib is one of the rare, one of the few fascinating
scientific puzzles yet to be solved.
So from that aspect, as a martial artist, it’s just a fascinating journey to try to
solve that puzzle.
There is a thing too, like we say, oh, who’s the best fighter, people, Lex, they don’t,
like I am this, I realized that later in my life and I’m sure a lot of young guy will
say, oh, I say, Pierre, it’s not, don’t speak for me, but I’m telling you right now what
I’m about to say, you will realize it later.
When I was young, I think you can proclaim yourself the more, the badass man on the planet,
you know, like nobody can beat you at, it’s an illusion, man.
That’s the sad thing about, for example, DC, Daniel Cormier does probably one of the greatest,
it’s not the greatest of all time, you said Neotish, but like, it’s almost because of
that little matchup with John Jones, it’s difficult for people to conceive of him as
the greatest of all time.
It’s all about matchup, it’s all about timing, and also you make a fight, you make both guys
fight 10 times, the result might be different, like every time, you know, I mean, maybe he’s
gonna win eight out of 10, but that night, he’s gonna lose, why?
Because we don’t know, the universe made it like that, you know, maybe he got sick, maybe
he had the emotional issues, he didn’t sleep well, and it makes him lose focus and he got
caught, you don’t, we don’t know, but that’s the thing, people ask me, would you have done
it with Khabib, what would happen?
I don’t know, maybe out of 10 times, I don’t know, maybe as a fighter, I hope I would have
won more than him, he thinks the opposite is only one way to find out, but that night,
if there is a fight, the guy that’s gonna win doesn’t mean he’s the best fighter, that’s
mean that he’s the one that fought the best the night of the fight, same thing in basketball
or hockey, the team that wins the game, it’s not necessarily the best team, it’s the team
that played the best the night of the game, and fighting is no different, so being the
baddest man on the planet, it’s an illusion.
I mean that’s the tragic thing about it, is on any one night, anything can happen and
then that tells a story for all of human history, it’s sad to think about, but that’s what makes
it beautiful, that there’s so much at stake, like entire lives, all the dreams you’ve had
growing up, all the hard work, all of it is decided in a single night, even though that
means nothing in terms of who’s actually better, I mean that’s the beauty, that’s why people
love the Olympics especially, because it happens so rarely, and dreams are broken, or like
triumph is achieved by the unlikely hero, all like right there, I mean that’s why we
love it, right, that’s why we love it.
If we wouldn’t know always the result before, it would be boring, that’s why we do it, you
know, watch the odds, like sometimes I like to watch the odds before a fight, you know,
because there’s things, I believe in causality, everybody believes different things, but I
believe everything is because there’s a cause to everything, that’s personally what I believe,
I don’t believe that I have like free will, I think I have the illusion of free will,
but I believe there’s a cause for everything, and if I’m doing something because of something,
because of a cause, by definition, there’s no free will in a way, if there’s a cause,
by definition, there’s not.
How does that make you feel by the way, like the idea that if we just look outside of even
just human psychology and fighting and so on, if we look at like physics, if everything
is predetermined, if all of these little molecules interacting, it’s all already, like your story
is already written.
I mean, it depends, it’s written, but I wouldn’t need to know all the data and it’s impossible,
Like it’s kind of weird, I gotta say, but to me, I don’t see any argument to counter
that idea, maybe I’m ignorant, but I haven’t seen nobody and everything that I’ve read
so far, there’s nothing that counter that idea, because in a mechanical world, if your
car broke, or we don’t say, oh, the car decided to broke, or a tree is fall, there’s reason
why the tree is fall, we don’t say the tree is decide to fall, right?
So because us human being, I think it’s our ego, we decide, and I’m no different than
anybody when I make a decision, I decided to do this, I choose to do this, but I’m aware
that there is causes that make me do certain things, and by definition, I think if there
is a cause, there is no free will, by definition, right?
Yes, but the thing is, just like you said, we understand so little about human intelligence,
the human mind, and especially consciousness, that this giant mystery, this darkness, that
we don’t understand how it feels like to be something, to be a conscious being, that because
of that, we’re not able to really even reason about free will, or not, because there might
be some magic that comes from consciousness, the consciousness might be the thing that
makes us different from a car that breaks down.
There might be something totally fascinating, totally undiscovered yet, that will make us
realize that free will is actually real, and is somehow fundamental to the human experience.
So it’s, sometimes I think we forget when we talk about free will and physics and it
all seeming to be predetermined, we forget how little we actually understand about the
world, and I think in that mystery, there could be totally new ideas that are yet to
be discovered, and will make us realize that it’s not just an illusion, it is something
that is like at the core of how the universe works.
Some people believe that consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe, like
it’s one of the forces of physics, like consciousness permeates everything, it’s in everything.
Like this table is conscious, but it’s not as conscious as us, and we’re this little
peak of consciousness, and if that’s true, and if we get to understand that, maybe there’s
something, there’s an extra bonus we get in terms of free will once you become one of
those entities that are super conscious.
So I tend to be sort of humbled by the mystery of it.
Do you believe one day with the technology that keep improving, we will make robot that
will be able to be somehow conscious?
Absolutely, that’s been my dream, that’s been, I hope to do just that.
First of all, I believe that all people are capable and want to be good to each other,
and I think love is a really powerful thing that connects us and can create better and
better worlds, sort of like create better and better societies that improve both the
technology, the quality of life, and just the basics of human experience.
And I think creating AI systems that are conscious, that are human like, can enable us to be better
to each other.
Like they can, it’s almost like adding more and more kindness to the world through the
systems we interact with will inspire us to be better and better to each other.
In terms of them being conscious, I think that is an absolute requirement that entities
we interact with communicate some element of consciousness to us, like that’s how we
connect to each other.
The reason we, you and I connect is that we believe that each of us are conscious.
And to me, what consciousness means is the ability to hurt, the ability to suffer, to
struggle in this world, because just like you said, without the struggle, you don’t
have the love, you don’t have the pleasure, and ultimately consciousness is an entity’s
ability to struggle, to suffer, and from that arises the pleasure.
And us together being able to appreciate the highs and experience together the lows, that’s
how we form the deep connections.
I personally think we can create that in robots, and I personally believe it’s a lot easier
than we think.
Does it make you afraid sometimes about the fact that one day AI, like artificial intelligence
could hurt us?
Because of Hollywood, of course, the movies we watch, but it seems like when I hear sometimes
Elon Musk talking, you know?
Yeah, so Elon talks about with AI, we’re summoning the demon.
He is very concerned, and I talked to him about it quite a bit, he’s very concerned
about all the different ways AI could hurt us humans.
I tend to believe that there’s a lot more ways in which AI can make our lives better
and can make life awesome for humans.
I think humans are the ones that can do a lot of evil things.
So I’m less worried about AI, I’m more worried about humans.
If I look at what humans have done on the course of history, for example, in regards
to the planet to the scale of the universe, I think what I’m afraid is that we have more
of a destructive force than a beneficial force.
So if AI take that in consideration in order to protect us against ourselves, it could
hurt us in a way.
I don’t know if you understand, what do you think about that?
Does it makes you afraid sometimes, not because of AI, but because of what humans are doing
that AI could do to us to prevent us of hurting ourselves, you know?
Yeah, I mean, definitely it can bring out the worst in human nature and provide tools
for evil people to do evil things at a larger scale.
But I just think it depends what you think human beings are.
