The recent report of George St Pierre reaching a new deal with the UFC ignited rumors of a middleweight title fight against Michael Bisping in the latest big money fight.
The near four year layoff for St. Pierre could lead to joining Conor McGregor, Randy Couture and B.J. Penn in the two division UFC championship club. Then there is the possibility of a the UFC scoring a two-for-one deal if Nick Diaz is willing to accept a return bout against his arch nemesis and the man who handed him a decision loss back in early 2013 at UFC 158. If neither of those bouts come to fruition there is the once sought after super fight between GSP and Anderson Silva. The interest level is nowhere close to where it was back when both men were long term champions at welterweight and middleweight, but fans will still be willing to shell out some cash to see two legends go toe to toe. St. Pierre expressed interest in big fights and didn’t necessarily indicate going after the championship he never lost despite current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley’s push for a chance to square off against “Rush.”
It’s been a long time since St. Pierre stepped into the octagon and a lot has changed since he’s been gone. Once thought to be the biggest draw in MMA, now that title belongs to dual champion, Conor McGregor. It seems like that was the direction the UFC was willing to go as St Pierre was ringside shooting a segment for the UFC based at UFC 196 as Nate Diaz defeated McGregor via submission of round 2. Plans appeared foiled as McGregor lost a fight he was favored to win followed by failed negotiations between GSP and the UFC later in the year. It looks like the potential bout remains an option judging by the direction the company has been going in terms of match making. Dana White commented on the possibility of St. Pierre making 155 lbs while revealing that the UFC struck a deal with the Montreal Canadian, however that’s a lot easier said than done. If St. Pierre wants a title shot at 155 lbs that badly then so be it, but he is likely better suited for a catch weight bout and that’s if McGregor decides to abandon his current priority of securing a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather later this year.
What would make a fight against Michael Bisping besides the fight itself is what GSP’s next move would be should he be victorious. There are currently two deadly contenders at middleweight and are both considered big for the division. They are also considered closer to the end of their career. Part of this is why there is already criticism going around if St. Pierre is handed a title shot over Yoel Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. St. Pierre surely wouldn’t step into the octagon against two behemoths who specialize in wrestling and grappling. Part of the reason why he entertained the idea of fighting for the middleweight title is because stylistically Bisping offers less risk than say Tyron Woodley. He is primarily a standup fighter who doesn’t wield a lot of power in his hands, although he did knock out Luke Rockhold to earn the title last June. Bisping has a good wrestling pedigree, but did lose against another wrestling based fighter in Chael Sonnet some years ago.
With a target date somewhere in the third quarter of the year, International Fight week seems like the best setting for a GSP return and although GSP has revealed that “nothing is official yet,” per Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press, the UFC will do their best to milk his much anticipated return in the absence of McGregor, Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar.