Georges St-Pierre, arguably the best welterweight in MMA history, is suspending his hiatus from competition and coming back to action in 2017.
MMA Fighting has reported that St-Pierre has agreed to terms with the UFC and is close to signing a new multi-fight contract that could see him return to the octagon by the third quarter of this year.
His return has been a topic of debate for years. Mainly due to his deliberate refusal to use the word ‘retirement’ in any press during his absence. Late last year, St-Pierre expressed his desire to come back to the UFC and voluntarily entered USADA’S four-month reintroduction program.
It was rumored that he would return to action in December for UFC 206 in Toronto, but negotiations stalled and prevented it from happening. A lot has changed since GSP last fought, fueling much of the disaccord between he and the promotion. The key hurdles stemmed from St-Pierre wanting to renegotiate his 2011 contract, which had provisions for him to be able to represent his own sponsors. Something he cannot do now in the Reebok era. One of the UFC’s counter arguments was that they would need to heavily invest in reintroducing GSP to the market since he had been gone for so long.
Soon after, St-Pierre went public stating that after going over the contract with his lawyer, and with the UFC not offering him a match within the terms of his contract, he was now officially a free agent. The escalation seemed to have worked because days later he was in Las Vegas, sitting down with the UFC brass in the first step to making this new deal.
His return will be a much-needed added value to the UFC. Especially in a year with little to no superstar matchups on the horizon. There will be no shortage of potential matchups for St-Pierre upon his return. Michael Bisping has already flown the idea of a big money fight against him. He has the option of working his way back up against top 10 competition in the welterweight division if he chooses to go that route. There is also the possibility of him coming straight back into the welterweight title picture, seeing as he never lost the belt he defended nine times before he left. Lastly, he has the option of coming back and fighting in fun, name value fights with the likes of Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, BJ Penn, etc.
Whichever route he decides to embark on, it will be entertaining to see what a 35 year old GSP, after three plus years away will look like.
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Opening odds for GSP's next opponent, per Bovada:
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) February 15, 2017