Firas Zahabi came on MMA Fight Corner on Saturday and updated UFC Welterweight Champion, Georges St. Pierre’s recovery from his ACL surgery. Currently, GSP is slated to make his return to the Octagon at UFC 154 in his hometown of Montreal on November 17 to unify the welterweight title against interim title holder,Carlos Condit. But Zahabi added that there’s still another fight that GSP wants besides Condit, and that’s Nick Diaz.
Zahabi is the head trainer at TriStar gym in Canada and works with established fighters like St. Pierre and Rory MacDonald. He also trains UFC up and comer, Francis Carmont. He had just come from working with St. Pierre when MMA Fight Corner caught up with him and said GSP is sparring 5, three minute rounds and that he looks great.
It would also appear that as of now, it looks like GSP is on track to fight Condit at UFC 154. “I think in August we’ll be ready to see if he’s capable of a training camp,” Zahabi said. “Right now I got him working with lighter fighters. We’re still taking some precautions. But nonetheless, he’s moving really well. For a guy that hasn’t sparred for 8 months, I’m really impressed with what he’s doing and I’m really expecting that by August he’ll be back to what he used to be like.”
Zahabi continued to give a detailed breakdown of the champ’s status:
“He had an injury in his left knee and then he didn’t get surgery on it, and then he tore the ACL in his other knee, on his right knee. He was so close to the Condit fight he really wanted to work through the injury and he ended up injuring his other knee really badly, because he was overcompensating. He had to learn that the hard way, but his other knee is fine now. Left knee is fine and the right knee, the knee that they did the surgery on for the ACL, is also fine. Structurally they say it’s a 100%. Just coordination and confidence, the mental confidence and of course the timing. The timing has gone out of the window and today’s sparring was a big step forward, timing looked really good, a lot better than in the first sparring and I’m really happy. I think I’m confident for August he could start training camp.”
GSP went to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who also repaired New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s ACL. On advice from Tom Brady, GSP used his own patella tendon to repair his torn ACL, as opposed to the alternate of using cadaver parts. They looked all over and found Dr. ElAttrache who came hghly recommended by Brady. Zahabi said the importance of finding the right surgeon was key. “Fighters, when they tear their ACL, some of them never come back. They’re never the same. That’s the truth. So, it’s good to hear guys with a positive experience.”
Though St. Pierre is set to fight Condit (barring any setbacks) in November, Zahabi says that GSP and fans still want to see him fight Nick Diaz. Diaz and GSP were supposed to fight at UFC 137. Diaz missed his press commitments with the UFC and was removed from the card. The fight became GSP vs Condit, until GSP withdrew because of a knee injury. Diaz was brought in and defeated BJ Penn in UFC 137’s main event. When GSP had to withdraw from UFC 143 because of his knee injury, Diaz then got the opportunity to fight Carlos Condit for the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship. Condit beat Diaz, and Diaz subsequently retired from MMA fighting. Following UFC 143, Diaz also tested positive for marijuana metabolites and was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for one year retroactive to the date the test came back positive. Regardless, it seems that’s the fight the masses want according to Zahabi.
“Everywhere we go the fans are asking me for Nick Diaz. They’re always asking me when Georges is going to fight Nick Diaz. And when I tell them he’s retired, they have this crazy look on their face, like that’s crazy they still have to fight. I think Georges wants that fight. I think Diaz deserves a lot of money for that fight. I think they should pay him significantly, I think it’d be a big fight. I think everybody would be watching. Nobody would miss that fight. And I think for Diaz, he’s not happy. From what I hear, Nick Diaz is not happy with all the judging in the sport, and I can understand all that, but hopefully he changes his mind. He’s a great fighter and definitely a lot of people want to see that fight.”