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Georges St. Pierre Unfazed by Dan Hardy-Matt Serra Training Partnership

Heading into his UFC 111 welterweight title showdown, champion Georges St. Pierre finds himself in a similar position as he was in April 2007, an overwhelming favorite.

On that day, however, St. Pierre became the victim of MMA's Buster Douglas moment, as he was knocked out by huge underdog Matt Serra. So with British challenger Dan Hardy facing mountainous odds (St. Pierre's as much as an 8:1 favorite) in their upcoming March 27 bout, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Hardy has recruited Serra into his camp.

Hardy arrived early to the east coast to settle in and begin final preparations for their Newark, N.J. bout, and in the days since, has been training with Serra. But the champ says it's not a cause for concern.

"I'm not really surprised," St. Pierre said. "I heard he was coming to New Jersey, and I think it makes sense for him. I don't think it makes any difference for me. I don't focus on what Dan Hardy does; I focus on what I do."

Hardy, who is riding a seven-fight win streak, said the pairing was a natural. He said he put out feelers to Serra, and the Long Islander eagerly opened his gym to him.

What made the partnership surprising to some is that St. Pierre spent a small portion of his UFC 111 training camp with Renzo Gracie, and Serra received his jiu-jitsu black belt under Gracie. Since St. Pierre was training with Renzo Gracie, it would seem awkward to have Hardy preparing with Gracie's protege, but he says that hasn't been the case.

"He was very welcoming," Hardy said. "I'm spending a lot of time working with him and I'm learning a hell of a lot."

St. Pierre, instead of looking at it as tactical move on Hardy's part, views it as a chance to address a shortcoming in his past. Although he decisively beat Serra in their UFC 83 rematch, he still has to answer questions regarding his mental approach and the possibility of again overlooking a heavy underdog challenger.

"For me I'm fighting the most dangerous guy I ever fought in my career," he said. "It's a chance for me to redeem myself where I failed last time in the same situation. I've never been so pumped for a fight. The loss I had against Serra, it's not really a loss against Serra because I fought him again and beat him. It was a loss against the situation. I'm in the same situation now, and I look at it like a redemption. It's a great chance to redeem myself, because I'm in a little bit of the same situation as I was when I fought Serra for the first time."

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