UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre may end up fighting middleweight king Anderson Silva next year, but GSP did not relish his obligation to continually address the hypothetical super-fight leading up to his UFC 154 title defense against Carlos Condit at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Following his hard-fought victory over “The Natural Born Killer” on Saturday night, St. Pierre (Pictured, file photo) spoke candidly about the situation, revealing his irritation at being forced to address a potential clash with “The Spider” following an 18-month inactive stretch brought on by injuries.
“I think what pissed me off a little bit was that I hadn’t even come back yet. I was fighting Carlos Condit and everybody was asking me about Anderson Silva. I think it was disrespectful to me and disrespectful to my opponent,” St. Pierre said at tonight’s post-fight press conference. “I think you should give more credit to the challengers I have. They are the best in the world, and I need to focus on my opponent and not focus on the next step.”
St. Pierre -- who returned to the cage Saturday after tearing his ACL last winter -- put forth a vintage showing against Condit in the evening’s pay-per-view headliner, grinding the interim titlist down over five rounds en route a unanimous decision win. Though St. Pierre’s performance was an impressive one, he later admitted that this bout was one of the toughest of his career.
“This fight and the Jon Fitch fight were the two fights where I was really pushed to the edge,” said St. Pierre. “I knew it was going to be hard, and it was, especially in the beginning. The Octagon feel is something that you lose after a certain time. I wasn’t breaking, but mentally, you have to [continually] push, and that’s something I haven’t felt for a long time. I’m happy. I gave everything I had and left it all in the Octagon. I was exhausted. I have no regrets, and I fought the best I could. I had fun tonight.”
St. Pierre was not having fun early in the third round, however, when Condit clipped the returning champion with a high kick that sent him reeling to the canvas. Despite obviously hurting St. Pierre, the former WEC ruler could not find the finish, and the champion ended the frame in top position following a takedown.
“Before, when I got hit hard, sometimes I was a proud guy and tried to give it back right away,” said St. Pierre of the knockdown. “My experience I gained through all my fighting allowed me to recompose, defend myself and come back stronger. It was experience that allowed me to survive and come back after I got hit by that kick.”
The champion then sealed the deal by blasting Condit with straight punches and scoring with more takedowns in the final two frames. Though Condit gamely attempted to catch the two-time UFC king with submissions off his back, St. Pierre’s defense proved excellent for the duration of the bout. Likewise, Condit switched between and open and closed guard, keeping St. Pierre honest while in top position.
“I have to give Carlos credit, because he is the No. 1 guy. People forget, sometimes, that I’m fighting the best guys in the world. They say, ‘Oh, no finish?’ But the finish is not always easy,” said St. Pierre. “I studied Carlos a lot. He has a very special style, and he is a very clever guy. He only has one takedown in the UFC, but he baits submissions [off his back] and ends up on top.
“Sometimes, I felt like he left me some openings to go for submissions, and I didn’t go,” the champion continued. “I wanted to play more ground-and-pound and [avoid] the mistake I made against Dan Hardy by only going for submissions. I wanted to hurt him with my strikes.”
This victory now only hours behind him, St. Pierre has already been confronted with questions about whom he will next face. Naturally, Silva was mentioned, as was Johny Hendricks, who likely became the welterweight division’s new No. 1 contender after starching Martin Kampmann in tonight’s co-main event. Nevertheless, the champion says he will take his time before deciding where he will go from here.
“We’ll see what happens,” said St. Pierre. “I have to talk to the boss (Dana White), and we’ll see. I just finished my fight and got hit a lot on the head, so I need to take some vacation before I make a decision like this.”