No fan of trash-talking, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has always said he does his talking in the cage.
But as he embarks on his new role as coach on Season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the mixed martial arts star from Montreal acknowledges that may be difficult in six weeks of filming with abrasive rival Josh Koscheck.
Producers of the reality TV show and the UFC love to create controversy to help build the weekly audience and spice up the final pay-per-view showdown between the two coaches that traditionally follows.
Look to Koscheck to prime that pump.
“I will stick with the attitude (of not trash-talking),” St-Pierre said Monday from Las Vegas where he is filming the show. “For sure it’s going to be really hard because obviously he’s going to be really much more in my face.
“But I have to make myself respected. I’m faithful to my brand. I don’t want to step outside of the line.”
St-Pierre (20-2) has also said in the past that he will lose a trash-talking war, because English is his second language.
So will he just turn the other cheek on the TV show, which premieres Sept. 15?
“We’ll see,” said St-Pierre who had a brief role as guest coach on Season 4. “It’s going to be a lot of drama.”
The coaches are already two days into the six-week shoot in Las Vegas. This season’s cast is made up of 155-pound lightweights, who are kept in a Vegas mansion with no contact with the outside world other than to train or fight.
The show starts with 28 athletes, who have to win a fight just to make it into the final cast.
The fighters duke it out until only two are left, with the winner earning a UFC contract. Other cast members often also advance, but without the prestige of being “The Ultimate Fighter” winner.
St-Pierre expects to meet Koscheck late this year. If the show follows the timing of previous seasons, a December date would be likely.
Koscheck (17-4 as a pro) has won 13 of 17 UFC fights since graduating from TUF’s Season 1. In the process, he has become one of the UFC’s biggest bad guys, needling opponents and irritating fans along the way.
The former NCAA star wrestler admits he is playing the villain.
“I sit down, I brainstorm all the time about what do I have to say, what have I got to do to make myself stand out from everybody else? So everybody knows the name Josh Koscheck,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press last month.
St-Pierre beat Koscheck when the two met in a non-title fight at UFC 74 in August 2007. But after beating Paul (Semtex) Daley last time out in a battle of top contenders, he gets another chance at the Canadian.