ATLANTA -- Look out UFC welterweight division. Georges St-Pierre's knee is getting stronger, and it appears he's on track for a fall return.
The champion is in town for UFC 145, and with his rehabilitation progressing well, he was all smiles as he walked pain-free and limp-free into the event's open workouts. During a brief interview session, St-Pierre told the media that he recently began running, as the two surgeries on his right knee continue to heal well on the long road to recovery.
Because of that, he's on schedule for his return to MMA training, which he hopes will be in about two months.
"In two months it will be 100 percent," he said. "Now I feel something that it's not 100 percent, but in two months there's no doubt in my mind. I don't want to mess it up. If I try to jump and go too fast, I will have to do it all over again and I don't want to make the same mistake."
The "same mistake" refers to a previous injury to his left knee. That time, he believes he came back too quickly and overcompensated with his right knee, leading to unnecessary damage.
Because of that, St-Pierre is restricted in what he can do. He said he's currently engaging in a lot of pool exercises, gymnastics, and running. He's also getting the itch to get back in the gym, which is one he won't be able to scratch for some time.
When he does return, interim champ Carlos Condit will be waiting for him.
Given the timeline, a return on the promotion's November 17 return to Montreal sounds like a real possibility, but St-Pierre said given his layoff, which will hit the one-year mark on April 30, he is only concerned about when he returns, not where.
"Wherever it is, in England, the US, I’ll fight. I'm just going to be happy to be back and fight. When you get hurt for a long time and you're forced to pull away from training and you're forced to stop doing what you like to do everything, it makes you see things in perspective. And I just want to get back. Wherever the fight will be, I will be glad to fight, and I’m very anxious to come back."
St-Pierre, who will turn 31 years old next month, said that while he has no problem in facing Condit, he wouldn't fight teammate Rory MacDonald, who many consider to be a future threat to the title. St-Pierre said that by the time MacDonald reaches the No. 1 contender spot in around two years, perhaps he will have moved on to middleweight.
But first things first, and that's returning. He's on the short end of his six-month overall recovery time, and now he can start to think about fighting again.
"It’s awesome," he said. "I’m in good shape now, but I’m not in fighting shape."