After all, he’s done it before. Former long reigning welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre first walked away from fighting back in 2013, after a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks. And his time in MMA seemed entirely finished in the years that followed. He hosted a TV show about dinosaurs, had a notable role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and even championed an MMA unionization effort (briefly).
It was something of a shock when GSP ended his nearly four-year hiatus from competition to take on then-middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217. Fourteen minutes and twenty three seconds later, and St-Pierre added a second belt to his collection. He retired again soon afterward, and has been out of competition for over two years now. But could he come back again? Tristar head coach Firas Zahabi isn’t ruling it out—especially not if the fight is big enough.
“It has to be, in my opinion – I don’t want to talk for him – but I think the thing that’s going to motivate him is a megafight,” Zahabi said in a recent interview with Joe Rogan (transcript via MMA Fighting). “He doesn’t want to be champion again and fight every three-four months. That’s done. It’s not gonna happen no more. But one megafight. Invite him back for a megafight and see if you could entice him because he’s a competitor. He’s still training, he’s still ripped, shredded, fighting. He can do five rounds. Maybe he can’t do five rounds right away but he [only] needs a few weeks and then he’s doing five rounds. He’s close to being there. He can get in fight shape. He’s just a monster.”
As for what kind of ‘megafight’ would do the trick? Zahabi was quick to suggest lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, at a catchweight of 165 lbs. At the moment, however, Nurmagomedov has a bout in the works, to take on former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, in Brooklyn, NY, on April 18th. And with GSP officially out of the USADA testing pool, any move toward a return to the Octagon would involve a lot more moving parts than just putting pen to paper on a bout agreement.