The triumphant return of Georges St-Pierre


Formerly published in The Other Press. Nov. 27 2012

By Elliot Chan, Contributor

Canadian UFC fans all across the country were holding their breath as Georges St-Pierre returned to the octagon after a 19-month absence. After tearing his ACL while training for a welterweight title defense against Nick Diaz in UFC 143, GSP began his long road to recovery that involved surgery.

On November 17, St-Pierre and interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit headlined UFC 154. Condit replaced GSP in the fight against Diaz and took the unanimous decision. Condit had been waiting patiently for months for GSP to recover and at the Bell Centre in front of a packed house in Montreal, he finally had a chance to take home the undisputed title.

“Somebody asked me in the locker-room, ‘How’s Georges looking?’” said St-Pierre’s striking coach Phil Nurse prior to the event, “you know what? The last time I saw him like this is when he flattened Matt Serra at the same arena.”

Without missing a beat and appearing in full athletic form, St-Pierre took the valiant contender to five rounds, dictating the fight with a formidable ground game and regaining the title in unanimous fashion. Condit was only able to defend against St-Pierre’s take downs one in eight attempts.

“Obviously that’s not where I wanted to be, I didn’t want to be under Georges taking elbows,” said the challenger after the fight. An early strike to the temple caused Condit to bleed profusely late in the first round, when St-Pierre effortlessly got through his guard. However, despite looking like a horror movie victim, Condit did not back down. In the third round, he snuck in a high kick after a series of jabs. The left leg struck St-Pierre in the head and knocked the welterweight champion down to the mats. He would have lost the title then and there, had it not been for his flexibility and strength. “I thought I had him there,” said Condit.

But St-Pierre had spent many hours honing his ju-jitsu just for that situation. Eventually, the champion’s wrestling over matched Condit’s and he managed to get back to his feet with only visible damage to his face. But it was St-Pierre who landed the majority of significant strikes 71–36.

“I’m sure he feels like he got hit by a bus right now. I’m not even going to talk to him about it for a couple of weeks,” commented Dana White, President of UFC, when asked about the potential super fight with GSP against middle weight champion Anderson Silva. But he adds, “I think we can get it done.”

For years now, the debate has been raging on about who is in fact the best pound for pound fighter. Most loyal GSP fans will not change their mind, but Silva has yet to be challenged in his own weight class the way St-Pierre had with Condit. Although I am certain White could make the event happen, I don’t believe the match should. As skilled as St-Pierre is at the moment, a challenger like Silva may be too overwhelming, especially after an injury. I suggest that instead Silva should raise his weight to 186 lb and face light heavy weight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.

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