Georges St. 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 go.
“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).