Georges St-Pierre says ring rust will be a factor when he returns after almost 4 years away from the UFC.
When Georges St-Pierre faces off against Michael Bisping, he not only will be moving up in weight for the first time, he will also be returning from almost a 4 year layoff. While outliers such as Dominick Cruz and Chan Sung Jung have proven that immediately returning at the highest level can be done, many fighters have struggled even with much shorter layoffs than GSP’s.
The former bantamweight champion in Cruz has always claimed that ring rust isn’t real, but St-Pierre thinks it will be a factor for him.
“I believe in ring rust,” St-Pierre said in a recent Q&A with his sponsor, Hayabusa. “It will be an issue, but I am a very experienced man. I’m one of the guys who have spent the most time in the Octagon, maybe the most — I’m not sure — in terms of time. I think because I have more experience, the more time I spend, as the time goes, the more comfortable I will be.”
Related: Video: GSP shows off physique: I’m the biggest I’ve ever been
According to the former welterweight champion, the opening moments of the fight against Bisping will be critical.
“For me it will be very important, the first second of the fight, that’s when I should be very aware, careful. That will be the most dangerous moment for me,” he said. “With ring rust, that’s the hardest part of the fight — when you just step in and the fights start. The difficulty of adaptation. But after a few minutes, I will be back to normal.”
According to St-Pierre, while his layoff could cause some rust, he is confident that he has learned and improved more on his skillset during that time out.
“Preparation pretty much looks the same, but I’m going to try and get a little bit bigger. I’m working on different stuff, like I went back more to Karate training,” he explained.
“A lot of new tools, I’ve been acquiring during my time off. It’s not only what I’m going to do to get prepared for Bisping (in camp), it’s what I’ve been doing through my time off since the last almost 4 years, that will help me have new weapons for that fight.”
Apart from those skills, GSP visually now looks much heavier as he prepares to move up in weight, and claims to be the biggest he has ever been in his life.