Everybody still wants to know when or even if former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return to the Octagon.
When he first retired following a split-decision victory over current champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, he left the door cracked open. His comments since have been mixed, but St-Pierre has never definitively stated whether he would or would not come back.
During his time out of the cage, St-Pierre has continued to help his Tri-Star teammates train, leading to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in March. The injury required surgery, leaving many more convinced than ever that he would never again set foot in the Octagon.
His longtime coach and friend, Firas Zahabi, however, recently spoke to ESPN.com, saying that St-Pierre expects medical clearance to resume martial arts training sometime next month. He also said that he believes the competitive fire still burns in his friend.
“Right now, every time I talk to him, we never talk about his comeback,” Zahabi said. “I’m being 100-percent honest with you. I tell him people ask me about it every day. I think we both just know that there is no answer until he gets back in the gym, in his routine, and sees if he wants to continue.
“My personal opinion is he still has plenty of competitive juice in him. I don’t think he’ll be anywhere near fight shape until he’s late-34, mid-34. I think he’s got a few fights in him, but I don’t want to speak for the guy. He might retire and no one could blame him.”
St-Pierre turned 33 in May, so that would put a possible return off until sometime in the latter half of 2015 or early 2016, IF he chooses to return and IF Zahabi’s take on his friend pans out.
If St-Pierre does return, he appears to have near carte blanche from his boss, UFC president Dana White, as far as how he approaches a comeback.
“It would be tough to deny that GSP comes right back and doesn’t fight for the title, you know what I mean?” White told UFC.com on Thursday. “GSP can do whatever he wants. If he wants to come back and fight for the title, or if he wants a fight before that; he can do whatever he wants.”
The ball is in St-Pierre’s court.