We are less than three months away from the return of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s favorite Canadian. With the announcement that Georges St. Pierre has received medical clearance to compete on November 17th at UFC 154, it is now clear that we will finally get to see him back in the cage after more than a year away from competition. While Carlos Condit stands across the cage from him; St. Pierre has another opponent that he must face once the door closes.
Last December, St. Pierre was set to defend his welterweight title against Condit at UFC 143; however an injury to his right knee would force him off the docket. That injury was revealed to be an anterior cruciate ligament tear which is one of the major ligaments needed for movement; especially in professional sports. The injury usually takes athletes out of their season of play for nearly a year. In a sport that requires multiple facets of movement and leg pressure, St. Pierre will have to deal with the stigma that comes from recovering from this injury.
Throughout sports we have seen similar ACL injuries wreak havoc on multiple careers. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has had two major knee surgeries that have left him looking like a shell of the fighter that tore through PRIDE. Even beyond mixed martial arts we can easily point to other, high level athletes that have had a hard time recovering from serious knee problems. Amare Stoudemire, Kris Jenkins and Chipper Jones are three examples of players across professional basketball, football and baseball that have had to deal with what is considered the most devastating injury in professional sports. Now St. Pierre has to attempt on to become another exception to that rule.
Would Condit be considered a dirty fighter if he used the thrust kicks to the knee and lower leg that we’ve seen popularized in recent times? Don’t be surprised this is part of his fight strategy because St. Pierre’s stance requires his right leg to in front; right in line of those attacks. The fast pace of the grappling scrambles that are set to come cannot be replicated in practice so it will be interesting to see how his knee holds up after those activities. What about the idea of perspiration causing St. Pierre to slip awkwardly? There are various ways that this injury can become aggravated and the champion must be well aware of those possibilities as he steps into the Octagon for the first time since April 30th, 2011.
There is a lot riding on the line at UFC 154. The organization is in dire need to get one of their biggest faces back into the cage and winning as he has done for majority of his career. Condit needs to validate the interim title that he won in February in controversial fashion. Yet, the biggest step is when St. Pierre makes the lunge for his first real double leg or checks a leg kick. The weight of so much more than his career is resting on that right knee.