Former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has officially signed a deal to return to the UFC. The L.A. Times were the first to report the deal being finalized. Reports had surfaced early this week that GSP and the UFC had agreed to terms on a new deal but pen had not touched the paper just yet. All that has changed and now the longest welterweight champion in company history is set to return.
St. Pierre (25-2) last fought in 2013 when he defeated Johny Hendricks to retain his championship. After the victory GSP vacated his title and stated that he needed to step away from the sport for a while.
GSP has been known of his even keel temperament had been very vocal against the UFC prior to his departure about the lack of consistent drug testing of all its fighters. Since GSP’s hiatus the UFC tasked the USADA to help crack down on performance enhancing drug use and we all know the success they have had finding all of the violators.
Rumors of a GSP return have been making their way around the MMA community in recent months but for a short while it seemed as though his return would not be inside the UFC’s octagon. It was reported that negotiations between the UFC and GSP had reached an impasse and the former champion declared himself a free agent. While specifics were never released the UFC’s deal with Reebok seemed to be a big hurdle as GSP has been associated with Under Armour for many years. A UFC return looked even bleaker when GSP aligned himself the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), a union that was seeking better insurance, payouts, and more from the UFC. GSP had also been seen in photo ops with Bellator president Scott Coker in recent months.
While a return to the welterweight division seems only natural, UFC president Dana White gave many options as to who GSP could face upon his return, “It could be the winner between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be Michael Bisping.”
GSP has flirted with the middleweight division in the past, especially when talks of a super fight between he and Anderson Silva were at a high back when both men ruled their respective divisions. Probably the most interesting thing that White stated was GSP’s desire to actually go down a weight class, “Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds. He says he can make the weight.”A run at lightweight could only mean a super fight between GSP and the “Notorious” Conor McGregor. That might be interesting enough for McGregor to end his chase of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
No date has been announced for GSP’s return but as stated by White there are many things that need to happen before the organization can decide which route will earn the most money for all parties involved.