It has been one year, six months, and 15 days since Georges St. Pierre (GSP) last stepped into the octagon for a UFC bout—and on Nov. 17 the stakes couldn’t be higher for the undisputed Welterweight Champion of the world.
St. Pierre will fight Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit in the main event of UFC 154 on Saturday. The 31-year-old Québec native tore his right ACL in training last Dec., requiring reconstructive surgery and lengthy rehabilitation of the knee.
The injury forced GSP to cancel his bout in Feb. for UFC 143 with then number one contender, Nick Diaz. Condit replaced St. Pierre and defeated Diaz by unanimous decision, earning the Interim Welterweight Championship title.
St. Pierre told the Montreal Gazette earlier this month that although his injury was a frustrating setback, he also recognized the mishap as a blessing in disguise.
“This injury was a negative thing in the beginning but it became a positive thing at the end,” St. Pierre says. “Because it allowed me to correct my training and make it better and improve it. I had the mentality that more is better, but I realize that’s wrong. Smarter is always better.”
St. Pierre will defend the title in his home province at Montréal’s Bell Centre. He is undefeated in nine professional fights on Canadian soil, including his TKO versus Matt Serra in 2008 to retake the welterweight belt. He has since successfully defended it in Montréal and Toronto against Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields.
UFC 154 features other Canadian fighters including Nick “The Promise” Ring and Mark “The Machine” Hominik who also highlight the main card. Five other Canadians battle in the preliminary fights, including a maple leaf showdown between London, Ontario’s Sam Stout and John Makdessi of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
UFC President Dana White is taking advantage of St. Pierre’s success and stardom in Canada, as fights taking place in his home country generate substantial revenue. GSP’s last fight against Shields took place in Toronto’s Rogers Arena, reaching a sell-out with 55 thousand in attendance and garnering over $10 million in sales.
According to <www.MMAPayout.com> Blue Book, that fight and UFC 124 against Koscheck attracted a pay-per-view audience of 800 thousand. Saturday’s fight could likely attract an excess of a million viewers—on Shaw Direct that’s $60.59 for high definition.
Students can avoid the pricey PPV fee by watching UFC 154 at a pub or restaurant—The Jinglepot Pub, The Foundry, and Boston Pizza confirmed they will show St. Pierre’s comeback fight.