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Wednesday, December 7, 2011
From primetime to cut down in his prime

By Chuck Mindenhall

Georges St-Pierre
What a headache: 2011 has been anything but fair to welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre.
At this point, Carlos Condit’s opponents are like eye floaters -- he can’t focus on them long enough to make out the shapes. This time, Condit had Josh Koscheck in his crosshairs for a forebodingly booked Super Bowl weekend. Before Koscheck became the face, he had B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre alternating in his sights ahead of UFC 137, never to fight any. His Koscheck fight was supposed to be a No. 1 contender bout (for him, anyway), but now Koscheck has morphed into Nick Diaz, and a theoretical belt is at stake instead of a theoretical chance at an actual one.

It’s all been very confusing.

News came down today from Dana White via Twitter that St. Pierre has a torn ACL injury that will sideline him for 10 months. That is lousy information for everybody, not the least of which is UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. We’re back to foe-swapping in early 2012, which was a running plague in 2011. With St. Pierre’s long-term inactivity now an issue, Diaz/Condit will be for the dreaded interim title in the welterweight division, which is befitting to a guy like Condit who has been stuck in interim situations going on a long while now.

As for the new fight? It looks fantastic. Neither guy knows boring. But right this second, that’s merely a silver lining.

The sad wayside belongs to St. Pierre, who with a blown-out knee and a lengthy rehabilitation period ahead, will lose more than a whole year of his prime. When he returns, he’ll be 31 years old, and fresh crops of challengers will be knocking. He may never clean out the 170-pound division at this rate. And it means that he and fellow pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva -- the superfight forever relegated to supertheory -- are going to miss the bulk of 2012. It means time clicks off the clock for the UFC’s longest reigning champions right as the UFC kicks its “take over the world campaign” into fifth gear. It means a lot of hijacked contenders; a lot of new questions. It means more makeshift, and more sentences that start with, “it was originally supposed to be ...”

Luckily, the UFC had a triptych of free fights to announce right after dropping that news. Evans/Davis, Sonnen/Munoz and Maia/Bisping will be fighting in Chicago with title implications rampant on Jan. 28. Time stops for nobody. Except maybe for the current welterweight champion St. Pierre, who will watch the landscape change below him as he comes back from a bitter injury with cruel timing.

And as for Condit? He’ll have to keep his fingers crossed that Diaz stays out of trouble, lest he morph back into Koscheck.