Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Condit both deferring to rival before UFC 154 welterweight showdown

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

When Georges St-Pierre starts rolling, there is no stopping him.

The UFC welterweight champion has been out for 18 months and he insists that Carlos Condit, the man who won the interim belt in his absence, is the division's "real" champion.

"Look at the guy, what he's done," St-Pierre said. "He's been fighting and winning against all the great fighters. That's what the champion does."

Condit, though, who fights St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 154 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, doesn't feel much like a champion. The UFC pitted Condit against Nick Diaz for the interim title at UFC 143 back in February, when it was clear St-Pierre's injured knee wouldn’t be ready. Condit executed a perfect gameplan in the fight, dissecting Diaz for a unanimous decision win to earn the interim belt.

So, in a way, Saturday's bout will be a unification bout, though the interim title will disappear regardless of who wins.

Condit, though, pleads with almost as much urgency as St-Pierre that his opponent is most definitely the champion.

View gallery

.

Carlos Condit overwhelmed Nick Diaz with his striking to win the interim UFC welterweight title. (UFC)

"This is Georges' title," Condit said. "He's the undisputed champion, no doubt about it. Georges has been so dominant for so long. To be the champion, you have to do one thing: You have to beat Georges St-Pierre. I haven't done that yet."

Condit has a brilliant record – he's 28-5 overall and 14-1 in the last 6½ years, with only a highly controversial split-decision loss marring his record in that time – but he ascribes to the theory that to be the man, you must beat the man.

Still, not long after he upset Diaz to win the interim title, other fighters began to call him out. Ever the competitor, Condit was eager to jump into the cage and prove who was boss. It took manager Malki Kawa to talk some sense into him.

"At the level these guys are at, you're not supposed to turn down fights," Kawa said. "But I wouldn't have been doing my job if I just put Carlos in there against someone other than Georges St-Pierre. You fight Georges St-Pierre and you make life-changing money. A guy like Johny Hendricks, and I am not disrespecting him at all, but it's a fight where the money isn't even close to the same.

"Fighters were calling him out and Carlos wanted to do it. I had to tell him, 'Carlos, look, this is a business and the best move business-wise is to wait for GSP to come back.' He finally did, but the guy is such a competitor, and he loves to fight so much, he was willing to risk a GSP fight to take some other one in between."

[Related: Watch UFC 154 live on Yahoo! Sports]

St-Pierre is better than a 3-1 favorite to beat Condit, despite the lengthy layoff. All the attention is on St-Pierre's return from a devastating right knee injury.

Condit, as seems often the case, is getting lost in the shuffle. It happened when he fought Dan Hardy in England, at least until he knocked Hardy out. It happened prior to his fight with Dong-Hyun Kim, whom Condit knocked out with a flying knee in the first. And, of course, it happened when he fought Diaz for the interim title and was virtually ignored in the pre-fight buildup.

It's GSP this and GSP that as Fight Night approaches, but even UFC president Dana White acknowledges that's not fair to Condit.

View gallery

.

Georges St-Pierre smiles for the crowd. (AP)

"I really believe a lot of people aren't giving this kid enough credit," White said. "He's tough, man. This kid can fight. He's got great ground skills, he's got knockout power and formally, if you look at the way fights are done in boxing, when a champion of GSP's caliber comes back [from injury], you usually give him an easy fight. This is far from an easy fight for Georges St-Pierre. This is a very tough fight."

Condit, though, isn't concerned with credit or fame or attention. He's a fierce competitor, and thus, just wants to win. But at the end of the day, to Condit, he's just like a guy wearing a suit and tie who goes to an office every day.

[Also: Ronda Rousey headlines women headed to the UFC]

This is just his way of making a living and supporting his family. If that means acclaim and hoopla, he's fine with it. But he's more than happy if he doesn't get the credit he deserves.

And, in a way, he embraces the role of underdog.

"Georges is the favorite, as well he should be considering everything he has done in this sport," Condit said. "But I've been through this before. It's not new to me. Just because someone else thinks I'm going to lose, or even if everyone else thinks I'm going to lose, it doesn't matter as long as I don't believe that.

"I believe I'm going to go in there and fight my fight and beat Georges St-Pierre and walk out of there as the UFC welterweight champion of the world. To be honest with you, that's how I feel. And none of the other stuff, the talk and the hype and all of that, none of it really matters once they close the door and we start to fight."

