Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping Fight Announced by Dana White

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2017

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 12:  MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre arrives at the Official F1 Heineken Party After The Canadian Grand Prix, on June 12, 2016 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images for Heineken)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

UFC chief Dana White confirmed on Wednesday that Georges St-Pierre will make his return to the Octagon to fight for Michael Bisping's middleweight title in 2017.

White revealed the news on Wednesday during an appearance on SportsCenter and suggested the bout will take place later this year, per MMA Fighting:

The UFC president also revealed the bout will be staged in Las Vegas, Nevada to TSN Sports, per Aaron Bronsteter:

St-Pierre, rated as one of the greatest welterweights of all time, has been out of action since November 2013, when he won a split decision against Johny Hendricks to retain the welterweight belt.

There's been plenty of speculation as to when the 35-year-old was going to return to action, and it seems fans of the former champion will not have to wait much longer to see him compete again.

MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani provided more information relayed by White, who suggested lightweight champion Conor McGregor was not considered as a potential opponent for St-Pierre:

Plenty will be excited about the return of St-Pierre, as he's among the most talented competitors to feature in the UFC.

Before his hiatus from the sport, the Canadian had long been the dominant force in the welterweight class, putting together a run of 12 wins in succession. After beating Matt Serra to become champion in 2008, St-Pierre defended the title on nine further occasions in a row.

With such immaculate pedigree, perhaps it's not a surprise to see the former welterweight champion given a shot at Bisping. But MMA journalist James Lynch suggested other elite middleweights may be miffed that St-Pierre immediately got an opportunity to challenge for the title:

Since St-Pierre took a break from the UFC, Bisping has gone about cementing his reputation as one of the strongest fighters in the company.

Having beaten Anderson Silva in London in 2016, he received a shot at the title against Luke Rockhold in June of the same year, stepping in for Chris Weidman. The Englishman shocked the watching world with a first-round knockout to become a UFC champion for the first time in his long career.

Bisping has been in brilliant form recently.
Bisping has been in brilliant form recently.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The bout against St-Pierre is set to be Bisping's second defence, having beaten his nemesis Dan Henderson in October via unanimous decision. Indeed, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden believes the Englishman has the attributes to get the better of St-Pierre too:

A fascinating evening is undoubtedly in store when these two meet. All eyes will be on St-Pierre to see not only whether his fighting instincts remain as razor-sharp as they once were, but also how he fares in a division up from the one in which he memorably made his name.

Having already beaten some legendary fighters in Silva, Rockhold and Henderson, Bisping can potentially add another huge scalp to his impressive index of UFC triumphs.