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Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre: 'I'm ready' to return to MMA

After nearly 3 years away from the Octagon, legendary UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre is inching closer to making his return to MMA.

The last time we saw Georges St-Pierre competing in an MMA bout, he narrowly and controversially defeated Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, on November 16th, 2013. Immediately after the fight, GSP announced he would go on hiatus from the sport, and his belt was relinquished. Speculation about his potential comeback has been consistently in the news just about as quickly as he abruptly stepped away from it, and it looks like if negotiations with the UFC are successful, the former welterweight champion is headed back inside the Octagon.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour, the 35-year-old St-Pierre explained why he feels he's ready to get in the cage again, and the final steps necessary for him to officially return to the UFC.

"What I did is I did a training camp to see where I'm at," St-Pierre said. "I've been training, but being in shape and being in fighting shape is something different. I did a training to push myself and go back to the highest level of competition. 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.

"I love my sport and I still feel I'm at my best right now. The clock is running. I'm not getting any younger. I'm in the peak of my career and if there is a shot, there is another goal, another run, I better do it and do it quick, because it is time to do it now."

(Quotes via MMA Fighting)

Stepping aside from the speculative details on the negotiations between GSP's management and the UFC, particularly the Reebok deal and the monetary terms of a new contract, there is plenty of curiosity as to whom GSP would face in a comeback fight. One of the options that Georges is open to is none other than middleweight champion Michael Bisping.

"If it's a fight that the fans and the UFC want to make, they've got my number," St-Pierre said. "They can call my agent, no problem. We can organize to make that happen and make an agreement.

"Look, it's something big," GSP continued. "You just give me the chills thinking about it, because it's not the first time that people have mentioned it. I'm sure Michael and his side people have talked to him about it, because he creates a lot of buzz. I always said if I come back, I would come back for something very big. Bisping is the man to beat right now. He beat Silva, he knocked out Rockhold, Rockhold beat Jacare and Weidman. [Bisping is] bigger than me. [When I was fighting as a welterweight] I never really considered going up and going back down after, because I was the welterweight champion. Now that I've retired, I can make things more experimentally. I could, if I want to, fight at lightweight, as well. It would be easy for me. I could fight at welterweight, and I can also fight at middleweight. I'm not a big welterweight, and even though Michael Bisping is bigger than me, I believe if I fight him, I believe I'll beat him."

Bisping expressed interest in fighting either Dan Henderson or GSP in his first title defense, and later claimed that someone from GSP's camp reached out to him about a potential showdown, but GSP says that this never actually happened.

The full interview can be seen at the top of the page, starting at the 3:12:25 mark.