MANILA, Philippines -- Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is optimistic that he can return to the Octagon by November later this year.
St. Pierre is sidelined after sustaining an ACL injury in his left knee, causing him to pull out of his title defense against No. 1 contender Nick Diaz, slated for UFC 143 on February 4.
In an interview with Inside MMA, St. Pierre said he hopes to start hard training in July.
"I hope I can go back by November... late October, beginning of November, that would be good," he said.
St. Pierre said the ACL injury was the biggest one of his career.
"I had a first injury in my left knee and I tried to come back too fast. I was compensating with my other leg," he said. "That's how I hurt myself."
With St. Pierre on the shelf, Diaz is now set to face Carlos Condit at UFC 143 for the interim welterweight championship. The winner of that bout will go on to fight St. Pierre for the undisputed championship.
St. Pierre admitted that he is hoping Diaz will be the winner.
"I wish Nick Diaz would win that fight because I want to fight Nick Diaz. I don't wanna fight Carlos Condit," he said.
"That's really the fight I wanted since the beginning, and it didn't happen... I like Carlos Condit better as a person, but I would rather fight Nick Diaz," St. Pierre added.
"I hope the best man will win, but if the best man is Nick Diaz, I will appreciate it more."
Diaz has repeatedly taunted St. Pierre, even accusing him of faking an injury to get out a fight. St. Pierre admitted that Diaz's trash talk has fired him up.
"I'm at my best when I have pressure on my shoulders. I'm at my best when someone is picking on me," he said.
St. Pierre said he will not be thinking about defending his belt when he faces off against the Condit-Diaz winner.
"I'm not thinking, 'I'm the champion.' I'm thinking, I'm gonna fight for the title," he said.