I tend to believe that as we get more intelligent, we start to see the value, the evolutionary
value and the value in terms of happiness of being good to each other.
And I think AI, if you look at AI as an optimization problem of how to create a civilization that
works well and expands throughout the universe, I think love is much more effective.
So AI will help us maximize that.
I think there’s going to be always spikes throughout, as it has been through human history,
where charismatic leaders will do evil onto the world in the name of good.
You have the Stalin and the Hitlers and all of that.
But ultimately over time, I think technology will give the good people power and the evil
people less power.
Now there’s a lot of ways that that won’t be the case.
There’s a lot of ways for it to go wrong and Elon talks about them, but I honestly think
in terms of intelligent AI, that’s going to bring more love to the world.
The thing I’m concerned about is dumb AI.
So there’s been a lot of discussion between China and the United States recently on autonomous
This is something people don’t, they’re afraid to talk about, but there’s now a race where
the United States has officially said that they’re not against adding AI to its weapon
So now the US military is adding automation, adding intelligence to its drones, to anything
that can create damage.
And so of course, and they did this so in response to China doing that.
So you can imagine this is Terminator.
You think about Terminators and intelligent systems, they’re not, they’re pretty dumb.
The point is they’re efficient at doing what they do.
And in the space of war, efficient at doing what you do means killing.
So that I’m really afraid of, but those are dumb AI.
Those aren’t your loving, deep, fulfilling relationships.
That’s like efficiently being able to fly, to plan the trajectory of dropping bombs,
of missiles, of how to do counter attacks, of how to maximize the destruction of a particular
facility instead of individuals.
And then that can just escalate.
And as opposed to the cold war with the Soviet Union, this could be a hot war.
And then the consequences, once you allow, it’s kind of terrifying because currently
the drones are operated by humans.
So you have say, you have information about, intelligence gives you information about a
particular terrorist located in this area.
And then you use drones to maybe the automation there is to help you figure out what is the
best trajectory to strike at that location.
So you still have a human that pulls the trigger at the end and dropping the bomb.
Now automation and AI and autonomous weapons systems might be where you say, there’s a
bad guy over here.
You figure out how to get rid of the bad guy.
So then of course the systems will be very good at finding the right trajectory and so
on, but there’s bugs that can happen.
Unexpected bugs that the system might figure out that there is this bad guy might actually
be in these other five locations.
So might make sense to cover the entire area, right?
And so you might drop bombs on the entire area and then that’s just okay.
So that’s going to lead to a lot of destruction at the scale of a city, but then you can immediately
take that to nuclear weapons.
If you add automation to responding to counterattacks to nuclear weapons, somebody, you might get
information that somebody is planning a nuclear attack on the United States and the AI system
will immediately respond and you know, it can respond at a scale of launching nuclear
And so there’s all of these possibilities that don’t require much intelligence.
And that’s exceptionally concerning.
I’m like you, I do not believe there is babies that are born bad.
I think people do bad things because of their experience.
However, if I look through my experience and from what I can see is some very often, man’s
of power wants more power.
That’s what makes me afraid with, you know?
Absolutely, listen, I’ve come from the Soviet Union.
Stalin is arguably one of the most powerful humans in history.
He’s not talked often enough about by the evils he’s done.
Hitler gets all the attention, but Stalin has done arguably much more evil than Hitler.
Yeah, well, this is human nature.
It wants power.
We see that with institutions, we see that with governments and nations.
I think you see this with the internet, people are really hungry for the distribution of
Like you see that people are very much distrustful of centralized places of power, of institutions
and so on.
So I think successful organizations, successful companies, successful governments will be
run by people who distribute the power.
Like I don’t trust myself with power at all.
And I think you have to build into the system that no one person can have power and that
you distribute it.
That’s where you have in the financial sector, you have cryptocurrency right now with Bitcoin
and all those kinds of things.
People are exploring, how can we avoid the central bank to have the control?
How do you put the power in the hands of people, thousands of people, millions of people?
And same way with military, with any kind of, with technology, I think the future looks
What do you think about militarizing space?
The space force, I don’t think about it often because right now I’m filled with excitement
about space exploration, which is the positive aspect.
So Elon, I was born in an era where it was exciting.
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s exciting to look up to the stars and dream about us
humans colonizing Mars, colonizing other planets, expanding out to the galaxy, into the universe.
That’s really exciting.
So the possibilities there are endless.
I don’t think, because also the resources are endless.
And so I think we get into trouble with militarization, with wars when the resources are very constrained.
So I think for a while we’re not going to be fighting, the only wars we’ll be fighting
in space are the ones that kind of help us.
Another nation to compete, who goes to the moon first, I guess.
Those kinds of things are maybe for satellites and all those kinds of communication and maybe
in assistance for cyber warfare, which is also very dangerous.
But in terms of the wars out in space, I think everything out in space will be positive and
It’s very hard, but all good things are hard, I think.
This is where I’ve been talking to a bunch of people about extraterrestrial life.
I’m really excited by, I don’t know, it’s the other thing.
When I look out to the stars, it’s exciting to me.
I know I think you’ve spoken about it being scary, but to me it’s exciting that there’s
intelligent creatures out there far beyond perhaps the intelligence of our own that are
just too far away to explore yet, but we might one day come in contact with them.
So that to me is the ultimate motivator is to meet other intelligence life forms out
there and connect with them.
Have you ever meet Jacques Vallée?
No, but I’ve been in communication.
I want to, I hope to talk to him.
He’s an amazing…
I know that there’s many theories about, you know, if there’s alien, we don’t know, right?
But some people think it’s from another star systems and Jacques Vallée has like to make
a long story short, he has a different theory, thinks it’s perhaps beings that could be living
in a different dimension than us.
And the reason why he says that is when he makes an experiment, when there is a sightings
very often of a UFO, let’s say I’m the UFO that you have three guys, they are looking
at the UFO very often, one experiment that you can do, and sometimes that is the case,
you ask your two friends to walk on the side and there’s a point that it’s like a corridor,
you see the UFO and then you stop seeing it like a corridor.
And that’s one of the reasons why he’s saying that it’s perhaps dimension.
And I found that fascinating, you know?
This is what, you know, to the discussion of consciousness and all that, it feels like
we might be just experiencing a very particular slice of this universe, we might not be understanding
what’s at the higher dimensions or, yeah, I mean, higher dimensions in whatever form
that means, you know, there’s all these physical theories now that describe a world with dimensions
that’s much higher than the four dimensions of the three dimension of space and the one
dimension of time.
So whatever the hell is going on in those other dimensions, it could be something, unfortunately,
this is the sad part, it might be something we can’t even comprehend with our human brains,
that the limitations are just, I mean, we’re just descendants of apes, so like it might
not be possible to even understand.
Is there alien?
Is there another dimension?
Are they human from the future?
Is there perhaps Chinese or another, you know what I mean, a group of people that are working
with technology far behind?
But you know what, Lex, I had the chance to meet, you know, because of the sport I’m doing,
I met a lot of people in military and politics sometimes that I ask them every time.
I met one this week and I asked him, I say, is it true about the UFOs there?
And he says to me, he’s like, even before I asked him, I say, sorry, I have to ask you
I was in Los Angeles and I said, sorry, I have to ask you a question.
He said, oh, you want to ask me about UFOs right away, you do.
And I say, yes.
He saw it in your eyes.
He said, yeah, there is things that flies that we don’t know.
