Las Vegas, Nevada – On Saturday night, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, elite welterweights Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit will collide for the interim UFC 170lbs championship. UFC superstar Georges St-Pierre will be a very interested – and conflicted – ringside observer to the UFC 143 main event. ‘GSP’ has been the undisputed welterweight king since the spring of 2008, but knee injuries have forced him to withdraw from scheduled bouts with both Condit and Diaz and so he must sit on the sidelines while the pair stake a claim to his crown. Expected to return to the Octagon™ perhaps as early as the summer, St-Pierre had this to say:
CHEERING FOR THE ENEMY
“I respect Carlos Condit, but I want Diaz to win. It will be a weird feeling, sitting at the Mandalay Bay wanting Nick Diaz to win. I want this fight with Diaz so badly, as badly as I wanted the title shot when I got down on my knees. I have never asked (UFC President) Dana White for anything, but I did ask to fightNick Diaz. I was (crushed) when I had to pull out of this weekend’s fight hurt, but I am determined to get back to the Octagon as soon as possible to fightthis guy. He needs to hold up his part and beat Carlos Condit on Saturday to make this fight happen.
ON HIS FEARS CONDIT WILL WIN
“I am very nervous that Carlos Condit will win on Saturday night, and that I won’t be able to fight Nick Diaz this summer. Carlos Condit is a very good fighter, he can strike, he is aggressive and he has submissions. He has been very impressive and is the type of fighter who gets better and better the more confident hegets.
I am not personal friends with him but I know him a little and he’s a great person. I know a lot of people who know him well because we train with the same people, but I have only spoken with him a few times. He is a true mixed martial artist. I feel bad, it is weird that I want him to lose, but I have never wanted to fight anyone as much as I want to fight Diaz.”
ON DANA WHITE’S COMMENT THAT GSP ‘HATES’ DIAZ
“I don’t truly hate him as a person. I don’t know that he is a bad guy, but I hate what he brings to the sport with the disrespect and the unprofessional things he says and does. It is sort of a professional hatred. He has been nothing but disrespectful and arrogant towards me. During UFC 137 (week) I felt like I had to walk around Las Vegas with my fists ready (to punch Diaz) because every time I came across him he wanted to fight there and then. Every time the elevator opened (in the hotel) I needed to be ready to fight in case he stepped in. I was on edge all week. This guy is crazy.
I am used to hearing (smack) talk from opponents, Matt Serra did it, Dan Hardy did it, and Josh Koscheck did it, but with Diaz he has taken it to another level. He and his coach (Cesar Gracie) have called me a coward and tried to disrespect myaccomplishments.
All that has done though is make me determined to beat him up. He will bring out the best in me, I will be 100% focused, like a bomb-expert defusing a time bomb. When my back is against the wall and I have no choice but to win, when I cannot lose to this person under any cost, that is when I am most dangerous.
Also, as champion, I believe Diaz deserves the fight for the title. Style-wise, he is a very tough match for me and the fans deserve to see the fight they really want to see.”
ON WHETHER THE ‘INTERIM’ CHAMP WILL BE THE REAL CHAMP
“The way I see it, I am not the champion anymore on Saturday night. I have not fought since April, against my will, but I understand the champion must fight. Youhave to put the belt on the line in order to call yourself champion, the best in the world. Right now I am not the best in the world, I am injured. The winner of this fight on Saturday will be more than just the new No.1 contender, but he won’t be the new champion either. The winner of this fight will have to beat me to become the true world champion and I will have to beat the winner of this fight in order to call myself the best in the world again.
I like the format where the winner of this fight will have to fight me and I have to fight the winner to truly become the UFC champion. That is what the UFC is about,that is competition. This is fair to all of us, we have to beat each other to be the undisputed champion.”
ON DIAZ’S DOMINATING WIN OVER BJ PENN
“He was very impressive. Nick Diaz’s boxing is very strong; he could be the best boxer in the UFC. I don’t want to be seen to be advising any other fighter how to win a fight, but if Diaz does what he does best then he should win this fight on Saturday. It is a very close fight though.”
ON HIS RIGHT KNEE INJURY AND REHAB
“I am ahead of schedule. I can already train and even kick but I am remaining calm and not rushing. I won’t train properly until July, it is a matter of discipline not to force my knee to go harder than it can heal. No athlete wants to sit on thesidelines, especially when you are the champion and you must watch two others fight for the interim championship belt. I will watch on Saturday and go home very motivated to rehab on Monday morning but I must be disciplined and I must continue to rehab at the pace I am doing.”