UFC 154: Georges St-Pierre "Reborn" and "Has the Fire Again"

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IOctober 9, 2012

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  (L-R) Georges St. Pierre battles Thiago Alves during their welterweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre hasn't fought since April 2011, when he tore his right ACL in December, but "Rush" believes he'll show he's back and better than ever when he returns to the Octagon next month:

"I had a lot of pressure (on me) and I over-trained (when I got injured). I think that was the main thing. I fixed all that, and I feel like I was reborn and I have the fire again," GSP told MMAjunkie.com Radio.  

After a lengthy rehabilitation process, the 31-year-old French Canadian also notes that he's feeling "perfectly healthy right now."

The Tristar Gym standout also inevitably fielded a question about his recent lack of finishes. In his past nine fights, St-Pierre has just three stoppages, the most recent of which dates back to Jan. 2009. 

"My opponents got much better over time," St-Pierre said. "It's not that I should be fighting with more caution. I need to be more opportunistic. It depends how the fight goes. You want to finish your opponent, but you want to win, more importantly." 

GSP also indicated that his most recent fight against Jake Shields, a lackluster decision victory for the champion, was a perfect example of how a bout turns out when a fighter tries too hard to finish. 

One of the UFC's most marketable stars, St-Pierre has a home-field advantage when he battles UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit to unify the belts in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Nov. 17.

He expects "The Natural Born Killer," and Greg Jackson's former MMA teammate, to provide a tough challenge, but also admits that Jon Fitch was his most game opponent in recent memory:

"Sometimes when you break a guy mentally, he accepts it and he's not fighting to win anymore," St-Pierre said. "He's fighting for survival. We don't want to fight for survival. One guy I fought and he fought all the way and tried to win all the time, and that was Jon Fitch. Jon Fitch gave me the toughest fight (of anyone)." 

St-Pierre completely outclassed and battered Fitch for five rounds in their title bout at UFC 87, but despite all the damage he endured, Fitch continued to press forward against the champion until the bitter end. 

GSP has won nine fights in a row, including six successful title defenses, while Condit is riding a five-fight win steak (three coming by way of knockout). 

Will UFC 154 showcase the best version of GSP to date, or will Condit be able to capitalize on a less athletic, battle-worn champion?