The rumors have since been proved to be legit — former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre will be making a long-awaited return to the UFC, company president Dana White confirmed last week. Now the only remaining questions are: when will fans get to see him in the cage again, and who will be standing across from him when it happens?
The most obvious answer would be that GSP gets to fight whomever is the welterweight champion after Tyron Woodley defends the belt against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 209 in early March. The two previously fought to a majority draw at UFC 205 in Woodley’s very first title defense. However, St-Pierre’s trainer Firas Zahabi recently told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that the former champ isn’t necessarily looking to regain the belt he never technically lost.
“It’s all about intriguing matchups. I don’t think he wants to get a title and defend it for two or three years,” Zahabi said.
Before taking a self-imposed sabbatical from the sport, St-Pierre was a two-time welterweight champion who had lost only a single time in his last 19 fights, which included nine straight title defenses before he walked away. Now it sounds like he is only interested in whichever fight will sell the most pay-per-views, and therefore pad his bank account. The names of middleweight champ Michael Bisping and lightweight champ Conor McGregor have been thrown around, both of which would likely end up doing huge PPV numbers.
“I was really happy when there was buzzing of Bisping or McGregor. I thought those were two epic fights,” Zahabi added. “McGregor is such a mega star. If you put those two in a main event I don’t think anyone in the world wouldn’t watch.”
As for which weight class GSP will compete in, the jury is still out. The cut down to 155-pounds for a lightweight match with McGregor is almost certainly out of the question, although McGregor has previously fought twice at welterweight (170-pounds). A move to middleweight (185-pounds) would be the easiest, physically speaking, for the 35-year-old St-Pierre, but he could also just remain at welterweight, where he was always one of the biggest fighters in the division after his team nearly perfected the large weight cut.