Montreal return for GSP not a guarantee

April 5, 2012, 6:11 PM

THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL — Georges St-Pierre doesn’t know if he’ll be ready to return to the Octagon later this year in Montreal.

In the meantime, the UFC welterweight champion is rehabbing his injured knee — and working on his patience.

"I’m at the most dangerous stage of my rehabilitation right now," St-Pierre told a news conference Thursday.

St-Pierre explained that while his muscles feel good, there’s no way to tell if his torn ligament has fused properly.

"It’s not 100 per cent right now, so I need to be patient," said the MMA fighter, who injured his knee in training late last year. "I’m used to training all the time, every day, and for me not to be able to do what I love every day, it’s very hard for me so I have to work on my patience on myself."

St-Pierre said if all goes well, he’ll start training again in a few months.

"I think it’s fair to say that around July I should be good to go — for training — not for a fight," he added.

There has been speculation he will make his comeback at UFC 154 on Nov. 17 in Montreal, where he says he enjoyed the best moments of his career.

But St-Pierre said that’s only a rumour, although he’s keeping his fingers crossed.

"I don’t know yet, I need clearance from the doctor," he said.

St-Pierre said he will have a better idea after he gets the final OK from his doctor and talks with the UFC.

"But right now, it’s only at the rumour state — when I’m going to fight and where," he said.

The UFC seems to be banking on GSP being ready,

In a conference call with Canadian reporters Wednesday, UFC president Dana White said he expected GSP to be featured on the November card against interim champion Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit.

"Condit hit me the other day and said ‘All right, man. Be honest with me. How long is GSP going to be out?’ And I told him we’re expecting GSP to be back in November," White said. "So he’s going to wait."

In other words, Condit will not opt for a fight in the interim and will instead focus on the champion in the fall.

St-Pierre said Thursday that he knows Condit is waiting for him.

White also said he doubted St-Pierre’s injury layoff would affect his status as the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view draw.

"I think people are going to be pumped to see him back. I think a lot of people are going to tune in to watch him fight again. And I think the Condit fight is interesting. The only question about GSP is going to be ring rust after being out for so long. But the guy trains so damn hard, I don’t see it happening."

Gavin McMillan has been supervising St-Pierre’s rehab at the Sport Science Lab in San Diego.

He says the type of leg injury the UFC star suffered could have been career-altering — "if not career-ending."

As for the short term, St-Pierre will literally be playing his cards close to his chest.

At the news conference, it was also announced that the UFC champ has signed an endorsement contact with 888poker and will play in the main event at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

St-Pierre said jokingly that he’s not ready to switch careers, but poker will be a good distraction and he’s even hoping to eventually get good at it.

"When I do things, I want to be the best and I’m very competitive. and over time I hope to become an excellent player maybe like other good poker players like Guy Laliberte and Rene Angelil," he added.

Angelil is the husband and manager of pop diva Celine Dion. Laliberte is founder of the world famous Cirque du Soleil.

St-Pierre even admitted he got injured in December 2011 because he was training too much.

"Maybe in a way, poker is going to help me focus on relaxation and help me rest my body between fights," he said.

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