If time apart makes the heart grow fonder, Georges St-Pierre is likely counting down the days until he can return to training and get back to competition form.
Firas Zahabi, St-Pierre’s close friend and trainer, revealed to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani over the weekend that he fully expects St-Pierre to end his MMA hiatus after he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee.
As transcribed by MMA Mania:
“Georges is doing fantastic," Zahabi said. "I think [he’ll return]. I think there’s a lot of fire left in him, especially since he got injured, he’s probably more motivated than ever. He was just about to start sparring again before he got injured. I think there’s a lot of martial arts left in him.”
St-Pierre never officially retired from MMA competition. During a media phone conference in December 2013, the French Canadian star announced that he would be vacating his UFC title and going on an extended hiatus.
Despite his time away from the sport, St-Pierre has remained active in training by helping teammates prepare for upcoming bouts. He announced via Twitter in March that he had torn his left ACL during a training session.
Tore my left ACL in training. Surgery in a few days. Rehab, pain, hard work, no shortcuts- I'll soon be back at 100%. Thanks for the support— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) March 27, 2014
St-Pierre has always left the door open for a possible return to the UFC, but it’s a known fact that ACL injuries aren’t easy to overcome for even the most elite athletes. Quite frankly, some athletes are never the same again after ACL injuries.
But for St-Pierre, this isn’t his first rodeo when it comes to devastating knee injuries. He was out of competition for nearly 18 months after tearing his right ACL in 2011. Some of the same questions rose about his future before he returned and silenced the critics by defeating Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks.
As skeptics learned back then, it’s unwise to ever question the heart and determination of Georges St-Pierre.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.