But he didn’t tell me, he doesn’t know it, they don’t know if it’s alien or whatever,
but there’s things apparently that are detected.
And I know you met Fravor, you know, like Fravor is fascinating.
It makes me sad that we live in a different era now that it used to be a subject that
was ridicules and now it’s so cool that it’s, you know, I’m very excited to live in to that
era, you know?
Yeah, it’s really exciting, but still the governments are kind of behind the times on
that aspect is they’re not transparent and they don’t communicate well.
You know, it saddens me to think the possibility that, that, you know, like the US government
might be in possession of something that they don’t tell the world about because they’re
just scared is because they don’t know what the hell it is and they don’t want the Chinese
to gain the technology or all those kinds of things.
Do you think the president of the United States, for example, because the president comes and
go every, right, four or eight years, do you think he would know all the secret or it would
be a guy like, for example, Vladimir Putin would know much of, you know what I mean?
I don’t think the president even know, like even knows all the secret.
The US president.
I don’t think so because he goes, they go back and forth, you know, every four years,
you know, they have the terms, right?
So I, you know, I wasn’t sure before, but I think I could trust the previous United
States president of Donald Trump that if he knew, he would probably tweet about it.
So I think from the, you know, I’ve worked with DARPA, I worked with DOD at a clearance
and I think from the perspective, if you, if you see the world as fundamentally a dangerous
world where secrets are important to have from a military perspective, I think it’s
very unsafe to tell the president of the United States that you have this kind of technology.
So if you think of the world in that way, I hate that that’s how that world is viewed
because ultimately I think what’s more powerful than the military secrets, and I hope that
actually is what will happen in the 21st century, is what’s more powerful is inspire people.
Inspire the young Elon Musk’s of the world to create cool new things.
If we have technology that we’ve have come, have encountered that we don’t understand
that should only be inspiration to develop that kind of stuff.
It shouldn’t be seen as military, as a military threat, as a secret to hold on to.
I think secrets, I hope we more and more let go of the idea that there are secrets that
give us advantage, you know, like in the tech sector, people are more and more releasing
the software and making it open source.
Like secrets don’t make sense.
They share the knowledge, right?
Share the knowledge.
Like being afraid to share the knowledge, I think, I hope is an old idea.
It’s more, yeah.
When you make it, things more compartmentalize, you know?
That’s the other thing is the bureaucracy of government is like people only know their
own little thing and they don’t spread the information.
It doesn’t travel well.
I mean, there’s a lot of just inefficiencies that are, it makes me sad.
It makes me sad because the science, the engineering that happens in governments, like Lockheed
Martin developing the different airplanes that they use for military applications is
some of the most incredible engineering ever.
And it’s secret because they’re afraid to share it with the Russians and the Chinese
and so on.
But on that topic, I do think somebody like Vladimir Putin probably knows some stuff.
I would love to know what he knows.
But then again, you never know because even he is, you know, people think of him as an
exceptionally powerful person, but he’s also just managing a bunch of tribes.
His power is very limited.
He’s trying to hold together a bunch of greedy, power hungry, mad men.
And he’s trying to establish a balance.
He might not know everything.
So I hope this changes because I think there’s nothing more exciting about.
I don’t even know if there is a human that knows.
You know what I mean?
Like this idea that there is some civilization, alien civilization that that land on the White
House and say, hi, I come to meet the president.
And like, why would they do that?
You know what I mean?
It’s kind of absurd.
Well, I do think that actually, I mean, that’s one possibility, right, is LART, you know,
if an alien civilization really wanted to contact us, I think everybody would know.
So I think what we’re, if there’s any kind of interaction between humans and aliens,
I think most likely what we’re interacting with is a crappy like probe drone thing that
kind of just like, like, it’s like this, this dumb thing, you know, we’re not interacting
with the aliens.
I think just like, just like for us, I think humans aren’t when we venture out into space.
The first thing that’s going to meet aliens is our robots.
It’s not us humans because we keep sending robots out.
So they’re going to like, they’re going to make decisions about humans by looking at
I say the famous grays, the grays, maybe they are robots.
Maybe it’s all BS too, you know?
I don’t know, I don’t know what that interaction actually would look like if aliens really
wanted to reach out, really communicate.
And I don’t know if we’re able to actually communicate with them.
That’s one of the sad things.
We may not be able to, that we might, the aliens might already be here and we might
just not even know, know how to see them or know how to communicate with them.
There’s so much misinformation and sometimes there is peoples that are very credible that,
that made crazy claims, you know, like, you don’t know what to believe, you know, like,
like Paul Aylor, the minister of defense of Canada said like some, that there is many
alien rays that ever, that’s what he said, research it and that scientists from, I think
Israel recently have said something about Trump, he was keeping secret or Medvedev,
you’re from Russia, Medvedev have been caught in a, like during a break in between interviews
to talks about like, oh, it’s like men in black, so to speak.
I don’t know.
He didn’t look like he was joking, but I don’t know if he was saying the truth.
I didn’t know about this.
Yeah, you can check on YouTube.
It’s a, it’s, it’s, it went, it went viral.
There’s a lot of things like that sometimes I’m like, or, or Bob Lazar, I’m like, imagine
if it’s true, man.
Imagine if we’re like a fish in the water, we live in our own world and sometimes there’s
a fisherman that grabbed the fish, take him out of the water and threw it back in the
water and the fish goes back to the other fish and say, Hey, there’s someone that, that
take me out of the water.
Then I’ve seen things that I did not like.
Imagine if it’s true.
Like we like, yeah.
And one other thing, like I wanted to ask you because you were consciousness, how about
What is a dream?
Well, I, I, I more and more, I don’t know if you’re paying attention to this.
There’s no, it’s become more acceptable in the scientific community to do large scale
studies of psychedelics, for example, and there’s a lot of connection between psychedelics
There’s very similar states.
There’s, there’s a lot our mind does when it detaches itself from reality that it can
just explore a lot of different ideas.
It’s very possible that dreams is you’re traveling somewhere and the same thing with psychedelics.
You’re traveling somewhere in a different, not traveling to physical space.
It’s the other dimensions that we’re talking about.
You’re traveling some other through some other dimension to meet some other creature.
People talk with DMT that they meet some elves.
I’ve never done, I I’d like to, I don’t know if there’s a safe legal way to do it, but
they all talk about meeting elves and creatures like entities and like, who are they?
What’s what is this?
Is it because they’re high or it’s because they’re actually meeting something and maybe
there’s no difference.
I mean that who knows exactly and that’s takes us right back to us not being able to really
understand how our mind works.
You know, I work in artificial intelligence.
It’s clear that we understand so little about intelligence, some basic things about intelligence
just at the, at the very sort of basic first principles level.
We don’t understand what it means to, to reason, to think, to assimilate pieces of knowledge
together from the, from the basics to the complex.
We don’t understand it.
We don’t understand how the human mind does it.
We don’t understand how the human mind is able to take incredible waterfall of information
and filter cleanly into just like clean.
You only see the things that are important and are able to stitch them together and be
able to reason about the world.
And at the same time have moments of like genius of creativity.
Like what is that?
That also, you know, people, writers talk about that, that they’re, you know, they’re
almost like communicating with a muse, like where do ideas come from?
This is the Joe Rogan philosophy.
But I do know that past civilization where a lot of them were based on shamanism.
And you know what?
I think it’s sad is if someone drink alcohol and when he’s drunk, he’s going to commit
like create like, like murders or something.