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
K-State, Oregon on collision course?
The Miami Heat's effortless, 'ego-less' offense
Overtime rules confuse 49ers and Rams, who end game tied
Y! Shopping: Ten gadget gifts everyone wants this year

  • Pineda not only pitcher in majors to try pine tar

    Pineda not only pitcher in majors to try pine tar

    Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda is hardly the first major leaguer to use pine tar to aid his grip. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Pop legend Paul McCartney is set to return to Candlestick Park to offer a swan song to the San Francisco 49ers' former stadium. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Red Wings pencil Zetterberg into lineup for Game 4

    Red Wings pencil Zetterberg into lineup for Game 4

    DETROIT (AP) -- Henrik Zetterberg may play for the Detroit Red Wings in a critical Game 4 against the Boston Bruins. … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Kluber, Indians roll past Royals 5-1

    Kluber, Indians roll past Royals 5-1

    Corey Kluber stayed stone-faced, maintaining the same stoic look in the clubhouse that he had for nine innings on the mound. Only when prodded by an Indians teammate did Kluber crack. ''Did you smile after the game?'' pitcher Justin Masterson … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Kosar believes he's off TV for slurred speech

    Kosar believes he's off TV for slurred speech

    Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar believes he has been unfairly sacked as a TV broadcaster. Kosar has been removed as a color commentator for Cleveland's preseason games by the team. The Browns said Wednesday night he was being replaced by … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Trip Tips: Brazil's beachless metropolis is a foodie's paradise

    By Todd Benson SAO PAULO (Reuters) - If your idea of Brazil is beaches and bikinis, São Paulo is not the place to go. But if you're a seasoned traveler who tends to shun traditional tourism hot spots for urban adventures off the beaten trail, then … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Cabrera, Scherzer lift Tigers by ChiSox

    Cabrera, Scherzer lift Tigers by ChiSox

    There's little doubt that Miguel Cabrera is one of the best hitters in baseball. Cabrera found infield gaps with a pair of two-out hits to drive in three runs in Detroit's 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. ''I'm just trying to hit the ball … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Armstrong loses arbitration appeal to block case

    A Texas appeals court has rejected Lance Armstrong's attempts to block an arbitration panel from reviewing $12 million in bonuses paid to him by a company that wants its money back, a setback for the cyclist who is fighting multiple legal battles … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
  • NLRB to review Northwestern union ruling

    NLRB to review Northwestern union ruling

    Northwestern University's football players will cast ballots Friday on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes - a potentially landmark vote that will be kept sealed for months and possibly years. The National Labor Relations … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Column: 'There's better ways to conceal it.'

    Column: 'There's better ways to conceal it.'

    The thing that has baseball folks riled up about Michael Pineda isn't that he was trying to cheat. It had to qualify as the grossest violation ever of Rule 8.02(b), which says, ''The pitcher shall not ... have on his person, or in his possession, … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Whisenhunt looks forward to Titans' minicamp

    New Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt looks forward to discovering just how many holes the team filled through free agency. Whisenhunt said Thursday he's eager to see his team and begin an evaluation process that could affect the Titans' draft … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Arizona's Bolsinger gets first MLB win

    Arizona's Bolsinger gets first MLB win

    Pitching only 8 miles from where he grew up, Mike Bolsinger had more nerves than usual when he stepped on the mound at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. In front of about 20 family and friends, some of whom he hadn't seen in a long time after … More »

    AP - Sports - 24 minutes ago
  • Silver expects no CBA opt-out by union

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he has ''no expectation'' that players will opt out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2017, potentially leading to another lockout. … More »

    AP - Sports - 25 minutes ago
  • NASCAR hopes Track Takeover brings fans

    NASCAR hopes Track Takeover brings fans

    They are calling it ''Track Takeover'' at Richmond International Raceway, and track President Dennis Bickmeier hopes allowing fans onto the racing surface a few hours before race time on Saturday night will not only improve their experience at the … More »

    AP - Sports - 27 minutes ago
  • Yankees RHP Pineda suspended 10 games

    Yankees RHP Pineda suspended 10 games

    New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games Thursday after being caught using pine tar. ''I accept it,'' Pineda said before Thursday night's game at Fenway Park. Pineda was ejected in the second inning of Wednesday night's … More »

    AP - Sports - 31 minutes ago
  • Cal Poly baseball team is toast of the West Coast

    Cal Poly has long been known for turning out great engineers and architects. The San Luis Obispo school that produced Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith in the 1970s is enjoying its finest season since joining Division I in 1995. At 35-5, the Mustangs … More »

    AP - Sports - 33 minutes ago
  • Raptors ready for road test at Brooklyn

    Raptors ready for road test at Brooklyn

    NEW YORK (AP) -- If Dwane Casey has any concerns coming to Brooklyn, they aren't about his players. … More »

    AP - Sports - 34 minutes ago
  • Some rules regarding Northwestern union vote

    In the wake of a ruling by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that they qualify as employees under federal law, Northwestern football players are voting Friday on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes. … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • The 10-man rotation, starring a very cool time-lapse drawing of LeBron James (Video)

    The 10-man rotation, starring a very cool time-lapse drawing of LeBron James (Video)

    A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 36 minutes ago
  • Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

    Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

    By Toby Davis LONDON (Reuters) - A stunning late goal from Benfica's Lima left Juventus's hopes of reaching a home Europa League final hanging in the balance after a 2-1 first-leg defeat, while Sevilla won 2-0 against Valencia in Thursday's … More »

    Reuters - 36 minutes ago
  • NFL draft's most precarious pick: Jadeveon Clowney

    NFL draft's most precarious pick: Jadeveon Clowney

    If the South Carolina standout doesn’t live up to his potential, it's more than possible the blame will fall on his coaching staff for not fully unlocking his immense talent. They will get the burden of proof, because look at how talented Clowney … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 36 minutes ago
  • Mets hand Cards' Lynn first April loss

