Originally Posted by NateR
Well, he only had 7 weeks to prepare for Thiago Alves, which didn't give him a lot of time to pack on too much muscle. That's probably why he looks so much leaner. Also, he did more weightlifting for strength and power back then, which he's started back up again for this upcoming fight.
Speaking of the 7 weeks Matt had to prepare, I've noticed an interesting statistic. Every fight Matt has lost he has had less than 2 months to prepare for:
10/17/98: Extreme Challenge 21 - Matt's loss to Dennis Hallman was his third fight in one night.
12/16/2000: UFC 29 - Matt fought Dennis Hallman only 33 days after fighting in Rings Australia
02/08/2001: Shidokan Jitsu-Warriors War 1 - Matt fought Jose Landi-Jons only 7 weeks later
01/31/04: UFC 46 - Matt fought BJ Penn 2 months and 9 days after fighting Frank Trigg on November 21st (this one is slightly over 2 months, but that time period includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years)
11/18/06: UFC 65 - Matt fought GSP only 7 weeks and 2 days after a tough fight against BJ Penn
12/29/07: UFC 79 - after Matt Serra dropped out of the fight, the day after Thanksgiving, Matt accepted a third fight with GSP with barely over a month's notice.
06/07/08: UFC 85 - Matt took the fight with Thiago Alves with only 7 weeks notice
That is very
I knew he stepped up when Chuck got hurt, but didn't realize how little time he actually had to train for Alves or some of the other fights you mentioned. Makes me respect/admire Matt that much more.
I've admired how Matt always steps up when Dana has called in a pinch, but I don't feel that Dana has necessarily had Matt's best interests in mind those times. I almost wish Matt had said no at least two of those times, but I know he wouldn't be the man he is if he had.
One of the things that still chaps me about GSP is when he came into the ring after Matt fought/beat Penn at UFC 63 and said what he said. I know he went back and apologized, but that still irkes me especially since, and correct me if I'm wrong, GSP was originally supposed to be fighting in that one. He tried to say it was about lack of communication; I say "lack of manners"!