Georges St. Pierre is finally coming back. The Canadian superstar has been sidelined by injury that has kept him away from the Octagon for far too long, and he now looks to reestablish himself at the top of the heap at Welterweight.
While he is the current champion, in the wake of his inactivity, Carlos Condit has attained the interim Welterweight title. Other contenders have shifted and changed ranks, but the belts must be unified into one undisputed belt. On a larger scale though, GSP has dropped a little in rankings.
This isn’t due to people questioning his ‘finishing’ ability or his style of fighting, but simply because he hasn’t been in the scene. Due to the layoff, it has given time for guys like Anderson Silva and Jon Jones to keep doing what they do best, and advance themselves forward. This layoff has produced some ranking lists to put Jones at No. 2 in P4P; the spot where GSP has resided for years.
This fight is one of, if not the most, important moments of GSP’s career. Not just because his title is on the line, but because it is an opportunity to make a statement about himself, his injury, and his career so far, and looking forward.
GSP’s knee injury is a common one in sports, but one that people understand can make or break an athlete. Some argue that an athlete is never the same after such an injury, and for a talent like GSP, that is a discouraging thought. Despite if you have love or hate for GSP, his abilities inside of a cage are impressive. Recovering from this injury may shape the course of his career henceforth.
GSP has widely been criticized in his fights for not looking to finish fights and using his wrestling to draw out the clock. On paper, this is hard to argue, since out of his last six title defenses, all but one went to a full five-round decision—and the one that didn’t went a full four rounds before his opponents corner threw in the towel.
GSP has taken this criticism into account and has embraced it. He wants to be more opportunistic when it comes to finishing fights, and this fight could stand as a statement to the critics. By pulling out a finish against Condit, he would be able to prove that his injury was not a setback, and silence many critics of his fighting style.
While some might roll their eyes, call it a fluke, and wait for the next fight to take back any remarks, the more important thing is that GSP would be back on track. If one fighter is able to get injured in such a way, and then be smart about the recovery to the point where his game isn’t affected at all, it is GSP.
If this time off has done anything other than heal body parts, it has given time of reflection and evaluating for GSP. He understands where he is in the public eye, and he knows the things he wants to accomplish.
Talks of him facing Anderson Silva have subsided since the injury; being replaced by talks of a superfight of Silva versus Jon Jones. But with a victory over Carlos Condit, those talks will become more frequent. It has already started to a point, with some already vying for Silva vs. GSP.
But, GSP understands that overlooking Condit is the first step toward losing. How GSP will come back from his injury is still undetermined, but it will be refreshing to see him walk back into the cage. It will almost feel like a “coming out of retirement” fight.
He has work to do, and GSP will start his next tier of his career by facing off with “The Natural Born Killer.” Two men will enter the cage with belts, and only one will go home with one.