On Sat., Feb. 4, 2012, Stockton slugger Nick Diaz will take on Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in Las Vegas, Nevada, to determine who will hold the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim welterweight title belt. Whoever emerges victorious will not only own a new shiny accessory for their waist, but will also have a ticket to be the first to fight Georges St. Pierre when he returns from his ACL injury.
"GSP" is currently on the shelf for an indefinite amount of time because of surgery on his right knee, which will take significant time and grueling rehabilitation to fully recover.
Regardless of who wins the interim title bout at UFC 143, it makes for an interesting match up. St. Pierre was supposed to fight both men on separate occasions, all within the span of a few days. However, because of some missed press conferences by Diaz, and then an injury suffered by St. Pierre, neither fight ended up going down.
Tonight (Jan. 16, 2012), St. Pierre appeared on HDNet's "Inside MMA" to discuss his injury, as well as his feelings about "Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit." According to "Rush," he'd like to see Diaz come out on top:
"I do actually care. There are two guys that are fighting, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit -- Carlos Condit is a very nice guy. I never trained with him but I have trained in Albuquerque along with some of his teammates, and he's a very nice guy. I like him a lot. But, the reason why I wish Nick Diaz to win this fight is that I want to fight Nick Diaz. I don't wanna fight Carlos Condit. I wanna fight Nick Diaz. But, in another way, I just hope the best man will win. But if the best man is Nick Diaz, I will appreciate it more, because it will be a better build up for a fight."
Regarding his injury, St. Pierre said that he feels like it was his own fault for possibly not listening to his body when he suffered a less painful injury to his left knee, sometime last year:
"One of the reasons why I got that injury is that I didn't do that (take enough time rehabbing). I didn't listen to myself. I had a first injury to my left knee. I tried to come back too fast and I was compensating with my other leg. That's how I hurt myself."
No champion wants to have his belt tossed around or his legacy tarnished by someone else walking around with the "interim" tag. For "GSP," the belt is irrelevant. It's just about winning the next fight:
"For me, I try to not think about the belt. When I'm going into a fight, when I fight the winner of that fight, I'm not thinking 'I'm the champion.' I'm thinking I'm gonna fight for the title. Because, if you lose, you're gonna lose the title, even if you had it before or not. That won't matter."
St. Pierre also spent a few minutes discussing some of the criticism he's taken during his career. Criticism that has gone so far as to label him as a "boring" or "safe" fighter. He acknowledges the naysayers and had a bit to say about what it's been like to be a champion under the magnifying glass:
"The thing is, when you defend the title and do it a few times, there is a routine that comes with it and people expect you to win. And they not only expect you to win, they expect you to do great. Sometimes, it can play on your mind. That's a little bit of what happened to me. I felt like I lost a little bit of motivation. That's the danger that can happen with champions sometimes."
At the end of the segment, St. Pierre reiterated just how much he is hoping for a Nick Diaz win at UFC 143. He likes Carlos Condit. He thinks he's a nice guy. But Diaz is, by far, the fight he desires:
"That's really the fight that I wanted to have and the fight was going to happen in the beginning. And it didn't happen, because he (Diaz) didn't show up for the promotion. Then after I got hurt and this whole thing happened and -- that's really the fight that I wanted to have happen. Even though I like Carlos Condit better as a person, I would rather fight Nick Diaz."
What do you think, Maniacs? Will "GSP" get his wish? Or will he find himself face-to-face with "The Natural Born Killer" next time he enters the Octagon?