On November 17 at UFC 154, Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre returns to action for the first time in 19 months. Since his last title defense against Jake Shields at UFC 129, GSP has twice been forced out of fights due to injury. St. Pierre was first forced from a bout against current interim champ Carlos Condit at UFC 136, then he had to withdrawal against Nick Diaz, who Condit defeated for his title at UFC 143. In the meantime, GSP has spent his time rehabbing his injured knee and is now in the early stages of his training camp for his fight against Condit.
At yesterday's UFC 154 press conference, Georges explained how the lay off has impacted him over the last year (transcribed by MMA Mania):
I was at a point before my injury where I went to train because I had to, not because I wanted to. I lost motivation. I learned in my career that sometimes you need to break something to fix it before it breaks by itself. I don't need to lose a fight to improve my training. I need to stay on top of the game before the fight game catches up on me. The long layoff allowed me to think about stuff. I needed to make my training more efficient for myself.
If we're lucky, St. Pierre has finally rekindled the fie that carried him through the early parts of career and we'll finally see a return of "Rush". On the other hand, we've heard these statements from GSP before only to see him outpoint an over-matched challenger. For what it's worth, St. Pierre doesn't seem to be overlooking Condit, going as far as to call Carlos the "real" Welterweight champion:
In my contract, I was supposed to defend my title every year and I didn't do it. For me, I see Carlos Condit as the champion and I'm getting a title shot