Ultimate Fighting Championship action returns this weekend with the sport’s poster boy, Georges ‘Rush’ St Pierre, making a welcome return.
St-Pierre has been out with a knee injury for more than 18 months and he faces the interim 170-pound welterweight champ Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Despite defeating Nicky Diaz in February, Condit has remained inactive – not because of injury mind – because the obvious big-money bout was to wait patiently for St Pierre’s return.
American Condit, 28, was willing to take on all challengers but wisely listened to his management about patience being a virtue.
Curiously, St. Pierre (22-2) and Condit (28-5) have trained together under Greg Jackson. Although not actual team-mates, St. Pierre spends his time mostly at the Tri Star gym in Montreal while Condit trains with Jackson in New Mexico. That means the two are extremely familiar with each other’s styles.
St. Pierre is one of the sport’s most complete fighters with no substantial weakness who comes from a karate background. His takedowns and ground grappling are his strongest aspects and his boxing skills have recently been honed with the celebrated Freddie Roach.
Condit trades on aggression and likes to strike first but is just as comfortable playing a submission grappling game. On his feet, Condit is extremely dangerous but on the ground is not St Pierre’s match.
Cayman’s Rogue Gym fighters will be glued to the TV screens at Chelsea’s bar in Westshore Plaza watching the fight. Rogue’s Muay Thai instructor Grey Brett will be rooting for GSP to regain his title.
“I’ve just found out that GSP brought in former Thai champion Lamsongkram Chuwattana to help his Muay Thai training,” said Brett. “Lamsonkram is a rare tall Thai boxer which will surely help him deal with Condit’s long frame and reach. His stand-up is on a different level.
“I’m siding with GSP on this one, partially because I’m Canadian but also because I think that he brings more tools to the match than Condit does. GSP has so much experience in championship fights so I expect him to know how to prepare so the layoff will not be an issue. If anything I see him coming back even hungrier.
“I don’t see Condit upsetting GSP if he is 100 per cent and I feel that St Pierre still has a lot to offer the sport. He’s still quite young at 31.”
Grey enjoys watching UFC. “I watch the UFC for fun. I have my picks in the UFC fights but my favourite fighters are Muay Thai fighters. Chelsea’s has a nice, open and relaxing environment. When Club House closed down we decided to check out a new spot. Chelsea’s just opened so we gave it a try.”