After months of conflicting rumors and reports, we now know that Georges St-Pierre and the UFC have settled their differences and agreed on the terms for a new contract. This means that we can expect the welterweight great and veritable MMA legend to return to the cage sometime before the year is out. But who does he fight in his anticipated comeback?
Well, GSP’s coach Firas Zahabi recently said that the returning great is not particularly interested in a welterweight title fight. This probably rules out a fight with the winner of Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson’s looming welterweight title fight.
So, without further ado, here are five other possible options for Georges St-Pierre’s comeback fight, in no particular order:
5. Michael Bisping
Though St-Pierre’s getting a shot at Michael Bisping’s middleweight title is likely to rattle the middleweight division’s many deserving contenders, this could be the most likely option for the Canadian’s next fight. He has expressed interest in this fight on several occasions, after all, and Bisping has said he’d be stupid not to accept the fight if it were offered to him.
4. Conor McGregor
As Canadian middleweight Elias Theodorou put it on a recent episode of BJ Penn Radio, a Georges St-Pierre vs. Conor McGregor fight would be MMA’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao – that is, a fight between two of the biggest stars in the sport’s history, and arguably the biggest fight the sport has ever produced. Whether a bout with St-Pierre is enough to distract McGregor from a potential showdown with Floyd Mayweather, however, is difficult to say.
3. Nick Diaz
When Georges St-Pierre first fought Nick Diaz back in March of 2016, he won fairly decisively, out-striking his foe by a significant margin and landing takedowns in each of the bout’s five rounds. That said, Diaz remains one of the biggest stars in MMA, and fans still seem interested in seeing him get a rematch with the Canadian great. Furthermore, with both fighters returning from lengthy layoffs, the timing for this rematch couldn’t be better.
2. Robbie Lawler
This could be the least likely of the options on this list, but it would be a fun one. In Lawler, St-Pierre would face the most dominant welterweight to emerge since he vacated the throne, and one of the finest purveyors of violence in the history of the game. Would the returning St-Pierre be able to withstand Lawler’s blood-crazed ferocity? Would Lawler be able to cope with St-Pierre’s disciplined attack and world-class wrestling? These are the questions that would make this welterweight style clash such an interesting one.
1. Johny Hendricks
Of all the options on this list, this one is likely to generate the least amount of excitement among the fans, but it does make quite a bit of sense. St-Pierre’s last fight, after all, was an incredibly close decision defeat of Hendricks – one that certainly warranted a rematch. Furthermore, St-Pierre seems keen on a jump to the middleweight division, where Hendricks recently debuted with a decision defeat of Hector Lombard. Why not pit these two former welterweight champs together to see where they stand in the stacked UFC middleweight division? We know it’s a fight Hendricks wants!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/27/2017.