New York Fight

July 9, 2008 NYC’s Phil Nurse – Is He George St. Pierre’s Secret Weapon?

Filed under: Mixed Martial Arts — Tags: , , — nyfight @ 2:00 am

Interesting interview with Muay Thai coach Kru Phil Nurse by’s John Moody regarding George St. Pierre; welterweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Check out this great website, for more info.

TSF: Explain how you were first connected with George St. Pierre.

Phil Nurse: Another student brought him down here when he was training at Renzo Gracie’s. He (George) heard about this guy called Phil Nurse but he didn’t’ know how to get to me. This guy called me and said can you train my friend, he is going to be the next UFC world champion. This was three years ago. This was the second fight with Matt Hughes. I was not in tune with any of that at that time. I said I am solid booked up, but I can fit him in for 45 minutes. He came in and we started moving around and the biggest thing was … we end up sparring … moving around and for someone of his caliber …not once did he test me to see if I am worthy enough of training him.

TSF: What do you mean “test me” “worthy enough of training him?”

Phil Nurse: In martial arts they (fighters) test you. Are you worthy enough for training me – to see how good you are. In different ways … they will give a hard punch to see how you deal with it. Then they say he is good enough to train me. Not once did he test me. That gave me the utmost respect for him. Made me like – “I love this guy.”

TSF: Then it was “on” so to speak… right?

Phil Nurse: As soon as he finished that first day he said I want to train every day. He was here for like five days.

TSF: It is no secret that GSP is a natural athlete. How quick did he pick up your style of Muay Thai?

Phil Nurse:
I knew it straight away from that first 45 minutes. In that week when he was here I showed him some things. I am very tricky in my sparring. I am a chess fighter. I am not a slug fighter. I am always playing the chess game. Making you do certain things to get certain things – so that is my kind of fight game.

TSF: How do you deal with instructing MMA fighters in Muay Thai opposed to fighters just specializing in Muay Thai – do you have to change your methodology?

Phil Nurse: Standup in Thai is a very tall kind of fight which you can’t do in MMA. But the same tricks I use in Thai standing tall I will adjust George to a shorter height, more crouch. He was in here sparring with some of my guys and the tricks I showed him – he was nailing them with em … in only four/five days, he was pulling it off. I was like (to the other guys) ‘I showed him that yesterday.

TSF: Take me back to your work with GSP before the second fight Vs. Matt Hughes because this is when you really started to impact George’s style.

Phil Nurse:
The second Hughes fight – I was training with him about a month before that as far as Muay Thai and the head game. He took it in like a sponge. I can tell specifically the things we worked on for that fight. I just worked on certain things; like if you want guy to think you are going to kick him in the leg … look at leg but kick high. If a guy is blocking high – kick his other leg out. If you want to superman – punch fake front kick first then throw the punch. He put it all in his own world and did him.

And he ended it with a kick to the head. You must have been on cloud nine?

Phil Nurse: If you get a fighter to pull of one thing is hard – he pulled off four or five things, and he finished him off with one of them. I was on top of world like a kid with a new toy.

TSF: Then you joined in the celebration in the ring … how cool was that?

Phil Nurse: I was in the audience. He won the fight and he pulled me out of the audience into the octagon. The internet blew up … They were like who was the black guy. Nobody knew who I was.

TSF: Next was Matt Serra-1 and everybody in the world thought GSP would cruise through him. Can you take us into the post fight locker room after the stunning knockout loss?

Phil Nurse: He was apologizing to everybody. He (George) was mad at himself. Saying “Oh Phil I am sorry. I lost, I can’t beleive it, my first title defense.” He was saying “this is my worst nightmare.” After the fight I said George “that is the best thing that could have happened.” You are not going to understand that now. For the age I am at I can say that. I don’t know if he heard it.

TSF: Then in Serra-2 GSP took the fight right in Matt’s comfort area on the ground. It seemed like George was working a very high pace.

Phil Nurse: The plan was … If you see any opportunity take him down and put him in his comfort zone. After that – when in his comfort zone you will put so much pressure on him it won’t be his comfort zone anymore. It will be mixed signals. Serra will think “I should be relaxed here I am in my zone now I am getting so much pressure thrown in.”

TSF: Big picture now – how do you see your role in training a MMA fighter that is not just concerned with his Thai but has so many other disciplines to manage?

Phil Nurse: The way I fought my standup as a Thai fighter I think is perfect for these guys if they can adapt it right. It’s not a big change for me – it is refreshing to have that one little part. I am the opening. I am the one that gets you in – this is how you get on floor, this how you take his head off, this is how you going to hit him with knee.

TSF: While I think I know your answer – where do you fall on the discussion over whether a fighter should start as a ground specialist and learn stand up or start with stand-up skills and then learn the ground game. Your thoughts.

Phil Nurse: I would say that a stand-up guy gets better in MMA than a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guy that goes into standup. You usually see a good standup guy get better with BJJ. The ground guys seem to struggle with the standup. I am sure there will be more successful standup guys than BJJ guys.

TSF: Chuck Liddell seems to never have to deal with the ground game though every opponent would like to take him there.

Phil Nurse: Chuck doesn’t go down. He has his defense and that’s it. He probably works on a handful of moves on the floor if he needs em and how to get up. You got to knock him out or you got to run after him and he beats you up.

TSF: You must be a hot commodity. Your phone has to be ringing. Who else are you training?

Phil Nurse:
It started with GSP then moved on to Rashad Evans. A couple people have called me like big fighters. But I have a big business here at The Wat. 5000 sq feet to run.

TSF: Phil thanks so much for taking time with Finally, tell us a little about The Wat.

Phil Nurse: When I opened I wanted it to be 100% Muay Thai and anything in here is around Muay Thai. I have boxing here which enhances a Muay Thai guy, have yoga, stretching classes. With George St. Pierre I have world class-fighters who train here and having those guys around people are like “wow.” But if you walk in there now there is a lady that is pregnant training.



  1. Very informative. Thank you.

    Comment by Greg — July 22, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

  2. The Wat is great!!

    Comment by Alicia — October 30, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  3. […] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by devijvers on 2008-11-23 NYC’s Phil Nurse – Is He George St. Pierre’s … […]

    Pingback by Bookmarks about Nyc — December 31, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: