Credits: STUART DRYDEN/QMI AGENCY
So when Nick Ring got the chance to train with Georges St-Pierre before the UFC welterweight champion fought Josh Koscheck at UFC 124 in Montreal in December 2010, the Calgary product was soaking up the knowledge.
But it wasn't a wrestling tip or fight advice that Ring walked away with. It was a way to deal with hometown distractions.
He learned how to check into a hotel.
"Georges had a hotel room for the week leading up to the fight," Ring recalled. "Even though he lives in Montreal and it's his home, to get into his mental space, he had a hotel room. I thought it was a good idea at the time, and I'm following the same path."
Ring will enjoy some room service, the tiny bars of soap and maybe a pay-per-view movie or two. Then, he'll walk out into the city he's grown up in, ready to fight.
And the results are apparently hard to argue with.
"I saw (St-Pierre's) fight with Josh, and he completely destroyed him," Ring said. "I don't think it's a bad example to follow. Hopefully, it works out for me just as well as it did for him."
Ring (12-1, 2 KOs) will step into the octagon at UFC 149 at the Saddledome on Saturday night with a lot on the line.
It's a rematch with Court McGee (13-2, 2 KOs) from his days on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
But it's much more. It's a shot at redemption.
After beating McGee via majority decision, Ring was forced to withdraw from the show and undergo a third ACL reconstruction on his left knee.
McGee went on to win after being reinstated.
"For me, it was a very sad moment," Ring said. "It was a hard decision to make. I did the right thing. Court went on to win the whole show. I'm happy for him, but at the same time, there's a part of me that thinks I could have won the show.
"Unofficially, there's a lot riding on this. The stakes are high. Who is the real Ultimate Fighter? This feels like a second chance."
And it's a second chance for the middleweight in front of friends and family.
"Calgary is my home. I'm very excited to be fighting here," Ring said. "This is the biggest fight of my career.
"I believe if I win this fight - and win it convincingly - it will be a big step in my career."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder almost didn't get to this point after blowing out his ACL for a second time and hearing the doctor tell him he'd never fight again.
For his third surgery, he went to renowned surgeon Dr. Laurie Hiemstra, who works on the notoriously bad knees of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in Banff.
Now, Ring feels as good as new.
"After my second ACL surgery, my knee was not the same, and I absolutely had to change many parts of my game," the 33-year-old said. "If I threw kicks and stuff, I had to be very careful of how I placed my foot. And when I was grappling with people, I would have to consciously keep the leg away from getting attacked.
"(The doctor) was telling me I had to retire, and I just didn't want to believe my career was going to be over," Ring continued. "I'm glad that I ignored his advice.
"Sometimes in life, you've just got to follow your own instincts and do what you feel is right."
Come Saturday, it'll feel right fighting at home - even if he has to check out first.