We’re going to blame the person.
You’re going to say that’s his fault.
It’s not the fault of alcohol.
However, if someone does psychedelic or any things that is illegal and you do something
crazy, now we’re going to put the fault on psychedelic.
You know what I mean?
And perhaps the person itself is the reason why, you know, he’s been doing these things,
you know what I mean?
So yeah, it’s fascinating how like society, you know, like in Canada, they just legalize
Marijuana is legal.
But before that, before they did it, like if you talk, for example, to my dad, my dad
is against it, like, because the whole mentality is like, it’s drug, it’s bad.
But drinking a glass, you know, drinking a beer, it’s fine.
I mean, what is, you know what I mean?
What is good?
What is bad?
And I guess eating chocolate could be bad as well for your health or, I mean, I’m going
to the extreme now, but what is good?
What is bad?
If you use it for recreation, you use it for an experience, to learn about yourself, it’s
a, the line is very tiny, you know, there’s some countries that drugs are all legals,
you know what I mean?
And I don’t know the stats, but I would be interesting to know if they have more crimes
there than other countries where it’s more strict.
I would be interesting to know about that.
It’s fascinating to me, you know?
And I mean, we humans kind of just come up with arbitrary lines of what’s good, what’s
bad that applies with drugs, that applies with anything, that applies with animals,
We talked about carnivore diet.
Maybe the time we live in now will be remembered for the cruelty to animals, for example.
And I believe this, the 21st century will be remembered for our cruelty to robots.
That eventually there’ll be a civil rights movement for robots where the ones who choose
to be conscious, the ones who have consciousness will say, we deserve rights too.
We deserve to be treated with respect too.
How about the people we put in jail?
People put in jail.
I mean, I think in the future we’ll look back and we’ll think of ourselves being stupid,
you know, to put people in jail instead of, you know, like trying to fix the problem at
the base, you know?
Of course now we’re, or I guess it’s our ignorance that made it in a way that we cannot sometimes
understand what makes sometime a psychopath, a psychopath or a murderer, a murderer, but
you know, if we can pinpoint the problem and take care of it before, you know what I mean?
Or made it in a way that we can reestablish that person in the society.
You know, who knows, you know, what was the future’s hold.
We live in an interesting time.
You mentioned your father.
What have you learned from your dad?
You mentioned he was an important part of your childhood.
My dad is amazing.
I grew up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but it doesn’t mean if I’m born in a nice
country that always nice thing happened, you know?
My dad for me is a big role model because I see him through to my life facing a lot
You know, he stopped drinking when I was a teenager, he was an alcoholic and I seen him
struggle through that, you know, and it was very, very hard and I’ve seen him work like
crazy hours, like come leave in the morning, come home at night, burned out because of
work through almost all his life to the point that it became a slave of the system.
It became an habit and a normal way of living and it made me realize that I have learned
a lot through my father.
He taught me perseverance, hard work, you know, when you face adversity, you know, to
never give up until you achieve it, but also he taught me a lesson that in a way that I
don’t want to be like him, even if he is happy, it’s because I realized I don’t think he knows
Like he works through all his life and I don’t want to live to work.
I want to work for, you know what I mean, I want to decide when I work, you know, I
feel like like he lived to work instead of working for a living.
And perhaps it’s because he did not have choice, he was the older of his family, they were
nine kids, his dad, my grandfather died when he was young, so he had to become the father
of the family and work to put money on the table.
So perhaps that’s what made him that way and it became like an habit for him.
My dad taught me when I was at school, I was bullied at school, he’s the first one who
initiate me to martial art.
He taught me karate, my dad was a black belt in Kyokushin karate as well.
But because he was working too much, he didn’t have time to teach me and I needed self defense
in order to defend myself.
I have a winning, a great career in mixed martial art, but in the school yard, my record
is not very good.
When you’re a kid and you’re about seven, eight years old and you’re facing bullied
bullies that are two to three years older than yourself, it’s not the same thing than
when you’re 25 and the guy is 28.
So there was a big discrepancy in terms of maturity.
So my dad taught me, introduced me to karate, then he didn’t have time to teach me.
Then he put me in a school with a teacher, it was Jean Couture.
And I grew up with a lot of anger and there were two persons I was afraid growing up.
It was my dad, my dad was very severe, very strict with me.
And I’m glad he was because I could have become very bad.
I could have become chosen on a different path.
People see me as a nice guy and I am a nice guy, I try to be a good role model, but I
could easily have turned towards a wrong path.
There’s darkness somewhere in there.
Yes, there are a lot.
And a lot of my friends have chosen that path and unfortunately they are not with me today.
Even if I’m from Canada and Canada seems like the nicest country in the world, like I said,
even if you live in a nice country, it’s not always a nice thing, it depends on the situation.
But that’s what my dad taught me.
And he gave me that because I’m very good at learning by observing people and by observing
him I see the struggle he had with alcoholism and what he did, the pain sometimes that he
inflicted to us, to my family.
But how he turned, he did a 180 degree and I really admire that.
And I know it was very, very hard for him and he did it and for me that’s a great role
model for me.
So with your dad being an engine of basically hard work and you finding a balance of being
able to work your ass off, but also to be able to enjoy a piece of chocolate, what is
a perfect day in the life of George St. Pierre look like?
So like if you were to go through a day that’s very productive, but also one that makes you
sit back and enjoy and say that was a good day, what’s that look like?
What are we talking about?
When do you wake up?
What do you eat?
What do you do?
It changed over the years.
When I was younger, I have a good day.
It was like a good training session or, you know, achieving good thing in my training,
you know, and that’s why I was very good at it because when I, I was obsessed, you know,
I think to be good at something, you need to become obsessed.
And to me, performing in my training was everything, you know, like when I had a bad training session,
I didn’t tell my training partner, I was acting like a, like because of my ego, I didn’t,
you know, I didn’t tell nobody, I was like, Hey, then I go in the locker room and like,
man, then I’m playing the, the, the, the training in my mind and I’m saying, okay, I should
have done this, should have done that, and it haunt me.
It haunt me, man.
It’s a training and it haunt me until the next training session when I can redeem myself.
That’s how it is.
When we used to train in, in all together, back in the day in Canada, we had David Loiseau,
we had Patrick Côté, we had Dennis Kang, Steve Vignot, Jonathan Goulet, there was all
like the best guy in Canada that were training with each other before we were training in
But once a week, I made it in a way that I contact everybody that we all join force and
we exchange ideas and we train with each other.
So a friendly, I would say friendly competition.
It was not malicious, but it was hard training, you know, like not, our goal was to improve,
you know, but it wasn’t very competitive.
And when that day you used to get out of the training session with a bad performance for
me, it used to haunt me until the following week when I could give it back and perform
better with the guy that I had the most trouble with.
That’s how it was.
And that’s how you get better, you know, but, but it was not a training where we were trying
to do malicious thing to one another.
You know what I mean?
You need to be playful, but playful, but competitive.
That when I had a good training session, because the sparring was on a Friday, I had the best
weekend in the world.
I was going out with my friend, drinking and partying and have fun.
That that was, that was my, my, my, my ideal day back in the day.
Today has changed.
You know, my, my, my, my life has changed.
You know, like I, I am not the same person I used to be when I got, went on my knees
and beg the UFC for title shot.
You know what I mean?
I am a, I’m wealthy, I’m healthy.
Most importantly, that’s the most important thing.
