Home field advantage is an important factor in any sport, including mixed martial arts (MMA).
Just ask Nick Diaz, who didn't make the recent UFC 158 open media workout because he was tired from traveling, while his main event Canadian counterpart this weekend (March 16, 2012), Georges St. Pierre, had a quick stroll to the nearby Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
That's just the start of a long list of positives and negatives for both sides.
Indeed, there's nothing like competing in your own backyard with thousands of fans in attendance, supporting you every step of the way. It can be a huge moral booster to have the hometown faithful chanting your name, sometimes lifting a team -- or in the case of combat sports, a fighter -- to victory.
However, it doesn't necessarily always work out that way.
On the flip side, it can negatively affect the visiting opponent, who has to endure the non-stop boo birds, distracting chants and an in some instances, an occasional loogi from the hostile crowd.
When Diaz and St. Pierre collide tomorrow night for the latter's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title, they will be doing so in the passionate hometown of "GSP," Montreal, Quebec, Canada, giving the French-Canadian an obvious edge as far as crowd support goes.
But, will it benefit to St. Pierre once the Octagon door slams shut?
Former 170-pound kingpin Matt Hughes says it will, but, the amped up crowd, which will obviously be anti-Diaz, could benefit the against-all-odds, world-is-out-get-me slugger from Stockton, Calif., too.
Hughes explained his theory today's (March 15, 2013) UFC 158 weigh-in Q & A (watch the full video here):
"I think it's going to help Georges out, I think he likes to be the favorite. He's going to enjoy being in his hometown in front of his crowd. But, tell you what, Nicks the type of guy that I'm sure he likes to go into someone else's hometown and beating somebody up. So, him getting the boos, I don't think it's really going to affect him like it would somebody else. So, I think they are both going to be in their environment when it comes to Saturday night."
If the reception Diaz received at today's UFC 158 weigh-in is any indication, he is in for a night of non-stop boos come Saturday night. Who can blame them, with Diaz branding St. Pierre a "steroids cheat" and "bullying" the affable champion to provoke a title fight.
St. Pierre is undefeated (11-0) in Canada (7-0 in Montreal), and will look to add one more to his perfect hometown record, while finally ridding himself of the menacing shadow that is Diaz. Of course, Diaz would love nothing more than to upset the wolf ticket-buying locals by "beating up" its hometown hero on his own front door step.
And behind enemy lines.