When Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy takes on Mike (Quick) Swick next week at UFC 105 in Manchester, England, the most interested observer cageside will be Canadian Georges St. Pierre.
"Apparently I will probably fight the winner of this fight so I'm going to be watching it very carefully," St. Pierre told The Canadian Press.
The welterweight champion from Montreal has recovered from the abductor muscle tear -- in three places -- that he sustained in beating Thiago Alves at UFC 100 in July.
"My injury is 100 per cent now, I'm ready to go. I'm waiting to see what's going to happen next with the UFC. . . . I look forward to fighting again and I can't wait to see what's going to happen between Swick and Hardy," he added.
St. Pierre is more concerned that the winner of Hardy-Swick might leave the cage injured Nov. 14.
"Maybe one of these guys is going to break a hand. We don't know. it's mixed martial arts. it's a brutal sport. We don't know what's going to happen. Hopefully the winner of the fight is going to be 100 per cent and we'll be able to do it early next year."
St. Pierre has already cut a swath through the 170-pound division. He has comprehensively beaten top contenders Jon Fitch and Alves, defeated former champion Matt Hughes twice, stopped lightweight title-holder B.J. Penn and avenged a title-losing knockout at the hands of Matt (The Terror) Serra.
He is running out of contenders.
Swick was initially slated to meet Martin (The Hitman) Kampmann at UFC 103 in September but had to drop out after suffering a concussion in training. English fighter Paul (Semtex) Daley stepped in for Swick and upset Kampmann, removing the American-based Dane from the title picture.
Hardy, Daley's training partner, was the benefactor of Kampmann's loss. He has stepped in to take on Swick in a fight that has bumped the middleweight matchup of Michael Bisping and Canadian Denis Kang as the co-main event at UFC 105. Light-heavyweights Randy (The Natural) Couture and Brandon (The Truth) Vera headline the card at the MEN Arena.
St. Pierre (19-2) says he doesn't much mind who's next in front of him.
"It doesn't matter who I'm fighting, it's always dangerous. I learned my mistake when I fought Matt Serra, who was a big underdog. I'm the kind of person who never makes the same mistake twice."
Hardy (22-6 with one no contest) has fought just three times in the UFC, posting wins over Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham and Marcus (The Irish Hand Grenade) Davis. But GSP says the charismatic Brit has earned his spot near the front of the welterweight contenders' line.
"He's a great fighter, he really deserves it. ... He's got very lethal, very powerful hands. He can knock you out with one punch. It's always a big danger when you fight a guy like him."
Hardy, while not looking past Swick, says GSP is on his dance card.
"That's what I'm in the sport for at the end of the day. He's got what I want and whether it takes me three months to get there or three years I'm still going to be chasing his heels. Certainly I think that at some point in the future we'll meet and I look forward to it, be it straight after the Swick fight or later on in my career."
St. Pierre also respects Swick's skills.
"Mike Swick is very very fast, has probably the fastest hands in MMA. A very accurate puncher, he's very well-rounded so it's going to be a very interesting fight. They both have the tools to beat each other. I think the winner of this fight will be the guy who has the best strategy and who fights the smartest."
Swick (14-2) is a former middleweight who is 9-1 in the UFC.
St. Pierre did not require surgery to repair his groin injury. Instead he went to the renowned Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo, where he was treated by Dr. Marc J. Philippon, a fellow Quebecer.
There he had his own blood platelets injected into the injured area to help speed up the healing.
"He has the reputation (for) being the best surgeon for this injury in the world. He has done many baseball players, football players," St. Pierre said of Philippon.
St. Pierre resumed limited training two weeks later, working mostly on his boxing until the groin injury was properly healed.
GSP's boxing partners have included Librado Andrade (due to take on IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute in a rematch) and Enrique Ornelas (slated to meet Bernard Hopkins).
"Even though my groin was hurting, I was working on my boxing," said St. Pierre. "It just made me a better fighter. I always train, I always work."
"He's always training. That guy never stops," said Canadian middleweight Denis Kang, a friend and training partner.
"I wish I could have his work ethic."
Notes -- The UFC and WEC held a "fighter summit" meeting Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas ... Halifax welterweight T.J. Grant takes on Kevin (The Fire) Burns at UFC 107 in Memphis on Dec. 12. The UFC has confirmed that Jon Fitch will take on Mike Pierce on the same card. But it appears heavyweight Todd Duffee is off the card after a training injury. "Sorry," the big heavyweight said on Facebook as website reported his fight was off ... "Hope all of you are having a better day than me," UFC president Dana White tweeted Wednesday, attaching a photo of his Ferrari with its right front end crumpled from a traffic accident.