UFC 129 Pre-Fight Press Conference on April 27, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photos from Tom SzczerbowskiZuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has revealed a tentative timeline for his return to action. The injured champion told Inside MMA that he is planning on resuming hard training in July, and is looking to return to the Octagon in late October or early November of this year.
Hard training will [resume] in July, and fighting again... for the timing to get back I would say the beginning of November. I can come back in November.
You think you will fight before this year is up?
Oh yeah, of course. I hope so, please, give it to me... Late October, beginning of November. That would be good.
St. Pierre was scheduled to defend his title at UFC 137, and then at UFC 143, but was sidelined due to an ACL injury. If he does return at the end of October, it will be roughly 18 months since his last fight, an April 2011 title defense against Jake Shields at UFC 129.
The question for the UFC will be what to do with the Welterweight title in the meantime. Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz fight for the interim belt on February 4, leaving a full 9 months before a possible title unification bout with GSP. That's a tough timeline. Do you gamble on GSP returning as scheduled and put the belt on hold for 9 months, potentially leaving a hot Condit or Diaz out of action for the bulk of the year? Or do you schedule an interim title defense - a move that could lead to another title change and potentially weaken interest in the unification match? And if you do schedule another defense, who is the challenger? It's a tough call, and I imagine depends in part on how Condit vs. Diaz plays out.
But either way, it's good to hear that GSP is on his way back. Whatever you think of his style, his absence from the division is notable, and I'd rather see him fight than fade away due to injury.
Full video, including some advice from Phil Davis, in the complete entry.