And as, and I’m going to tell you the truth, as good as my career was, man, my private
life, man, is a million times better, man.
I, and, and people ask me sometimes they always wonder, they, they try to ask me and it’s
It’s a lot of people is curious and the reporter and in the sport of mixed martial art, we
say we play basketball, we play soccer, but you don’t play fighting.
So when you expose your private life, we seen that happen in the fight with sometime Conor
McGregor and Khabib, your competitor knows that he cannot get to you.
So what he will do, he will try to get to someone that you love.
So may I never expose my, my private life.
I never post Instagram of my family or my stuff.
That’s the reason why, because I’m in a, I’m in a business of fighting and people know
that they cannot get to me.
And I believe because I was bullied when I was young, I didn’t realize that when I was
young, but it helps me deal with the mental warfare that I need, that I had to face later
on in my life and mixed martial art, because it’s a very egotistic sport.
And there’s a lot of, a lot and a lot of intimidation.
And I was used to, I’ve been used to this thing when I was young.
So it does not get to me, however, the good way to get to me, go, go, go, go try to get
to someone I love now, man, I’m going to go crazy.
You know what I mean?
And I’m aware of that.
So in order to protect myself, I always, because I’m aware I’m a public person.
So I try to always keep my surrounding like in the private.
You know, one of the ways that like your friend and mine, Joe Rogan has been an inspiration
that he’s got like an incredible family and he, for the most part, it started to change
Actually, it’s kind of interesting, but for the most part, throughout his life, he kept
it pretty secret.
Doesn’t talk about it in his, he’s a comedian, comedians talk about everything.
He doesn’t really talk about it.
And there’s something to that.
It like preserves the magic of the silence of the private life.
And I think it can affect the development of the kid.
If the kid grow up being, oh, he’s the son of that guy instead of being his own person.
You know what I mean?
So for me, it’s very important.
Like my parents are older, it’s fine.
But it taught me a big lesson.
When I’m with my friend at the dinner or anything, I talk with person, always share a thing.
But when I’m talking, I’m aware of the audience where I’m in front.
And I mean, but oftentimes those people are just incredible.
It kind of makes me sad that, you know, there’s a lot of people that love you, right?
And there are a lot of really incredible people and you’ll never get to really know their
I mean, I don’t know, for me, it makes me sad.
You see them like at airports and stuff.
People will tell me they listen to this podcast or something like that.
And I could tell they’re incredible people.
It makes me it’s like a little goodbye of a possible friend.
I don’t know.
It makes me sad.
It makes me it’s lonely.
It’s almost like celebrity is a lonely thing.
So the higher the celebrity, the more lonely you become in some kind of way.
But of course, you have that little gem of a private life where you can personally, I
believe every relationship I like, I don’t like to use this term, but it’s always a give
and take relationship, you know, like you can gain something and the person like it
could be something like not materialist materialistic, like something always a good, confident like
someone that can give me good advice or.
It’s a word I would say, like extensional, like if a pilot as a copilot is the copilot
is extent as an extensional relationship with him, you know, so he knows if he gets sick
or faint, he’s there to make sure, you know, he’s there to help.
And I think in every relation it’s about compatibility, but it’s about extensionality, right?
In a way that if that person is extensional and sometimes we talk about about love, you
know, like sometimes I think is it is it a BS word or not?
Because I myself sometimes look at I look at myself in the mirror and when I do stupid
thing, sometimes I love myself a lot and sometimes I don’t.
You know what I mean?
Because I’m angry at myself, I’ve done stupid thing.
So that means sometimes you could love could be fluctuating.
You know what I mean?
How about in relationships?
Sometimes people, they say, oh, they love each other, but then when they divorce, they
go, oh, I want the house and the dog and the kids stay with me.
And you know what I mean?
If you love, by definition, if you really love someone and let’s say you’re an old man
and you love a woman and she decides to leave you for a younger man, if you really love
her, you’re going to help her pack and leave.
But in our society, sometimes we want to hone something.
To me, love includes the missing somebody, the losing somebody, the anger at somebody.
It’s all the passion, feelings towards somebody.
That’s all love.
I, you know, it’s all part of the thing.
It’s the ups and downs.
It’s the sad thing is when the feelings towards a person, the ups and downs go away, the forgetting.
That’s the opposite of love.
So the opposite of love isn’t hate.
To me, the opposite of love is forgetting.
And that’s a much bigger, that’s the depth of human connection.
That’s how I see love.
Sometimes I try to stay positive and I’ve been asked how I try to, because I have the
image of someone who’s positive.
But I go through my own demon as well sometimes.
However, when we talk about love, when I was young, you know, like, I didn’t love who I
was at first.
That’s how I love, I learned to kind of love myself.
Like I didn’t, when I was going to bullying, I was, I believe I was bullied because I didn’t
love myself because I project a very bad image of what I think of myself.
I was a kid that lacked a lot of confidence.
I was looking down when I was walking.
I shrugged my shoulder.
When someone was talking to me, I was avoiding eye contact.
So I was a very easy target for bullies.
And I think bullies are like a predatory animal in nature.
They will hunt the easier prey.
They don’t go, the lion don’t go for the alpha bull.
They go for the one who’s old or who’s sick, the weakest one.
And bullies are the same in society, I believe.
And I didn’t like to be bullied, of course, but I didn’t like the person that I was.
But I found out through martial art, the respect and my coach was extraordinary to me.
He taught me discipline and self strength.
And I found out that I needed to, in order to love myself, I needed to change myself.
Because I didn’t, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw.
So I decided to become like someone that I would love.
So I tried to look people straight up and try to showcase a more confident image that
And it was hard in the beginning because I didn’t really believe in it, but I fake it
until kind of I make it.
So when I was walking at school, more and more I was learning how to become more confident
and I was like taking charge.
The teacher was asking questions, at first I was never answering, I was like this, waiting
always to be the last.
Then I was, hey, I know what the answer, this is the answer.
I got out of my comfort zone, so to speak.
And I wish I would tell you that I got out of bullying because a Hollywood story, I used
martial art to beat up all the bullies.
But it’s not how it happened to me.
It happened because I changed myself from the inside out.
And I learned how to, because I didn’t love myself in the beginning, I learned how to
become like someone that I love.
And even now, like I’m by no mean perfect, I do a lot of stupid things, but I learn as
And even I do as something stupid, I’m like, shoot, I did something stupid.
At least I can apologize to the person if I realize, and then I know that I’m not the
person I was in the past, I’m the person that I am right now.
So I can learn and become that image of the person that I love.
So in a way, the reason I’m trying to be positive and I’m able to stay positive sometime in
life is because I’m always trying to be like that person that I love.
And I think if you don’t look yourself in the mirror and don’t love yourself or don’t
see any positive future for yourself, how can you change your environment if you cannot
You know what I mean?
You will never be happy if you’re not happy when you look at yourself in the mirror.
So change yourself first, then change, you know, it’s not the environment that’s going
to change for yourself.
You have to go from the inside out, you know.
This I learned through martial art.
I had a coach who was incredible, used to drill these ideas in my head and give me confidence,
you know, like this, telling me all these beautiful things about myself and how he’s
dead now, unfortunately, peace to him.
But he was incredible, incredible.
He was very, very strict.
I was afraid of him.
I was afraid of my dad and afraid of him.
He couldn’t teach nowadays like he used to teach me because he would be probably in jail,
But I’m glad he did it because for the time being, that’s what I needed.
