4 Best Fights for Georges St-Pierre's Return to Competition

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent IJune 25, 2014

4 Best Fights for Georges St-Pierre's Return to Competition

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    GSP had a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Batroc the Leaper.
    GSP had a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Batroc the Leaper.John Shearer/Associated Press

    Georges St-Pierre is the former UFC welterweight champion and is one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. St-Pierre has held the title twice and defended it a total of nine times.

    After a decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013, St-Pierre decided to take "an indefinite hiatus" and vacated his welterweight title.

    During his time on hiatus, he managed to tear his ACL for a second time, although on a different leg than his first ACL tear.

    An injury like that may cause some fighters to take a step closer to retirement, but according to St-Pierre's trainer, Firas Zahabi, St-Pierre is even more motivated to make his UFC return now.

    The welterweight division has changed tremendously in the time that St-Pierre has been out. According to the UFC rankings, of the top-16 fighters in the division, St-Pierre has faced only two.

    That is a long way off from the times when people were saying GSP had cleaned out the division.

    With that in mind, let's check out the four best fights for GSP's return to the Octagon.

Matt Brown

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Matt Brown is currently ranked No. 5 in the welterweight division and is scheduled to face Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on Fox 12. The winner of that fight is due to receive a title shot.

    Brown has been with the UFC since 2008, when he was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 7, where he lost to eventual winner, Amir Sadollah.

    Brown's most recent fight before St-Pierre's hiatus was a 29-second knockout of Mike Pyle. At that point, Brown was being looked at as a possible contender but nowhere near the level of attention he has now.

    After that fight, Brown knocked out Erick Silva and is now scheduled for a No. 1 contender match.

    A fight with St-Pierre would give Brown a chance to show his toughness and durability against a fighter with the athleticism of St-Pierre. And it would be a winnable comeback fight for St-Pierre if he performs up to his usual level.

Dong Hyun Kim

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    Victor Fraile/Getty Images

    Dong Hyun Kim has been talking about Georges St-Pierre for at least three years now.

    His UFC record is 10-2 (1 NC), and he has won four straight fights. Kim has had only one fight since St-Pierre's hiatus, which was a knockout victory over John Hathaway.

    Kim is currently ranked No. 9 in the division, although his next fight will give him a chance to jump up the rankings. He was supposed to face No. 6-ranked Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 48. But an injury forced Lombard out, and No. 4-ranked Tyron Woodley accepted the fight.

    No matter what happens with Kim and Woodley, a fight with St-Pierre would be a good gauge to see how St-Pierre feels before jumping into the tip-top of the division. Or it would give Kim a chance to solidify himself as a serious title threat.

Tarec Saffiedine

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    Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

    Tarec Saffiedine is a bit of a wild card in the welterweight division. He is currently ranked No. 10 in the division, but he's had only one fight in the Octagon.

    Saffiedine was the final Strikeforce welterweight champion, a title he won by earning a unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt. Overall, he has won five in a row dating back to 2011. He is 8-1 in his last nine fights with the only loss coming at the hands of Tyron Woodley.

    Saffiedine has been booked for fights with Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger, but injuries to Saffiedine have caused him to drop out of both. The UFC wants to get him a top-15 opponent but simply haven't managed to, yet.

    St-Pierre may not technically be a top-15 opponent, but a fight with him may be just what Saffiedine needs, while a fight against Saffiedine is a strong option for GSP.

Johny Hendricks If He Isn't Champion

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    Johny Hendricks faced off against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167 in November 2013.

    After a back-and-forth war, which won Fight of the Night, St-Pierre was declared the winner by split-decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).

    It was an incredibly close fight, which Hendricks still thinks that he won. While he claims he wouldn't care if GSP were to retire, you can be sure he would jump at the opportunity to face St-Pierre for a second time.

    If this fight does take place—depending on Hendricks' status in the division at that point—their fight could be a No. 1 contender match.

    It's possible that St-Pierre would fight Hendricks even if Hendricks is still the champion. But I think it's unlikely for GSP to be offered an immediate title shot and even more unlikely that he would accept such an offer.