This could not have worked out better for the UFC.
Welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre returned from an 18-month layoff to land a huge victory over Carlos Condit. In a fight that went all five rounds, the defending champion scored a victory via unanimous decision.
This was no soft landing for GSP. Condit is an elite fighter and this win proves to the MMA world that GSP's career is far from over.
The buzz around this fight was high, and the speculation and hype for GSP's next fight is already getting fired up. The 31-year-old champ has been one of the sport's biggest stars, and he picked up right where he left off.
His win over Condit, in his first fight back after a long layoff, is going to lead to some nice paydays for St-Pierre and the UFC.
GSP has been the biggest draw the UFC has known. As Yahoo's Kevin Iole reports, GSP's last fight, on April 30, 2011 "...drew a North American record crowd of 55,724 that paid a UFC record gate of $12.1 million to UFC 129 in Toronto."
His ability to bring in the audience certainly is not lost on UFC president Dana White. Iole also passed along this quote from White:
For him to be gone, I mean it sucks. The guy fights three times a year and he's the biggest pay-per-view draw in the company. Yes, when he's gone for over a year, it's definitely not a good thing.
Well, good times are here again. GSP is now set for a huge year. There is a good chance he will be taking on middleweight champion Anderson Silva next, and that fight would almost be guaranteed to set sales records.
There is also the potential that he will butt heads with Nick Diaz. This will be another crowd-pleaser.
GSP already has a wonderful legacy waiting for him, but he is sitting on the verge of becoming a timeless legend, and the UFC will profit along the way.