With all of the criticism Georges St-Pierre has gotten the past few years for his conservative style of fighting, sometimes people overlook just how much the dominant UFC welterweight kingpin purveys the blueprint of how a champion should act both inside and outside of the Octagon.
In a recent interview he did for UFC.com, St-Pierre said that because he hasn’t been active lately due to a pair of knee injuries, he doesn’t consider himself to be the UFC welterweight title holder anymore and that he will need to beat the winner of the interim title bout between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit Saturday night to once again become the champ.
“The way I see it, I am not the champion anymore on Saturday night. I have not fought since April, against my will, but I understand the champion must fight. You have to put the belt on the line in order to call yourself champion, the best in the world. Right now I am not the best in the world, I am injured. The winner of this fight on Saturday will be more than just the new number one contender, but he won’t be the new champion either,” St-Pierre explains. “The winner of this fight will have to beat me to become the true world champion and I will have to beat the winner of this fight in order to call myself the best in the world again.I like the format where the winner of this fight will have to fight me and I have to fight the winner to truly become the UFC champion. That is what the UFC is about,that is competition. This is fair to all of us, we have to beat each other to be the undisputed champion.”
“Rush” also reiterated his statement that he’s cheering for Diaz to win because he wants to pay the former Strikeforce champion back for a series of insults he’s slung at him the past few months.
“I respect Carlos Condit, but I want Diaz to win. It will be a weird feeling, sitting at the Mandalay Bay wanting Nick Diaz to win. I want this fight with Diaz so badly, as badly as I wanted the title shot when I got down on my knees. I am not personal friends with [Carlos], but I know him a little and he’s a great person. I know a lot of people who know him well because we train with the same people, but I have only spoken with him a few times. He is a true mixed martial artist. I feel bad, it is weird that I want him to lose, but I have never wanted to fight anyone as much as I want to fight Diaz,” he says. “I have never asked Dana White for anything, but I did ask to fight Nick Diaz. I was [crushed] when I had to pull out of this weekend’s fight hurt, but I am determined to get back to the Octagon as soon as possible to fight this guy. He needs to hold up his part and beat Carlos Condit on Saturday to make this fight happen.I am very nervous that Carlos Condit will win on Saturday night, and that I won’t be able to fight Nick Diaz this summer. Carlos Condit is a very good fighter, he can strike, he is aggressive and he has submissions. He has been very impressive and is the type of fighter who gets better and better the more confident he gets.”
With Diaz, St-Pierre says, he has to expect the unexpected, like a fight in a hotel lobby, which he says he’s prepared for since Nick has been known to start trouble with opponents in the past. He points out that he relishes the opportunity to teach the Stockton native some respect and how to carry himself as a fighter, he’s prepared to
“I don’t truly hate him as a person. I don’t know that he is a bad guy, but I hate what he brings to the sport with the disrespect and the unprofessional things he says and does. It is sort of a professional hatred. He has been nothing but disrespectful and arrogant towards me. During UFC 137 [week] I felt like I had to walk around Las Vegas with my fists ready [to punch Diaz] because every time I came across him he wanted to fight there and then. Every time the elevator opened [in the hotel] I needed to be ready to fight in case he stepped in. I was on edge all week. This guy is crazy. I am used to hearing [smack] talk from opponents, Matt Serra did it, Dan Hardy did it, and Josh Koscheck did it, but with Diaz he has taken it to another level. He and his coach [Cesar Gracie] have called me a coward and tried to disrespect my accomplishments. All that has done though is make me determined to beat him up. He will bring out the best in me, I will be 100 percent focused, like a bomb-expert defusing a time-bomb. When my back is against the wall and I have no choice but to win, when I cannot lose to this person under any cost, that is when I am most dangerous. Also, as champion, I believe Diaz deserves the fight for the title. Style-wise, he is a very tough match for me and the fans deserve to see the fight they really want to see.”
As far as his rehab from recent knee surgery, St-Pierre says he is progressing well, but fell short of giving a projected date for his return.
“I am ahead of schedule. I can already train and even kick but I am remaining calm and not rushing. I won’t train properly until July, it is a matter of discipline not to force my knee to go harder than it can heal. No athlete wants to sit on the sidelines, especially when you are the champion and you must watch two others fight for the interim championship belt,” he says. “I will watch on Saturday and go home very motivated to rehab on Monday morning but I must be disciplined and I must continue to rehab at the pace I am doing.”