When Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon at UFC 154, he will do so to perhaps more fanfare than any mixed martial artist ever has in a comeback fight.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so it's no wonder the impending end to St-Pierre's 19-month injury-induced layoff has ecstatic fans on their toes.
And it's not simply the return of the sport's biggest star that has sent the MMA world into a fever pitch, it's also that he'll return to face an opponent many consider to be his greatest challenge in quite some time.
Carlos Condit has spent the last three years separating himself from the welterweight pack, posting a 5-0 record since September 2009. Condit most recently became the division's interim champion in St-Pierre's absence when he defeated Nick Diaz earlier this year.
Positive perception of Condit's impressive run has combined with concerns that St-Pierre's career-threatening ACL injury might mitigate his explosiveness to give their UFC 154 bout an aura of uncertainty.
As he usually does, St-Pierre enters the bout as a decided favorite, but it's uncommon for fans to believe that the dominant champion is seriously at risk of suffering an upset, yet many seem to believe Condit can pull out the victory.
While GSP's injury and Condit's recent successes provide the necessary prerequisites to make this an intriguing match, those prophesizing an end of the current welterweight era seem to be overlooking one thing—Georges St-Pierre is Georges St-Pierre, rusty or not.
This is the guy who's gone 15-1 since 2005.
The guy who has completely shut down many of the best 170-pound fighters on the planet with seeming ease.
The guy that has risen so high above the rest of the division that nearly any time a contender reaches for his title, fans question the validity of the matchup, expecting him to jump up a weight class instead.
Condit is a great fighter in his own right, but he's nothing like this guy.
St-Pierre will have his way with Condit at UFC 154, matching him on the feet and taking the fight to the mat—and keeping it there—whenever he wants.
Though he's been gone for nearly two years, St-Pierre will remind us why he's considered a top pound-for-pound fighter this Saturday, by blasting through Condit the way he has all his opponents since suffering a shocking loss to Matt Serra in 2007.
Condit may wield a varied arsenal of dangerous weapons, but none match up to those of the greatest welterweight of all time. He'll have no answers for GSP at UFC 154 and that will be that.
They say that when the cat is away the mice will play. Condit may have established himself as king-mouse, but the cat is back now, and play time is over.