UFC Announces Return of MMA Legend Georges St-Pierre
Don’t tell the UFC they can’t make some serious noise without Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.
UFC showrunner Dana White has been proving that lately with some solid main events, but may have pulled a rabbit out of his hat with his latest announcement.
Per reports, the UFC has reached an agreement with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to return to the Octagon:
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 17, 2017
Long Awaited Return
Georges St-Pierre has taken a leave of absence back in 2013, when he willingly vacated his welterweight title following an intense match with Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
Many MMA fans assumed Georges St-Pierre retired after being away from the UFC for three years, but per White, negotiations for a Georges St-Pierre comeback had been ongoing for some time:
“He’s back. I’m excited,” White said. “We worked at it for a long time and finally got it done.”
While it’s unknown just how long the UFC and George St-Pierre were working together with a return in mind, fans of the sport have been pining for Georges St-Pierre to come back to the sport he dominated ever since he left.
Georges St-Pierre walked away very much in his prime, as the man known as “Rush” hadn’t lost a fight 12 consecutive fights. During that impressive run, GSP took down big names such as Hendricks, B.J. Penn, Nick Diaz, Thiago Alves and many others.
St-Pierre could have left the MMA world for good with a borderline unscathed record (25-2), with just one loss in his career coming by knockout and the other coming by submission. St-Pierre went on a torrid 12-0 run after his only career KO, however, and three years later returns to continue his streak.
Immediate Title Shot?
As massive as this Georges St-Pierre news really is, the more interesting element is who he will face first in his return to the Octagon. The knee-jerk reaction could have Georges St-Pierre lining up for an immediate title fight, and it certainly would make sense considering GSP did leave at the top of his game, willingly giving up the title he successfully defended.
Even a title shot will need to wait, however, as Tyron Woodley – the current welterweight champion – is slated to defend his title belt for a second time in a rematch with the brute Stephen Thompson.
Woodley and Thompson worked their way to a respectable draw in the first meeting, while the winner of their hyped UFC 209 battle will be playing for a title and the likely right to take on a living legend.
While a shot at the title is likely due Georges St-Pierre’s elite history in the UFC, it could also make sense for GSP to require a warm-up match or two. Considering Woodley and Thompson aren’t likely to pick up and fight too quickly after UFC 209, an anxious GSP could desire to hop back into the Octagon to shake off the rust.
In addition to Georges St-Pierre probably wanting to dip his toe back into the MMA game to prove he’s still got it, it’s also possible the UFC will want him to prove his worth in an initial fight, as well.
GSP is either getting handed a title fight right away, or the UFC will ask him to take down another viable contender to earn that shot.
If that happens, GSP could face a long list of potential fighters. The top options, at least initially, seem to be welterweight stars like Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia or Donald Cerrone.
For now, UFC fans collectively are simply excited to get a true MMA legend back in their view. It’s worth wondering if a now 35-year old Georges St-Pierre has enough left in the tank to not only be passable, but again a champion. It could go either way at this point, but there is only one way to find out.
No fight announcement has been made for Georges St-Pierre’s return at this time, but following UFC 209, something tells us we’ll all be getting more exciting George St-Pierre news.
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