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Garry Tonon says there is a ‘good chance’ Georges St-Pierre submits Michael Bisping at UFC 217

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Garry Tonon believes Georges St-Pierre can become the second man to submit Michael Bisping.

The grappling standout and jiu-jitsu black belt has been helping St-Pierre get ready for his return to MMA at Saturday’s UFC 217 in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. St-Pierre returns to the Octagon after a four-year hiatus from the sport to challenge the current middleweight champ in the headlining slot of the card.

Not only does Tonon believe that St-Pierre can become one of the few people to hold UFC titles in two different weight classes, but also become one of the very few to get Bisping to tap-out.

“There’s definitely a good chance that you see GSP submit Bisping, for sure,” Tonon told MMA Fighting. “I don’t want to lead you into our plans and our strategies for the fight, I can’t give those details away, but is he capable of submitting Bisping? Absolutely. I’ll put it this way he’s far more capable of submitting Bisping than Bisping submitting Georges.”

Tonon, who is getting ready to begin his journey in MMA, has been helping St-Pierre out with his grappling for quite some time. The 25-year-old recalls a time where he had to juggle college exams and helping arguably the greatest welterweight champ in UFC history prepare for his fights.

“It started at the Nick Diaz fight (UFC 158 back in 2013),” Tonon said. “He was coming to Renzo’s years before that fight and I would intermediately meet him in training and stuff, but basically working with John (Danaher).

“John believed that I could be a healthy component to his camps and he asked me if I could travel and I was able to travel at the time. During the Nick Diaz camp, it was very stressful because I was still in school at the time – still in college – so I was asking my professors to hold back tests and stuff, and let me reschedule them, and all kinds of crazy stuff while I was flying out and driving out here (Montreal, Canada) once a week to train with him. I would drive or fly back, so it was stressful. I wasn’t sleeping a lot (laughs) but it was worth the experience.

“You know, I try to be as good as I can to Georges and as dedicated as I can to hopefully, you know, I’ve been training with him in these camps and it has obviously helped me, but hopefully in the future he’s willing to help me out on my MMA career and teach me some things he knows and help me a lot and give me some good advice.”

Fighting one of the best grapplers in MMA, it’s clear why St-Pierre wanted to bring guys like Danaher and Tonon into his camp for Diaz. However, now fighting Bisping – a fighter not really known for his grappling but for his standup game – many may wonder what Tonon and Danaher’s role could be in this training camp.

“Georges is of the mentality, as well as John, that even if your opponent is not necessarily the best striker, the best grappler, or the best whatever the case may be, that these are the kind of guys that you want to bring in to challenge you in your camp, it just raises your level, you know,” Tonon explained. “One of the things that people strongly underestimate is like visualization and its role in improvement in any particular sport.

“Just being around people that are very good at what they do and watching them do what they do, feeling the way they move, I believe it raises your level. Even though he (Bisping) may not be the greatest grappler in the world, Georges may develop the grappling skills and abilities to use in the fight against Bisping. And he does that with everything, whether it’s boxing, kick boxing, he brings in the best guys in the world to challenge him during his camps and I think it pays dividends.

“He told me something interesting once and it stuck with me and I try to carry it through in my jiu-jitsu career, even though I don’t make as much money. He’d rather spend money to win a fight, than make money losing a fight. Even when he didn’t have the money, he would always try to find a way to pay to get the best guys around him for his training camps, he invested in himself.”

Tonon says St-Pierre “definitely” feels bigger in training since he’s now getting ready for an 185-pound contest rather than a usual welterweight bout fans are used to seeing St-Pierre compete in. Tonon also believes St-Pierre is as dangerous as he’s ever been, and shuts down any of the criticism saying St-Pierre is past his prime.

“It’s fist fight,” Tonon explained. “It’s something this guy has done for his entire life. Like sure, taking a couple of years off competition is always going to make you a little rusty in the competitive sense, but then again, this is what he’s done his whole life. It’s not like he’s branching into something new.

“The only new part about this is the opponent and the new weight class. So whether or not he’s going to be different when he comes back? I think of course he’ll be different. He’s just as tough to deal with in training as he ever was for any of the other fights, if not tougher. Over the years, I believe he’s developed his grappling skills even better than for the Nick Diaz fight. It’s been exciting seeing his progression because he only gets to work with us for a limited amount of time and the amount of improvement that he makes in the time he gets to grapple with us, it’s pretty exciting to see. I don’t know how it would be if he got to see us every single day, that would be scary. I think he could be one of the greatest grapplers of all time if he wanted to.”

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