It appears to be the era of exciting comebacks as a man considered the greatest MMA proponent in the world, Georges St-Pierre, announced his will to return to fighting, just weeks after WWE superstar Brock Lesnar was penciled in for a date at UFC 200.
St-Pierre has previously been pretty standoffish with his stance on a return, but during his appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani yesterday, ‘Rush’ insisted that the time is now for his return to the Octagon.
“I’m ready,” he told Helwani. “I’m an emotional guy. My agents, even before I came on the show today, they briefed me. They said, ‘don't say this, don't say that.’ They briefed me, they said, ‘we’re in negotiations, remember, blah, blah, blah.’
He continued: “The only thing is, 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.”
Many believed that the former welterweight champion would return to his stomping ground at 170 lbs if he ever came back. Yet, when asked where he would ply his trade, St-Pierre claimed he could compete as low as lightweight and as high as middleweight. After Michael Bisping claimed that he would be interested in “sending St-Pierre back to the movie set”, Pierre announced his intention to fight the Brit.
“There are two things I’m very proud of,” St-Pierre said. “There’s my title–my welterweight title that I won–and there’s another record that I hold for the most wins in UFC history. And now I have someone who’s challenging me for it in Michael Bisping.
“I do not believe, if I fight him, he will send me back to a movie set. Yes, he’s bigger than me, but I believe I’ve got more skill, more athleticism, and a higher fighting IQ than he does. The world doesn’t turn around me, but if it’s a fight that the fans and the UFC want to make, they’ve got my number. They can call my agent, no problem. We can organize to make it happen and make an agreement.”
UFC are definitely looking to make a big splash in Europe with Bisping’s first title defense, which was clear from their media day that they hosted with the newly crowned middleweight champion at the home of Manchester United, Old Trafford.
Bisping has claimed that his first defense is likely to happen at the football stadium or at the MEN Arena, and St Pierre’s return would guarantee numbers for the event. The fact that both men are tied at the top of UFC’s all-time wins list gives championship an additional selling point. Despite never contesting a fight at the weight class and not competing for over two and a half years, GSP vs Bisping makes a lot more sense than the other alternative that’s getting thrown around.
Henderson Rematch Makes No Sense
We’ve all got a soft spot in our hearts for the legendary Dan Henderson. That being said, a first round knockout over Hector Lombard, a man who hadn’t competed at middleweight for nearly three years, is not grounds to give him a title shot. Despite appearing in the number 13 slot following the victory over the aggressive Cuban, Henderson has gone 2-3 in last five outings.
Obviously, there is some history between the two. The H-Bomb followed by the most resounding nail in the coffin ever seen in MMA history came out of their first meeting at UFC 100. The war of words the pair engaged in drew the attention of the entire fan base. Now, with Bisping sporting a shiny belt, and Henderson getting another big pop with his Lombard win, someone has obviously decided that the rest of the middleweight contenders in the bracket aren’t worth their salt.
You can’t help but think that because, on paper at least, Henderson is a far more winnable task for Bisping in front of his hometown support than the other top contenders, it has something to do with why he is being suddenly name dropped into the title conversation. MMA doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but if we are going to disregard the other title contenders, it is St-Pierre that should be called upon.
Genuine international interest would be generated from the return of one of the greatest ever fighters to grace the Octagon. Not only would the middleweight title be on the line, but also the title of “most wins in UFC history”. Furthermore, if St-Pierre wins the contest, he will become only the third man in the history of the sport to hold belts in two different weight classes.
Hurry up and take my money.
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