And I would never have had the career I had in mixed martial art without this because
I would never have got out of my comfort zone, would have been impossible.
And in order to improve in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone.
It’s hard, very hard to do.
And strive to be the person that you can love, that’s beautifully put, George.
If you were to give advice to a young person today about life, what would you tell him?
If he takes life with the same mentality that I do, if he has the same taste of things that
I have, I would tell him, you know, for sport, for life in general, I would say, if you will
have a dream, you know, like make everything in your power and work very hard, you know,
never take no for an answer and go through hell in order to achieve it.
Don’t work hard only, but work smart.
That’s I think the problems with a lot of people, they work hard, they can work hard,
they burden themselves, they don’t work smart.
Whether it is in science and business, they make bad choices or they’re badly informed
How many guys I’ve seen ruin their career in the gym, they spar so hard, they ruin themselves
in the gyms, they leave their career in the gyms.
What I would say to, for example, because my field of expertise, it’s in sport of mixed
martial art, I would say to a young kid, make your training playful.
You know, when you get ready for competition, you need to train to recreate those elements
that makes you go outside of your comfort zone.
But in everyday life in general, make your training playful.
What makes it like a hardcore competition about who’s winning, who’s losing, make it
So it will increase your, because you will not be afraid of getting hurt or losing.
You will be tempted to try more things and it will make you become more creative.
You know, that brings up another question about learning.
So you value knowledge and you’re exceptional at basically being very good at learning and
figuring stuff out, new things or going deeper on the things you already know.
So what advice would you have for how to learn effectively?
How you say work smart, how do you figure this game out?
I believe the best way to learn is learning from other people’s mistake.
However, I’m not perfect and I’ve learned from my mistakes as well.
And sometimes it took me a few mistakes to learn the same thing.
But especially in the sport of mixed martial art, because we’re talking about the failure
could have very serious outcome on someone’s life and wellbeing.
So it’s crucial to trying to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Do you study others?
Every fight I’m studying my opponent and I’ve studied myself as well to know how my strength
mix versus my opponent weaknesses and how can I make the fight go in a way that I’m
taking my opponent outside of his comfort zone.
Very often people are good at studying their opponent, but they’re not good at looking
at themselves in the mirror and knowing what they should do in order to maximize their
odds of success, right?
That’s why I always thought for me, it was important to not be the best at one thing,
but be very good at everything.
That’s why I always seek advice, advices from the best in every discipline.
I wrestle with the best wrestler I could be with, I box with the best boxers, I practice
karate with the best karate fighters.
Same thing in Jiu Jitsu.
I train Jiu Jitsu with the best Jiu Jitsu guys.
However, when I mix everything and mix martial art, because I’m very competent in every area.
So when I’m fighting someone, I’m very good at identifying where is the less competent.
And I know for a fact that because I’m competent everywhere, if I can bring the fight where
he’s outside of his comfort zone, it increased my odds of winning.
There is no certainty.
It’s all about odds, I believe, because there is always X factor that you do not control.
Yeah, it’s fascinating to see you actually, because you’ve been a student of movement.
You’ve been exploring all kinds of, I mean, gymnastics, all that kind of stuff.
There’s something reminiscent to, like Conor McGregor is one other martial artist that’s
kind of explored movement, been a scholar of movement.
At least from my perspective, it’s very sort of Bruce Lee like, it’s almost making a study
of the human body and all the possible things you can do.
Is there a philosophy behind that, that you have?
You talk about Bruce Lee, man, you said it best.
He changes my life too.
He was ahead of his time.
A lot of people talk to me and ask me, hey, is Bruce Lee would have been able to fight
I don’t think so.
I don’t know.
I think he was a martial artist.
He could have defended himself, but to say that he could have competed amongst the elite
of the elite fighter, perhaps in his time, but for sure, if you put him in UFC right
now, the sport has improved incredibly since then.
But in terms of philosophy, Bruce, he was amazing.
One thing that just to prove that he was ahead of his time, he was talking about using your
longest weapon against your opponent nearest point.
And we see that kick, it got popularized by John Jones, the sidekick to the tie, his longest
weapon against your nearest point in boxing is the jab.
But in MMA, when you can use it, all your weapon, that’s the kick to the tie.
And there is, I felt there is like kind of three dimension in martial art.
There is the philosopher, like Bruce Lee.
There is the choreography, the choreographed people, like for example, you see in movies
that stun people.
Or the one that does like forms and karate, like jumping, spin kick, back kick, like acrobatic
stuff, mixed martial art.
They are unbelievable.
And there is also the one that competes in fighting.
That’s what I do.
I personally specialize in.
Well, you also do the philosophy.
I do a little bit of philosophy, but that’s the consequence of the fighting.
I guess we are all like we all practice the three dimension because martial art is I would
say it’s whether you want it or not, you have to touch these three dimensions.
But you will specialize in one.
I specialize through my life in fighting like the real thing in terms of fighting, competition.
Of course, if you do martial art, you’ll be able to defend yourself because it’s a self
However, you might not be able to fight as an elite and the most prestigious organization.
And you might not be able to perform the stunt that, for example, the stuntman I’ve done
in the series I was playing in the Falcon and Winter Soldier, these guys are incredible.
They’re like real life superhero.
Things they do, to me, like it’s fascinating.
And also Bruce Lee, the philosophy.
How many hours he took like thinking about these stuff, you know, I’m sure he did not
just came out of nowhere, you know, like he was thinking that’s mean he slept on this.
How many hours?
It’s just unbelievable.
He’s like water, my friend.
How many times has he thought about water going to bed before he said that?
Well, let me ask a very important fundamental question about martial arts.
We’re both wearing a suit and tie.
Joe Rogan thinks that wearing a tie is a huge disadvantage.
Is it a clip on or is it an actual tie?
It’s an actual tie, I really want it.
So do you agree or disagree with Joe Rogan that wearing a tie is a martial arts significant
disadvantage in terms of combat, in a combat scenario?
In a fight, I think it would be a disadvantage.
I work as a security bouncer in nightclubs and event when I was 18 years old.
And sometime I had to work in certain event that I was in suit and tie.
I never had to use my force to take someone out when I was in suit and tie.
But if I would have had to before going to the table to physically take the guy out,
I would have removed my tie and I would have removed my vest for sure.
And I would have called back up for sure.
And I would have probably used the element of surprise to be first on the guy.
When you’re in a bar, same thing, you call back up first and you make sure you ask the
waitress before to clean the table before you go.
And when you go, you have to use the element of surprise.
Because fighting, fighting in mixed martial arts and fighting in the street, it’s two
And yes, I’m a mixed martial arts competitor.
That’s what I’ve done all my life.
But I had a lot of street fight in my life, a lot when I was in…
What’s the difference?
What’s like the…
Oh my God.
It’s a huge difference.
There is guys that if I would have a choice, you know, to fight, like, for example, certain
guys in UFC in a street fight and fight like other guys that are not in UFC, I would maybe
sometimes pick guys that are not in UFC, not necessarily.
Because in a street fight, there’s no referee that says go.
It’s the element of surprise.
And when you’re a nice guy, you’re not the aggressor.
You always have the element of surprise.
That’s what it taught me.
Because if the person will not come punch you without warning, it needs to, it needs
to trigger some…
It’s something that needs to be triggered before.
So if someone comes because he’s looking for trouble, there is a sign that he’s looking
So I was just talking with Bas Rutten this weekend about it.
