St. Pierre feels he is underdog in comeback match

Despite his accomplishments in the Octagon, mixed martial arts star Georges St-Pierre insists he will be the challenger when he faces Carlos Condit at the Bell Centre.

MONTREAL — Despite his accomplishments in the Octagon, mixed martial arts star Georges St-Pierre insists he will be the challenger when he faces Carlos Condit at the Bell Centre.

St-Pierre will have been out of action for 19 months when he defends his Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title before a home crowd in UFC 154 on Nov. 17 at what will likely be a sold-out Bell Centre.

During St-Pierre’s layoff, Condit defeated Nick Diaz for the interim championship. Their showdown will settle which of them is really No. 1 at 170 pounds.

“In my contract, I was supposed to defend my title every year and I couldn’t do it because of my injury, so the champion to me is Carlos Condit,” St-Pierre said to applause from about 200 fans at a news conference Thursday at the Montreal Science Centre.

“It’s up to me to take the title, so I’m going for the title. That’s how I see it.”

Condit (28-5) of Albuquerque, N.M., wasn’t buying his opponent’s claim to underdog status.

“I’m not the official champion,” he said.

“Georges has been such a dominant champion over the last couple of years that until someone beats him, he’s the undisputed champion.

“That’s my mindset. Until I beat him, I don’t feel I’m a true champion.”

Neither of them could be called a hothead, and that was the closest they came to a disagreement. St-Pierre even called Condit “a gentleman.”

But he also said that opponents who don’t use trash talk are often the toughest in the cage.

“He’s very well rounded and smart,” St-Pierre said.

“He adapts well to any style of fighter, but I’m going to take care of business.

“I have two challenges. I’m fighting the most dangerous and most well rounded martial artist I’ve ever fought and I’m also coming back from a long layoff, so it’s two challenges in one. But as a real martial artist, I ask nothing less.”

St-Pierre (22-2) will defend his championship belt for the seventh time.

He has won his last nine bouts, but hasn’t fought since he beat Jake Shields in Toronto in April, 2011 due to a knee injury that required surgery. He acknowledges there will be some ring rust, but he said the knee is 100 per cent healed and he is confident he has not lost a step.

Even before the injury, he said his energy was fading and knew he needed to change a few things in his training and his approach to fighting. That’s what he did during the layoff.

“I was going (to training) because I had to, not because I wanted to,” he said.

“I lost motivation.

“I learned that in your career, sometimes you need to break something and fix it before it breaks by itself. I didn’t need to lose a fight to improve my training schedule. I needed to stay on top before the fight game catches up to me. That’s what the long layoff allowed me to do. To think about stuff.

“I’m very glad to be back. I changed a lot in my training and in my life and I’ve never been so pumped up.”

Both fighters normally have Greg Jackson in their corner, but the veteran coach will not work either corner for this fight card. St-Pierre said it won’t matter.

“I like to have Greg in my corner, but we’ll both have the same problem,” he said. “The corner doesn’t really matter.

“Even if the Pope or my grandmother was in my corner, the truth is that when you come back after a round you’re exhausted. You have maybe 20 seconds where the person can tell you what to do or change your strategy. The rest of the time your just recuperate.”

It will be daunting for Condit to fight in front of a full house that will be almost entirely on St-Pierre’s side, especially against one of the top stars and top pay-per-view draws in UFC.

But he relishes the role of “the bad guy fighting in an opponent’s home town.

“When I fought in my home town it was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been, the most pressure I’ve ever felt,” he said. “When I fight in someone else’s home town I feel it’s my fight to win.

“No pressure. I just get to go out there and perform to the best of my ability and not worry about anything else.”

It will be the fifth UFC card held in Montreal and the third one with St-Pierre in the main event.

Tom Wright, president of UFC Canada, said the organization hopes to make it a regular part of its schedule to have a card each year in Montreal in the third week of March and another in Toronto on the third week of September.

“It helps our fans because they can plan their travel and their schedule,” Wright said.

“And we feel it’s important to have that kind of consistency to our schedule to allow our fans and business partners to manage their relationship with us.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read