It’s been nearly four years since Georges St-Pierre last stepped foot inside the UFC’s Octagon, and it looks as if 2017 will finally be the year we see him return to MMA competition.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday that GSP “is on the verge of signing a new multi-fight contract with the promotion,” and that “both sides have agreed to terms on a new deal.” While nothing is official just yet, Helwani also added that “a return in the third quarter of 2017 is currently being targeted.”
If (or when) there’s an official announcement of the former welterweight champion’s new contract, it’ll signify the end of a multi-year whirlwind of speculation surrounding a GSP comeback. St-Pierre said in late 2014 that he didn’t know if he’d return to MMA, Dana White predicted that St-Pierre would fight in 2015, only for GSP’s manager to shoot that down. In more recent times, the 35-year-old stated last June that he was ready to get back in the UFC, but Dana boldly said that GSP would never fight again. St-Pierre later revealed that he was ready to enter the USADA testing pool.
The relationship between GSP and the UFC grew even more tense in October, when Georges announced that his contract was terminated, making him a free agent. Shortly thereafter, the UFC insisted that he was still under an existing agreement. When St-Pierre led the launch of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), he claimed that the UFC reopened negotiations with him.
During UFC 208 fight week, Dana White provided an update on negotiations with St-Pierre, perhaps hinting towards significant progress being made.
“We’re where we always were with GSP. We’ve been talking,” White said. “We’ve been talking to GSP for, God, over a year now. Me and GSP got everything straight between us. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
St-Pierre (25-2) hasn’t fought since October 2013, when he won a controversial decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. He abdicated the welterweight belt and announced that he would take an indefinite hiatus from the sport. It appears that the wait is now over, and one of the greatest fighters in MMA history will be fighting once again.