GSP signs UFC deal, could face welterweight champ or Bisping, White says

Posted: 19/02/2017 in MMA, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Georges St-Pierre is officially back in the saddle.After agreeing to terms on a new multi-fight deal with the UFC earlier this week, the welterweight great has signed on the dotted line and put an end to his three-year layoff, president Dana White told the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire on Friday. The promotion is reportedly targeting a date in the latter half of 2017 for the former champ’s return.As for who will welcome St-Pierre back to the Octagon, White said the former champ could be tapped for an immediate shot at the welterweight title he held on two occasions or a megafight with reigning middleweight king Michael Bisping, although the brass has yet to take a stab at booking either matchup.

“It could be the winner (of the March 4 welterweight title fight) between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be (middleweight champion) Michael Bisping,” White said. “Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds (lightweight). He says he can make the weight.

“But I have no idea when he’s going to fight right now. We don’t have anything booked and literally haven’t talked to anybody about it.”

St-Pierre took a split decision over Johny Hendricks in November 2013 at UFC 167 in what proved to be his final welterweight title defense before going on hiatus.

The 35-year-old put the gears of his comeback in motion by entering the USADA’s four-month testing pool required of returning fighters this past August, only for White to repeatedly question what was left of his mettle. St-Pierre’s break was prolonged when negotiations on a new contract reached an impasse, prompting GSP to declare himself a free agent in the fall. The promotion’s apparel deal with Reebok – reached after St-Pierre had stepped away from competition – was tossed around as a major point of contention in the contract talks, and it remains unclear if and how the issue has been resolved.

Despite his inactivity, St-Pierre is still widely heralded as the greatest welterweight of all time. His nine successful title defenses remain a divisional record, and his 19 UFC victories are good for second in promotional history.

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