Now that Tyron Woodley is set to defend his belt against Demian Maia, UFC president Dana White on Wednesday said that Georges St-Pierre will get a crack at the winner.
St-Pierre had been slated to make his return to the Octagon after a more than three year hiatus by moving up to 185 pounds to challenge middleweight champion Michael Bisping. After several delays, however, White shifted gears and wants the former welterweight kingpin to return to his old stomping grounds at 170 pounds.
“Georges and I talked a couple days ago when he was in Vegas,” White said in an interview with MMAJunkie. “Georges is saying he wants to fight; we’ll get this thing figured out. We’re talking about Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. These two are going to fight soon. That will free up the 170-pound champion for Georges St-Pierre to return and try to regain his belt.”
It was announced on Wednesday that Woodley vs. Maia would take place at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif. With the bout set, that may narrow the window for St-Pierre’s return.
The former welterweight champion has said that recovery from eye surgery won’t allow him to fight before November. If the winner of Woodley vs. Maia emerges unscathed, it could mean a quick return to the Octagon in either November or December to face St-Pierre.
The UFC is headed back to Madison Square Garden for another marquee New York event in November and intends to close out the year with a bang on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. Either date or local would be a prime choice for St-Pierre to return to competition, although no target has been revealed.