I saw that.
Every martial art comes from…
Like some martial art are from Exclusivik for competition, like sport karate, like certain
But traditional martial art are for the street, are for self defense.
And I start my background in Kyokushinkarate, so it’s for…
And I did Japanese Jiu Jitsu.
So my background, before I even start training for mixed martial art, my background is in
And it’s very important to understand that in a street fight, the element of surprise
And there are no rules.
You can go for the eyes, the necks, the…
It surprises everything.
Total, total ballgame, you know what I mean?
You have the chair, the beard, there’s so much more thing going on.
So the idea of…
Because you are a UFC fighter, you think you’re invincible.
This is BS.
Anybody can come.
Like if a big guy who punch very hard, most people don’t know how to punch.
By the way, they don’t know how to make a fist and throw it in a forward direction.
But if someone knows how to do it, I don’t care who you are.
If you could be Francis and Genu, someone come behind your head and bang.
Or let’s say there’s an argument and you get surprised by a punch.
You can be drop and lose a fight, that doesn’t matter.
The element of surprise is everything.
So you were saying remove all the sources of the elements of surprise, clear the bar,
remove the tie.
I still disagree with you about the tie.
Just for your information, if someone comes looking for trouble and you see me do this
and going sideways a little bit, that’s my position that I’m thinking maybe something
will happen and I’m about to punch you or to do something to take care of this situation.
To flip the table on you then, wearing a tie is communicating the nice guy image.
So it actually gives you the freedom for more elements of surprise by wearing the tie.
If you take it off, you’re limiting your options because nobody’s going to expect the guy in
the tie to do anything.
I’m a big believer that sometimes it’s not only materialism, it’s what you project.
Let’s say I had troubles in a bar and I was able to deflect, the guy was looking for trouble
talking to me and I was able to deflect his whole aggressivity by saying like, hey, man,
that’s a nice shirt.
Where did you get it?
Like saying like something or stupid like this, then it kind of breaks the momentum
and he, you know, but the guy was looking for trouble.
I don’t want to fight you.
I don’t want to fight you, but I’m not going to wait until you pull, you make the first
move because the minute you touch me, you push me or you touch me, you declare war and
the war is unleashed, my friend, and I’m taking you out of order with the necessary force,
You know what I mean?
That’s the thing with martial art.
If you use the necessary force to take care of the problem, it’s okay.
But if you, you know, you take advantage of it, that’s when it’s not all right because
it’s a weapon.
So if someone comes up to me, that’s my position and now I’m assessing the situation, you know,
that’s how they teach in self defense here.
Never put your hands down.
Always hand there because I’m down or boom, like what this is, this is very important
and you never, you always your center line on the side like this.
If someone knows martial art, he will recognize that pattern.
But if you go like, if someone talked to you and you go like this, that’s mean you’re telling
the guy that you want to fight.
You don’t want to do that.
You don’t want to, oh yeah, you know, that’s, that’s the position because your hands are
here, you know, whatever you can do, you’re here.
Well, also your ear tells a story.
It’s not everybody that knows that, however, it’s some people might think that it’s my
mom grabbed me by the ear and pulled me because I didn’t listen to her, you know.
A real fight in the street and a fight in mixed martial art is a different ball game.
What do you think is the best martial art to prepare you for street fighting?
You know, people often kind of have this discussion of Jiu Jitsu, maybe boxing, maybe wrestling.
Do you think, when you talk about a young person studying martial arts to prepare themselves?
For a street fight, it’s often much different than a mixed martial art fight.
And I know there is a lot of BS in the world of martial art, like self defense stuff that
like, but I believe self defense is very important in a way to understand the situation, to understand
those situations that might occur, how to deal with it.
Because not necessarily that we talk about the technicality, we talk about the tacticality,
the tactics, you know, like when I’m talking to you about the element of surprise is important.
This is not technique, technique is a punch or techniques that I physically will use to
enable my opponent, my aggressor.
Tactic is the tactic I’m telling you about is in a street fight, if someone is looking
for trouble and I feel the heat rising as the conversation goes, that’s the position
I’m going to take and I have to be first.
I cannot let him go first.
So I have to strike first or do something.
This is the first thing that generally I have to agree on.
After that, of course, there is the knowledge.
If you’re a professional fighter, you have a huge advantage.
Once the fight is started, the war is declared.
Now it’s everything goes.
But generally speaking, the person that will intervene, that will have the first blow or
the first, you know, the first punch will have a huge disadvantage.
It’s like doing a hundred meter race and having a head start, you know, and that you can’t
prepare for with any martial arts.
And if I’m a smart guy, I know how to fight.
If a guy like an heavyweight champion comes to me or like, like, like, you know, I know,
I know what to do to disable him, like boom or here or the neck, you know, like, and if
you blind him, what is he going to do?
You know what I mean?
So, so or a bottle, you know what I mean?
So the element of surprise is it’s everything.
So that’s why it’s always, always good to be the nice guy and not looking for trouble.
Because if you’re not looking for trouble, you have the head start, you have the option
of having a head start.
So what you’re saying is being a nice guy is the best form of self defense, maybe a
And you know, I have learned that I’ve learned that when I was a kid, I was about maybe
seven or six, six years old.
We used to play in Montreal, there’s a lot of snow, we used to play king of the mountain.
That’s the first combat lesson that I’ve learned in my life.
And I managed somehow, it was a lot of kids, I managed to get on the top of the mountain
and another guy came in, come in on top of the mountain and he was angry that before
I was there before him.
When you play king of the mountain, it was a mountain of snow.
You don’t strike each other, we just wrestle and push.
And I managed to be first.
And when he came, he says to me, say, OK, you want to, you want to fight?
And I said, yeah, I don’t know what he means, like I want to fight, I want to wrestle.
I say, yes.
He punched me right in the face.
And then I and then I fall on the bottom of the mountain.
Then when I fall down, I remember that vision in my life because it’s I will remember that
for the rest of my life.
I’m about to stand up and I see the blood coming out of my nose, I see that the snow
is red because my nose is bleeding.
Now I remember the element of surprises, everything.
My first street fight, I lost it.
I got I didn’t get knocked out, but I got dropped on the bottom of the snow mountain.
And I was like, oh, you got me because I wasn’t expecting my hand, I was not expecting a punch.
So from there, when I felt the heat of an injury, an argument or something was not right,
I always stroke first.
I didn’t win all my fight because sometimes there were more than one guys on me, you know.
But I think it’s important to not be the aggressor.
So you have the element of surprise and always use that in your favor.
That’s so brilliant.
Let me go from the very practical to the most impractically huge question about the meaning
You said that when great depths of unrelenting sorrow are punctuated by great peaks of joy
and liberation, the result is delicious.
So what do you think is the meaning of this whole journey that we’re on this life?
What makes life delicious?
To me, you know, satisfaction is the M for me.
Like I always, if I’m satisfied, that means I have nothing to live for.
I’m not talking only about my career, I’m talking about my life.
What do you want in your life?
You want kids, you want a family, you want to be champion.
What do you want in your life?
You have like a long term goal, short term goal.
In mixed martial arts, I achieve what I needed to achieve.
I’m no longer the same George St. Pierre than when I was begging for a title shot on my
I move on from it.
Now I had a chance to go into movies.
Now that same insane drive that I had to be the champion in the world, now I put it into
Like I’m having a lot of acting class now and luckily for me, the timing was amazing.
