I was coming from Toronto in a connection flight, and as soon as I landed in Vegas, all the people in the airport at the gate where I came in started screaming at me "GSP" and start to applaud. This was the first time something like that happened to me - I felt like I had a lot of support of my fellow Canadian fans. So I went out of the gate with my luggage and everybody applaud me and some people came for pictures and I shook hands, took picture, then I pass security and I headed to the hotel. It was amazing to see since the Primetime show how the sport is getting more popular. You know, every year the sport gets more popular, but this time it really took a big, big step because of that. I had a lot of pressure, and I had a hard time sleeping all week long, constantly thinking about the fight and all the people that having been helping me for this. And I didn't want to let nobody down and I wanted to perform as well as I am supposed to. For me it is very important because I always feel like I'm not alone into this and it's like a team work. So even though I am alone in the Octagon, all the work that we put all together it's not only by myself - it's all the people from France, Brazil, United States , Canada, Quebec, who came and flew in Montreal that helped me out for this one.
This time it was a little bit different - it was the best preparation ever because I brought two of my own cooks - Ross and Jennifer from Montreal. I know these people because they cook in my favorite restaurant , Cavalli, in Montreal so I brought them for a week to cook for me to help me out for cutting my weight down because I am doing a diet to cut the carbs and the sodium. I did the diet and their food was amazing! I am going to bring them all the time - it made a plus in my preparation for the fight; I have never had an easy weight cut as much as this. After the weigh-in, it was great - we had the dinner, all my friends who flew from Montreal were there. We went to eat at Panevino's restaurant in Las Vegas - we were about 20-30 people. After the dinner was finished, I say "bye" to everybody and I start to put myself in the fighting mode, which is like I put a circle around me and I don't let nobody from the outside getting in - only my training partners and my corner men. Later that night we eat at the hotel - my cook prepared a good pizza for me and I had a great night of sleep. I didn't sleep much, but I slept better than normally I do before a fight. I was nervous as hell - I have never been nervous like that for a fight. But I know the more I am nervous, the better I perform because my reflexes and my reaction time get much faster.
The day of the fight I was in the locker room and Dana White brought Wayne Gretzky's wife, and Wayne Gretzky's sons to meet me. It's amazing, because Wayne Gretzky's one of my childhood idol. Unfortunately he wasn't there, but I get to shake the hand of his wife and his sons.
I fought a great fight, I did I stick to the game plan - it was amazing. BJ Penn is built like a boxer, and we have been studying a lot of tape, a lot of his training footage - so I know that with clinching with him, he would have built up a lot of lactic acid in his shoulders and because of his physical type he has a hard time taking out the lactic acid to make it evacuating so it make his hand very heavy and very slow after that. So my strategy was to clinch him and to work a lot to the body and on the ground. I was hitting a lot with my elbow in the middle section all the time because of his very flexible thoracic cage, he has a very weak body so I stick to the game plan. Even though the body does not do much damage it make people really tired and it really pay off for that fight. On the ground he always use a move called the Hip Eyes when he put his foot on his opponents hips and he stood up - so I knew that as soon as he opened up his guard I was controlling his ankle, elevating his leg and standing up before he does. So that's why he would not be able to stand up from me. Also, to not let him use his rubber guard was very important for me to not let him control the over-hook, to not let him wrap my arm, all the time soon as wrap my arm, swim inside and get the better position and keep my body in a vertical position to avoid his rubber guard to not let him elevate his leg. I did very well, I work the body a lot, I clinch a lot in the first two round then after I really felt like I took control of the fight and I broke him mentally. It was a great fight - I had a lot of fun.
After the fight, we went to the after party - so many people it was crazy. I stayed in Vegas until the following Tuesday. We partied the other night, but still Vegas ? it's not like it used to be for me - it's getting pretty crazy. It's very crowded - everywhere I went, I couldn't move.
I went back in Montreal - Montreal is different - the sport is not as popular. I partied with my friends. I had a great, great time. I really need a vacation - I know Thiago Alves is next but right now I just try to not thinking about it.
I went to the Grammy's on Sunday - great experience - had a great time. People really took care of me. Right now I'm heading to Denver, going to help Nathan Marquardt for his upcoming fight. It's his last week of his training - he came to help me out and I will to do the same thing for him.
Next week I plan to go in England to see the UFC to support my friend and maybe stop by a friends as well to see some of my old friends, some of the guys who came to help me out with my training and just to have a good time also with them.
Thank you very much & I will talk to you guys soon.