X

Georges St-Pierre Negotiating Return to UFC, Interested in Bisping and McGregor

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2016

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 16:  Georges St-Pierre walks to the Octagon to face Johny Hendricks in their UFC welterweight championship bout during the UFC 167 event inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 16, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Georges St-Pierre is back...almost.

The former (but still lineal) UFC welterweight champion spoke with MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour (warning: NSFW language) and indicated that, mentally and physically, he is completely ready to return to the Octagon.

When asked flat-out if he was officially announcing his return to competition, St-Pierre replied, "Exactly. That's what I'm saying. I'm ready." He continued on later (via MMAFighting.com's Shaun Al-Shatti): "I've been training ... I didn't fight, but I put myself through a training camp and I sparred and everything, and I did it successfully. Now I know for a fact that I could go back and fight, if my management and the UFC get to an agreement."

Shaheen Al-Shatti @shaunalshatti

GSP on #themmahour says he successfully finished a test training camp: "Now I know for a fact that I could go back and fight."

St-Pierre is regarded as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, with a career record of 25-2 defined by his two UFC welterweight titles and his nine-fight reign as champion from 2008 to 2013.

He was last seen in the cage at UFC 167, where he narrowly (and controversially) defeated Johny Hendricks via split decision. He announced an indefinite leave from the sport immediately after the fight and officially vacated the title a month later.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Despite UFC President Dana White publicly stating in 2015 that he was "done" fighting, per Luke Thomas of MMAFighting.com, murmurs from St-Pierre's entourage persisted throughout the hiatus. They picked up late last year when news broke that he was reuniting with his longtime boxing coach Freddie Roach for a test camp. That and his regular training regimen seem to have mentally refreshed St-Pierre.

So what's the holdup on his return? Contract negotiations, of course.

Back in April, St-Pierre discussed with Helwani (via MMAFighting.com's Marc Raimondi) some of his and his managers' concerns about his existing contract and how it meshed with the current UFC landscape (particularly the Reebok uniform policy).

While the discussion has evidently moved forward, he made it clear on Monday that it is still ongoing:

I'm an emotional guy. My agents, even before I came on the show today, they briefed me. They said, "Don't say this, don't say that." They briefed me, they said, "We're in negotiations, remember, blah, blah, blah." Like, yeah, yeah, yeah, don't worry, I'm not a kid. But I'm an emotional guy, and when I get emotional sometimes, I say things that aren't necessarily in the best of my interests, and I'm trying to not go overboard with that.

In terms of potential opponents, St-Pierre pointed to newly minted middleweight champion Michael Bisping as his preferred foe but also indicated that he could drop down to the lightweight division. That throws open the door to a number of interesting fights, including Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz and Rafael Dos Anjos.

While there aren't any specifics, St-Pierre fans can officially get excited about his career again and will hopefully be impressed by his return performancewhenever that may be.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X