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GSP wants to emulate Beckham, tips Hardy for UFC gold

ESPN staff
June 28, 2012 « Southampton's £6m Butland bid snubbed | Chartbeat test »
Georges St-Pierre previously beat Dan Hardy via unanimous decision © UFC
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Georges St-Pierre has stated his intention to become the David Beckham of mixed martial arts, as well as backing Dan Hardy to become a UFC champion one day.

St-Pierre is currently on the road to recovery after major knee surgery, and he hopes to return to action in November of this year. If all goes according to plan, he will fight interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit to determine the best 170-pounder in the world.

Widely recognised as the No. 2 pound-for-pounder in the sport - behind Anderson Silva - for several years now, St-Pierre is one of the most popular fighters in MMA. Hugely marketable, GSP's image is squeaky clean, and he insists he wants to attract new fans, just as Beckham does in MLS.

"My goal one day is to be the David Beckham of MMA but I still have a lot to do to reach that point," St-Pierre said in the Sun. "Mr Beckham is a great role model and I aspire to do the same."

At his peak, St-Pierre is untouchable at 170lbs, suffering his last loss in 2007. Along the way he denied England's Dan Hardy UFC gold in a title showdown, after which Hardy has struggled to return to top form.

Defeat sparked a run of four straight losses, finally halted by a knockout win over Duane Ludwig in his last outing. Hardy now heads for Nottingham to meet Amir Sadollah, and St-Pierre believes the Brit can mount another title charge.

"Dan can come back and be a champion in the future. He has been underrated by a lot of guys," St-Pierre said.

"He's better than what his last few fights have shown. Maybe he lost confidence but he came back very strong in his last fight. Dwayne Ludwig is a very scary guy to fight and he knocked him out standing up in a striking fight.

"I know how dangerous Dan is because I've fought with him and I've trained with him and he is very, very good."

Tickets for UFC: Nottingham are available now from www.capitalfmarena.com and www.ufc.com.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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