If it was any other mixed martial artist making his return to the Octagon after being sidelined for over a year due to an ACL tear, I'd seriously be worried about how ring rust would affect his performance.
But when it comes to UFC champ Georges St-Pierre, the long layoff doesn't appear to be a hindrance at all. In fact, the time away from the spotlight may have been the best thing for his career.
What MMA fans have to keep in mind when St-Pierre enters the Octagon at this weekend's UFC 154 is that the welterweight king has meticulously rehabilitated his injured knee, and has amped up his training regimen in preparation for interim champ Carlos Condit. "Rush" is one of the smartest athletes in the game and made sure he saw the best specialists to get himself back into fighting shape.
Check out this awesome video from FUEL TV below, detailing GSP's grueling comeback from his injury.
With St-Pierre's body healthy and back to form, the only way ring rust could really affect the champ would be mentally.
In the first episode of his UFC 154 Primetime special , St-Pierre admitted that he had doubts about coming back to training after the injury. He went so far as to say that he thought that the best GSP was behind him.
But like all great champs who hit a low point in their career, this moment of self-doubt quickly sparked a new flame inside St-Pierre.
As the months went on during his road back to recovery, St-Pierre began saying in many interviews that he wants to silence the critics and put on a vintage performance against Condit. Talking to the Toronto Sun, the champ stated that he wanted to finish Condit, a feat St-Pierre hasn't performed inside the Octagon since January of 2009.
“I want to finish because of the criticism,” said St-Pierre, “I’ve listened to the critics and I want to become more opportunistic.”
It seems like GSP is recognizing that he needs to make some sort of change in order to reinvigorate his career. If his killer instinct is truly back, then I can't wait until Saturday night.
If you need even further proof that St-Pierre is serious about taking it to the next level, check out this video embedded below. It's from the second episode of UFC Primetime and shows the champ training with one of the world's top Muay Thai fighters in order to prepare for Condit.
Skip to 16:30 to hear some interesting insights from GSP's coaches, as well as to see this Thai kickboxer's killer techniques.
With so many high-level coaches and training partners supporting him, St-Pierre should have no problem diving right back into that competitive mindset. That, coupled with his always-superb game plans, may mean a long night for the interim champ.
As such a gifted and dedicated athlete, St-Pierre will have no issues with ring rust and should be able to reclaim his undisputed welterweight title—possibly in spectacular fashion.