Former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre walked away from fighting following his ninth consecutive title defense at UFC 167 in November 2013. He didn’t call it a retirement at the time, and left the door open for a potential return.
On March 1, UFC president Dana White announced that a deal with St-Pierre had been reached and that the former welterweight kingpin would face middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping in his return bout.
St-Pierre’s return to the Octagon was a drawn out process of negotiations, setbacks, and finally a signed bout agreement. A deal was nearly reached for him to compete at UFC 206 on Dec. 10, but that deal fell through.
“The landscape in mixed martial arts changes all the time. We’ve had ups and downs in discussions. It’s been a long process. I want to say thanks to the UFC, thanks to my management team to make that possible,” St-Pierre said during a press conference in Las Vegas. “At one point, after UFC 206, I kind of lost hope and then it bounced back and they announced me the great news.”
“It feels great. I’m so excited,” he said. “The company has changed, but to come back, I feel rejuvenated. I’m very happy to be here,” he added.
When St-Pierre steps back inside the cage this summer against Bisping, he promises to be an improved version of himself.
“I’m not going to be the old GSP. If I come back as the same Georges St-Pierre I used to be when I was very successful I’m going to have a very bad night the night of the fight. If I come back it’s because I am, my trainers are, and my training partners are all convinced that I’m a better version than I was when I used to compete,” he said.
“I believe right now I’ve reached the perfect peak of athleticism, knowledge, and wisdom as a fighter and I’m going to prove it to everyone.”