I got cast for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier that is on Disney Plus channel.
It’s a huge, huge project to be part of for me because it’s like you play basketball,
you have a chance to go for the NBA right away.
I was very lucky.
The timing was just too perfect.
And so you need to constantly challenging yourself and having goals to achieve, you
know, like that.
Keep your brain activated, like keep working.
And the proof of that is that you see sometimes some old people, like when they retire, very
often sometime you see that they got sick and they die or because they it’s either because
sometimes we think we we certainly may benefit, we do something good for them by making that
work and giving them a break.
So in our mind, we’re like, oh, he’s going to be able to relax.
But in their mind, it’s not good because they’re not busy.
They have nothing to live for.
Like my dad is used to work all the time and he has always something to do.
He’s retired now.
I myself now call him by force to find him some job.
Hey, dad, can you come in my house?
Have this thing to repair?
I don’t know how to do it.
So it gives him it gives him a reason not to live on because he has other things to
But but what I mean is also in life, I think you always don’t be afraid to aim high.
Don’t don’t be afraid to fix your objective very high and never be able to reach it.
Be afraid of reaching your goals, essentially.
I mean, you always have to keep moving it out.
You think there’s a it’s an interesting question because you’ve been acting in some really
Do you think there’s a dramatic role where it’s basically, you know, you go full Robert
De Niro in Taxi Driver?
Do you think there’ll be a full length feature film with George St. Pierre?
I liken there is level to this thing.
Am I aware that I have to restart as a white belt white belt?
And for some people, it could be discouraging.
But for me, man, it’s great.
I love it.
I freaking love it.
I embrace it because everybody told me like I would never be able to do it and it’s fine.
But the and also the outcome of a failure in the sport of mixed martial art is much
more serious than the outcome of a failure for a movie, for example, for for if you think
when you should zag in a fight, you get knocked out if you zig when you should zag and on
We’ll do it again.
And I know that I will be most likely be to chosen for action martial art roles because
that’s my background.
There’s this new trend in Hollywood now when they want someone to play an Italian guy,
they’re going to choose a real Italian person.
When they want someone to play a Russian guy, they’re going to choose someone who has a
real Russian background.
Now they want a real martial art fighter.
I’ve done fighting all my life.
I just need to improve my acting skill.
But when I train in acting, I get myself out of my comfort zone.
I’m not playing a role of a martial art guy.
I’m playing like romance, comedy, drama.
So when I go on set and playing the role of a badass martial art guy, it’s it’s easier.
So like in training for a fight, I always make my preparation harder than the actual
I would love to see where I don’t know if you’ve seen the wrestler with Mickey Rourke.
Those types of films.
I would love to I would love to you do something like that.
If not now, then in 10, 20 years, I could see that that would be amazing.
It’s levels to the game, right?
Yes, it’s gradual.
And I don’t and I’m aware that I don’t want to take something on my shoulder that I won’t
be able to deliver.
It’s like a fighter wants to go for a title shot right away.
It could very well break him, you know, and I don’t want to do that because I know I’ve
done some gigs in the past, but I was not focusing on it because I was focusing on competing
as a martial art martial artist in competition in MMA.
But now I take it very seriously.
So I cannot do the same mistake again because I’ve done some stuff.
I’ve done it for the money and it was good.
It was fun to be beat up by Jacque Van Damme, Steven Seagal and everything.
But my acting was not on point, you know, at that time.
So if I ever every time I’m going to come back from now on, on screen, you need to be
sharp because you cannot mess it up.
If you mess it up, it’s like a loss on your record.
You’re not taken seriously.
So so that’s how I see it.
And it’s very fun because I had a chance to talk to a lot of guys on top of all the class
that I’m having.
Like a few days ago, I was with Danny Trujo.
And I always seek the advice of actors when I when I see some of them that because I really
admire how they do, you know, how they project their emotion.
And I asked him, Danny Trujo, I said, I said to him, he’s an amazing guy, by the way.
Very nice guy.
And I asked him, I say, how how do you do to be?
Because you scared the hell out of me.
How do you do to be so scary?
Like what is your trick?
And he tells me, he’s like, George, if you’re threatening, if you’re threatening someone
and you scream at him, I’m going to kill you.
It’s not as scary if you’re smiling and you say, I’m going to kill you like and he says
also to me that another advice he gave me is like when you say this, think about you
killing him for real, that how you hate him and how you’re going to kill him.
So the camera will take the emotion out.
Don’t try physically to do that.
That’s the mistake I used to do before.
I used to physically show that I’m strong and angry and to be mean.
So these are just an example of tricks that I learned sometimes when I met an actor.
I always try to learn from everybody that I met in my life.
It’s a difficult journey because then you have to go to some dark places as a person
because you really have to imagine imagine some dark things.
It’s fascinating, actually.
I think a lot of the actors, they have sometimes problems because of that, because now I understand
why it’s like if you work on your bicep, your bicep will grow.
It’s because it is the stress that you put on it that will make it grow.
Emotions are, I believe, are the same way.
If you used to dig inside of you down deep to to to to make your negative emotion, depressive
emotion comes out, if something bad in your life happened, you will fall into those emotion
much more rapidly than someone who does not that every day.
You know what I mean?
Because it will.
It’s like a muscle memory.
Like if you program yourself to react a certain way, you will reach that point very often.
So that’s why sometimes you see some some guys that we often blame it on drugs.
But I think it’s also because of the acting that I used to be so hot on the hot tub and
sometimes they go to the down deep so they they they they they the boat extreme, you
You got to be psychologically tough.
And that’s life.
So I’m so excited to see you challenge yourself in that direction.
That’s one thing that I’m a little bit afraid.
That happened to me.
I really hope I’ll always be, you know, like a problem, having a problem to control my
emotion be too much extreme.
I hope it does not happen to me.
And if I feel that I’m going towards that, I’m going to, you know, give up on my new
objective and find something else to to achieve.
But in your personal life, you want to be real with your emotions.
You don’t want to.
It doesn’t, you know, just like with biceps, you don’t want biceps that are too big.
You are real, but you are extreme real.
And that’s the that’s the that’s what I think something that could happen to actors sometimes
when they go too much into their emotion.
Like we talk about like something guys that that that commit commit suicide, perhaps,
you know, I don’t know.
It’s because I don’t know their real life, but it could be something that they get so
much into their character.
I didn’t understand it at first because I never had acting class.
But after a while that you have acting class, now you start to realize that, yeah, I understand
why some actor get caught up in their emotion, because that can have an influence on their
You’re on a fascinating journey, George.
I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you’ll be so nice to me, that you’ll give
me so much respect.
Just that that tells everything I need to know about you as a human being with everything
You waste all your time and you’re so nice to me just as a fellow human being, man.
I have so much respect from so honored and the energy you give me by just even showing
I’ll carry that forward for a long time to come, George.
I love it.
Thank you so much for talking to me.
Now, thank you, Lex, for having me on the show.
You know, I’ve been looking to talk to you for a long time.
For me, talking to a guy like you, it’s it’s a great learning experience because I always
And it’s life is fascinating to me.
And all the experience that we have in life, you know, it’s something that can make us
And this experience for me just, you know, make me grow as as well.
Plus, we look pretty damn sharp today.
Man in black, my friend.
Man in black.
Thanks for listening to this conversation with George St. Pierre.
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And now let me leave you with some words from Miyamoto Musashi.
Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.