Georges St-Pierre’s highly anticipated return to the octagon is only weeks away and few are more excited for the return of “GSP” than the man himself.
By the time St-Pierre steps in cage to do battle with Carlos Condit for the unified welterweight championship at UFC 154 on Nov. 17, it will have been 19-months since the French-Canadian last competed in mixed martial arts. With the longest layoff of his over 10-year career nearly behind him, St-Pierre is thrilled he will soon be back to doing what he knows best.
“A year and a half away from fighting, I’m very excited. I’m back stronger and better than ever.” St-Pierre said in a UFC 154 pre-fight interview with UFC.com.
“The hardest part about being out for so long is being inactive, to be unable to do what you like to do for a living.”
The recovery process has been a long one for the 30-year-old, but now that he is at 100 percent it’s time to get back to business.
The welterweight division has evolved quite a bit since St-Pierre last competed and the top dog in the 170-pound weight class during St-Pierre’s absence has been Condit, a man who was not even in the discussion for title contenders the last time St-Pierre fought.
Condit presents a very real threat to St-Pierre due to his combination of slick striking, knockout power, and dangerous submissions. The Montreal native knows what Condit brings to the table and while “The Natural Born Killer” may be the most threatening fighter St-Pierre has ever faced, “Rush” says he is not afraid of Condit in any capacity.
“The most dangerous thing that Condit has is capacity of adaptation – he can adapt to any opponent that he fights, that’s why he’s so good. Very skilled, but he’s also very smart.”
“I’m not afraid of Carlos Condit.”
It is clear St-Pierre has a lot of respect for both the mental and physical talents of his opponent. In fact, St-Pierre believes Condit is so wise that he will attempt to target his surgically reconstructed left knee.
While a thought like that lingering in the back of any fighters head could be viewed as worrisome, St-Pierre is actually encouraging Condit to try and attack his knee because it is as strong as its ever been.
“I hope Condit focuses on targeting my knee, it’s not a weak link anymore. There’s nothing that I can’t do that I was able to do (before the knee injury).”
St-Pierre has fought at the highest level of the sport for years now. He has competed in more big fights than anyone can count, but St-Pierre believes Nov. 17 at the Bell Centre in Montreal will mark the biggest test of his 24-fight career.
Even though St-Pierre has had to overcome a lot just to compete at UFC 154, he has even more to overcome in order to be successful on the night of the fight.
It may not be easy, but at the end of the day St-Pierre only has one goal: walk away from UFC 154 with the unified welterweight championship around his waist.
“This will be the biggest challenge of my whole career,” St-Pierre said. “I have to fight the toughest opponent I ever fought, I have to come back from a long layoff, a big inactive period of time.”
“I will leave with the belt, there’s no doubt in my mind.”