Georges St-Pierre left the UFC back in 2013 after defending the Welterweight title against Johny Hendricks, and then decided to step away from MMA for a time. Now in 2017 after an injury or two and a long negotiation process, St-Pierre is returning to the UFC and not wasting any time. Shooting straight for the Middleweight title against Michael Bisping, GSP is skipping several contenders who have long awaited a shot at the champ.
Yoel Romero was first in line for this after he split Chris Weidman’s head open with a grisly flying knee back at 205. He even called Bisping out after this victory, and I don’t think I’m the only one who wanted to see these two meet. Dana White even assured everyone that he was next in line for Bisping. Title shot aside, Romero seems to love to fight and does it without fear against whoever will face him. He’ll undoubtedly land on his feet after this, but some fans are beginning to wonder if Romero struck the fear of God into Bisping. This all ties together neatly considering Romero’s nickname is the Soldier of God.
Prior to his time off, Georges St-Pierre held the Welterweight title for about six years and successfully defended it eight times. Among some of the fighters he left in his wake were BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Thiago Alves, and Nick Diaz. These stats alone would make him an easy inductee to the UFC Hall of Fame, but his career isn’t quite over yet.
The fight is expected to happen later in 2017, and will bring a massive amount of viewers with it. When GSP was previously fighting in the UFC, his pay-per-view numbers were all significantly larger than majority of the other main events during that time. For example, UFC 158 in 2013, headlined with St-Pierre facing Nick Diaz, brought in 950,000 viewers, while the other pay-per-view events of the year averaged 350,000. With UFC events regularly bringing in over a million viewers today, this event could easily break the current record of 1.65 million viewers from UFC 202.
I won’t lie, I’m beyond excited to see GSP back in the octagon. He’s one of those guys I remember watching fight when I was in middle school and my dad would have people over to watch the fights. Back when Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz reigned supreme. Those guys are all in their 40s now and only one continues to fight, but Georges St-Pierre is still young. At only 35 years of age he could even just be reaching his peak after taking the time off.
All that being said, the UFC needs to consider those who have earned their place in the rankings and should respect the rankings. Giving GSP a title shot after no professional fights since 2013 is a bold move. No one knows what to expect from him. Everyone talks about ring rust, but many fighters don’t believe in the superstition. If GSP believes in ring rust the same way he believes in aliens, this could be a problem.