MANILA, Philippines – Showing little signs of ring rust, Georges St-Pierre took down interim champion Carlos Condit at will to earn a unanimous decision victory and become the undisputed UFC welterweight champion in the main event of UFC 154 in Montreal, Canada.
St-Pierre has not fought in over a year after suffering a knee injury, but looked like his old self against Condit.
He took down Condit with ease and wore down the interim champion with ground-and-pound, while staying out of the way of Condit's jab.
All three judges gave the fight to St. Pierre, with scores of 49-46, 50-45, and 50-45.
Condit threatened in the third round when he connected on a head kick that sent St-Pierre sprawling to the canvas. He swarmed the Canadian with punches, but St-Pierre survived the onslaught and controlled the rest of the round.
"I didn't see the kick," St-Pierre said in a post-fight interview. "I think the round before, I got punched in the eyes and my eyes were blurry. I never saw the kick."
"Carlos did a great job. He got a nice combo, and I never saw the kick. What you don't see is what is dangerous," he added.
Condit admitted then when he connected with the leg kick, he thought he "had it."
"He was still coherent, but I was trying to put some leather on him and finish off the job. You know, maybe I'll get him next time," Condit said.
Although he looked remarkably sharp in his first bout back from injury, St-Pierre said he felt a bit of ring rust.
"People talk about the ring rust, and I definitely know what it is now. Carlos Condit gave me my toughest fight. He's an amazing martial artist, and this loss will make him better," he said.
St-Pierre, who was fighting in front of his hometown of Montreal, said he missed the "feel of the Octagon, the feel of the ground, and the crowd" while rehabbing from the knee injury.
"I was out, but I was thinking about it everyday," he said.
In the undercard, Johnny Hendricks solidified his status as a top contender in the welterweight division after a stunning knockout of Martin Kampmann.
Hendricks needed only 46 seconds to stop Kampmann, with his left hand connecting solidly with Kampmann's jaw.