One of the biggest stories in MMA in 2017 so far is the imminent return of Georges St-Pierre. The French Canadian superstar was the marquee name in the welterweight division for a long time and one of the company’s biggest PPV draws, but hasn’t fought since late 2013. Now that’s he’s apparently “officially” back, the next question is pretty simple - who is GSP going to fight?
Though St-Pierre himself has said that he doesn’t have an opponent or a date yet, that hasn’t stopped a wide variety of people from speculating about who he’ll face. Even UFC president Dana White got in on the act, saying that the winner of the UFC 209 welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley or Stephen Thompson could get it, and UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is in the running.
According to GSP’s head trainer Firas Zahabi though, the division that GSP ruled for many years is not likely to be where he returns. He told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that Bisping is a good option, but so is the current lightweight champion - the man himself, Conor McGregor (via MMA Fighting):
“My ideal scenario, I don’t know if it’s still up for grabs, but I was really happy when there was a buzzing of Bisping or McGregor. I thought those two would be two epic fights. One, he would go a little lower [in weight]; one, he would go a little higher. But those are really, really intriguing fights. Of course, Tyron Woodley, he’s the [welterweight] champion and et cetera, but he has his fight with ‘Wonderboy’ [Thompson]. And if Wonderboy wins, then they’ll have a trilogy. And of course we don’t want to fight with Wonderboy, we go way back together.
“So I think the welterweight title is not really something he (St-Pierre) is thinking about right now because of the current landscape, but there is always the 185-pound belt. And of course, McGregor is such a mega-star that if you put those two on a main event, I don’t think that anybody in the world wouldn’t watch that. I think that even non-MMA fans would watch that. But again, I don’t do the matchups, I don’t do the managing, I’m just talking as a trainer.”
Zahabi made it clear that being a champion isn’t a huge priority for GSP, he just wants the biggest fights possible. And he also said that he wants five-round fights, which is logical.
With McGregor talking up his potential fight with Floyd Mayweather, he doesn’t seem very focused on fighting in the Octagon at the moment. In my mind, Bisping seems like the most logical option, but that might depend on whether he defends his 185-pound belt against Yoel Romero first. In other words, everything is still very much up in the air regarding the return of a legend.