Pierre’s camp believes he’ll be fully recovered from tearing
his ACL when he climbs into the Octagon Nov. 17 against Carlos
Condit, but a little more time would have been preferred.
“It was tough,” trainer Firas Zahabi told the
Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show. “I would have preferred,
obviously, if he could have waited a little longer. I think it
would have been the best, more ideal, but Georges really wanted to
fight. The fans wanted to see him fight. The fight’s coming to
Montreal. I told Georges, ‘Let’s do one last sparring. Let’s see
where you’re at in sparring.’ And he did great. He went all his
rounds. He went with every UFC fighter. He looked fantastic, and we
said, ‘Look, you’re ready. Let’s do it.’”
The UFC welterweight champion injured his ACL in December while
training for a scheduled title defense against Condit. Condit went
on to defeat Nick Diaz and
claim the interim welterweight title. Meanwhile St. Pierre has been
on the road to recovery.
“The only reason I said I would have liked to wait longer is
because I wouldn’t want to rush the healing process, not that we
did, but we really did it right on the deadline,” Zahabi said.
“They said, ‘OK, you’ll be ready for this kind of training then,’
and we really hit it right away on that date, as soon as he got
verified and all that.”
St. Pierre received medical clearance in late August. His bout
against Condit will headline UFC
154 at the Bell Centre in Montreal -- GSP’s hometown.
“He’s never been sidelined this long, and it was eating away at
him,” Zahabi said. “He really wanted to start training again. He
really wanted to fight again. All he would talk to me about is what
he wants to do next in his next training camp, what he wants to do
in his next fight. … He was just foaming at the mouth for training.
Once we started training, of course we had to go slow and nice and
easy, but he was back in his good mood and he was doing what he
loves again. I think he really realized how much he loves being a
professional fighter and how much he loves training and having this
lifestyle because it was briefly taken away from him.”
Early on in his recovery, St. Pierre was understandably favoring
his knee. That’s not the case anymore, though. A recent training
session convinced Zahabi that the champion’s knee is ready to
“It was very intense training,” Zahabi said. “He did five rounds.
He’s completely healed. He’s completely healed or he would have got
hurt yesterday. I’m looking forward to his next fight. I really
think he’s going to do well. Of course there’s always that mental
aspect. You haven’t been in there in so long. You kind of lost a
beat, but Georges has been fighting since such a young age. ... He
understands competition. He’s dealt with those butterflies a lot of
times from a very young age. I’m confident that it’s really
ingrained, hardwired into his mind. I don’t think it’s going to be
a problem for him.”
Listen to the
full interview (beginning at 1:43).