    Mets hand Cards' Lynn first April loss

    Daisuke Matsuzaka pinched his eyelids, clenched his teeth and thought back. After 123 starts during seven seasons in Major League Baseball, the 33-year-old right-hander was turned into a reliever by the New York Mets when they brought him up from … More »

    AP - Sports - 38 minutes ago
  • NCAA proposal for governance change

    Highlights from the proposal to change the NCAA's governance structure, which was endorsed Thursday by the NCAA's board of directors. A formal vote is not expected until the board's quarterly meeting in August: - The five biggest football … More »

    AP - Sports - 41 minutes ago
  • New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for 2015 unveiling: alumni

    New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for 2015 unveiling: alumni

    By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach" is set to begin two years after his image was removed from Penn State University because of a … More »

    Reuters - 44 minutes ago
  • George Hincapie offers an unvarnished look at cycling in new memoir

    George Hincapie offers an unvarnished look at cycling in new memoir

    George Hincapie was the "Loyal Lieutenant" who helped Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall. Now, Hincapie is talking again about one of the darkest eras in cycling. In a … More »

    The Canadian Press - 44 minutes ago
  • Texas' Kouzmanoff to have back evaluated

    Texas' Kouzmanoff to have back evaluated

    Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was scheduled to be evaluated Friday at home by a back specialist before the Rangers make a roster move to activate Adrian Beltre from the disabled list. Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .362 in 13 games and is the … More »

    AP - Sports - 45 minutes ago
  • Gomez helps spark aggressive Brewers' hot start

    Gomez helps spark aggressive Brewers' hot start

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Brewers' new leadoff hitter can aggravate pitchers by slugging homers or stealing bases. Carlos Gomez is flustering foes, and his energetic approach has helped Milwaukee jump out to the best record in baseball. … More »

    AP - Sports - 46 minutes ago
  • Legalize it! Joe Maddon jokes pine tar should be legal in Colorado and Washington

    Legalize it! Joe Maddon jokes pine tar should be legal in Colorado and Washington

    Rays manager jokingly compares MLB's pine tar problem to marijuana legalization. … More »

    Big League Stew - 46 minutes ago
  • Armstrong teammate Hincapie pens stark memoir

    Armstrong teammate Hincapie pens stark memoir

    George Hincapie was the ''Loyal Lieutenant'' who helped Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall. Now, Hincapie is talking again about one of the darkest eras in cycling. In … More »

    AP - Sports - 48 minutes ago
  • Twins get rare road series win vs. Rays

    Twins get rare road series win vs. Rays

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Sam Fuld had enjoyed plenty of success at Tropicana Field. For the Minnesota Twins, big moments in the ballpark had been fleeting. … More »

    AP - Sports - 48 minutes ago
  • Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    Spencer Dinwiddie expects to be healthy and wealthy by summer's end. The University of Colorado star point guard announced Thursday he's skipping his senior season and will declare for the NBA draft. Dinwiddie said at a news conference in Boulder, … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Former Rangers great Jardine dies aged 65

    Former Rangers and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine has died at the age of 65 after battling cancer for 18 months, the Glasgow club said on Thursday. Jardine made almost 800 appearances for Rangers, winning three league titles, and was twice voted … More »

    Reuters - 53 minutes ago
  • Bills hire Dixon as pro scout

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills have hired Gerald Dixon as a pro scout. … More »

    AP - Sports - 56 minutes ago
  • NCAA endorses more power for big schools

    NCAA endorses more power for big schools

    The NCAA's board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences on Thursday, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation's biggest schools more autonomy in how to fund … More »

    AP - Sports - 56 minutes ago
  • US ski coach gets 4 months for money laundering

    The head coach of the U.S. Alpine speed team, Andreas Evers, was fired by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Thursday, hours after the Austrian was sentenced to four months in prison plus 20 months on probation for money laundering. ''Core … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 0 minutes ago
  • Sevilla earn two-goal cushion against Valencia

    Stephane MBia and Carlos Bacca were on target for Sevilla as they took a big step towards reaching the Europa League final with a 2-0 victory over Valencia on Thursday. The Andalusian side continued their good form which has seen them win nine of … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 1 minute ago
  • Ducks unsure on Getzlaf, mum on goalie

    Ducks unsure on Getzlaf, mum on goalie

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Two-thirds of the Anaheim Ducks' top line is injured, including their captain and leading scorer. Their most beloved player has been benched, and their rookie goalie looks shakier with every game. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 6 minutes ago
  • Henrik Zetterberg a game-time decision for Red Wings in all-important Game 4

    Henrik Zetterberg a game-time decision for Red Wings in all-important Game 4

    The Detroit Red Wings' locker room is bursting with new life. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 1 hour 6 minutes ago
  • No Bills cheerleaders in 2014 after suit

    Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year. Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 8 minutes ago
  • Yankees lose Nova to Tommy John surgery

    Yankees lose Nova to Tommy John surgery

    BOSTON (AP) -- New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 11 minutes ago