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Georges St. Pierre doesn’t expect to be ready until late 2012

If all goes as planned, UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre is positive he’ll be back inside the Octagon before 2012 is over with…but barely.

St. Pierre, who was scheduled to meet Nick Diaz on February 4 to defend his title, underwent knee surgery roughly five weeks ago after tearing his ACL while preparing for Diaz.

The injury, which has been the most severe of the 30-year old’s career, was kind of a Catch-22 situation as the Canadian was putting more pressure on his right left after injuring his left in training for a bout with Carlos Condit late in 2011. Now, Diaz and Condit will meet for the interim UFC welterweight title with the winner likely facing off with GSP later in the year after an initial defense of the belt.

“Hard training will be in July, and I am looking to fight again, for the timing to be back, in November,” said St. Pierre while serving as a recent guest on Inside MMA . “Late October, early November would be good.”

“Rush” mentioned that he didn’t take enough time to rehab himself from the first injury, adding, “I tried to come back too fast and I was compensating with my other leg. That’s how I hurt myself.”

As for the upcoming Diaz-Condit bout that will crown a champion in his place, St. Pierre started out neutral before offering up his personal preference, saying, “I just hope the best man will win. But if the best man is Nick Diaz, I will appreciate it more, because it will be a better build up for a fight.”

When St. Pierre returns it will have been around 18 months since he last set foot in the Octagon, a concern for many who felt he would be back by late summer after news of his knee injury first broke.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC