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GSP's Trainer Talks UFC 129 Title Fight: 'One Guy Is Going to Break'

When it comes to the big fights, it helps to have been there before. That's true not only in the cage, but also in the gym. As UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Jake Shields prepare to face off at UFC 129 on April 30, they have to balance their training with seemingly endless media responsibilities and the ubiquitous presence of the UFC Primetime cameras in their gyms.

It might not sound like much of a factor in fight preparation, but according to St. Pierre's trainer, Firas Zahabi, experience in the media spotlight counts for a lot in a UFC title fight.

"I can tell you, the first time we had Primetime around it was a lot harder. It was just more stress," Zahabi told MMA Fighting. "Now, it's the third time we've had them around, and we've had the Countdown so many times, just various other camera crews in our gym so many times, we're accustomed to it. Now it doesn't bother our training camp at all."

Shields, however, isn't so used to the pre-fight whirlwind. While he was a Strikeforce and EliteXC champion before signing with the UFC, he told us recently that he was at least a little surprised by how "crazy" things were getting in the lead up to this fight.

"That's the whole thing, you have to know that the most important thing is still the fight," Zahabi said. "I wish we knew back then what we know now. The only important thing right now is Jake Shields. The other stuff, it isn't going to be a factor for us. Maybe in the early stages of your career, having people supporting you gives you more motivation and makes you put more energy into your career, but these are things that don't affect our team anymore."

Once the two finally step in the cage together, Zahabi said, that's when the pressure will really get dialed up. Both fighters like to break opponents down with a relentless attack, but in a contest between two men with the same approach, eventually something has to give.

"Georges is a pressure fighter and so is Jake Shields. The first guy, in my opinion, to show signs of wear from the pressure is going to lose. It remains to be seen who that's going to be."

Lately GSP's title defenses have been contests where his opponents were almost immediately put on the defensive and kept there. But in Shields he faces a fighter who will bring the fight to him. Then it's just a matter of who can stay on the attack, Zahabi said.

"Georges and Jake Shields both like to get in your face and keep the pressure on. That's what's going to happen, but there's going to be one guy on the offense and one on defense. It might seesaw back and forth for a while, but one guy is going to break eventually and end up spending more time on defense. That's the first sign of somebody breaking. You're going to know what's going to happen after that."

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