Georges St-Pierre has the look of a stone-faced killer on his way to the Octagon, but deep down, he feels every emotion of a human being preparing to step into a cage fight.
There's always the emotion of fear and uncertainty.
It's a scary thought knowing a person has trained for an extended period of time with the sole purpose of hurting you. Along with that, there is also the pressure to win and put on a good performance.
Every fight has Super Bowl-like pressure without teammates to depend on. During a roundtable interview with Jay Glazer on FUEL TV, St-Pierre wasn't ashamed to admit he is "scared as hell" before every fight.
I'm the kind of guy that I'm not afraid to admit that I'm afraid when I go fight... Even though I'm scared and I'm afraid to fail, when I walk to the Octagon, I look like I'm, it's impossible for me to fail and I look very confident, like I'm going to kick ass for sure. But the truth is, deep down inside, I'm scared as hell.
St-Pierre is the reigning UFC welterweight champion and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in MMA. He is constantly competing against the best fighters in the world.
As a champion and MMA superstar, St-Pierre faces tremendous pressure every time he steps foot in the Octagon.
How does he keep it from consuming him?
St-Pierre doesn't run from his emotions. He treats it all as a natural process, but instead of lingering on the fears and uncertainties, he listens to his body. The waiting process and long walk to the ring or cage can be the most nerve-racking part of being a fighter.
Heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson was one of the most feared boxers in the history of the sport. He has admitted many times to being terrified before every fight, but the fear would always dissipate as he got closer to the ring.
St-Pierre undergoes a similar process:
As I'm acting, my mind starts changing and listens to my body. This is a theory called James-Lange theory, and for me, it works very well because I get very anxious before I fight. ...That's my trick. When I walk, I'm scared and that's how I feel, but as I'm walking, the closer I get the more confident I get.