Times are tough for Georges St. Pierre.
Trapped on the sidelines with a torn the ACL, the UFC welterweight champion can now only watch as his undisputed belt is splintered by an interim UFC 143 title bout between the two men he was at one time scheduled to face, Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz.
Of course St. Pierre expects to challenge the winner of that contest, and he laid out a timetable for his return earlier this week on HDNet's Inside MMA.
"Hard training will be in July, and fighting again, the timing to get back, I would say beginning of November," St. Pierre revealed. "Late October or the beginning of November, that'd be great."
Still, by the time he recovers, the landscape of the UFC's welterweight division will undoubtedly bare little resemblance to it's current form. After half a decade of St. Pierre dominance, the burgeoning 170-pound class appears ready to burst at the seams, no longer held hostage by the Canadian's uncompromising athleticism and risk-adverse ultra-awareness.
Confined by a year-and-a-half of inaction, questions will ultimately dribble in picking at every facet of St. Pierre's ability; analyzing whether, at the wrong side of 30, "Rush" can ever reclaim his undisputed title from a division that has moved past him. Eventually such bullish prodding could grow tiresome for the champion.
"Maybe it will," St. Pierre admitted. "But for me, I try to not think about the belt. When I'm going to fight the winner of that fight, I'm not thinking I'm the champion. I'm thinking I'm going to fight for the title. Because if you lose, you lose the title even if you had it before or not."
If the situation seems odd from the outside, one can only imagine the rage simmering underneath St. Pierre's affable outer shell. Diaz's volatile post-UFC 137 callout is still close to his mind, that much is evident. A typically unbiased observer, St. Pierre spares no reservations when asked who he'd rather meet in the cage.
"No, I do actually care. Carlos Condit is a very nice guy ... and I like him a lot, but the reason I wish for Nick Diaz to win that fight, is because I want to fight Nick Diaz." St. Pierre unflinchingly explained. "I don't want to fight Carlos Condit. I want to fight Nick Diaz.
"I'm at my best when there's pressure on my shoulders. I'm at my best when someone is picking at me," he continued. "He's going to go in there to win, not to survive. He's going to be very hard to break down mentally, and I'm ready for a war."
If Josh Koscheck's broken face in any indication, the MMA world would be unwise to forget the capabilities of an angry Georges St. Pierre.