Georges St-Pierre wants to return to the Octagon, but how serious is he? He’s serious enough that he was supposed to begin drug testing on Wednesday under the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
When St-Pierre walked away from the cage after defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November of 2013, the current anti-doping policy was not in place, nor was USADA involved with the MMA juggernaut’s efforts to clean up its ranks. Things have changed a lot since then, including St-Pierre’s desire to fight.
In a recent interview with Ram Gilboa on BloodyElbows.com, St-Pierre stressed that he never really retired, but that for mental reasons and concerns about performance-enhancing drug use in the sport, he needed to take a lengthy break. He now appears to have his mental state where it needs to be and the crackdown on PEDs has improved to the point where he wants to step back in the Octagon.
“I want to (fight again). My agent is negotiating with the UFC, they had an offer, we made a counteroffer, you know that’s how business goes. And then we heard a day after that UFC sold for $4 billion dollars,” said St-Pierre. “We wanted to let the management to take care of their own company first, and then see what happens.
St-Pierre also confirmed rumors that initial negotiations had centered on a superfight with UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, but now that Bisping is expected to rematch Dan Henderson, interest in that fight has drifted away. St-Pierre wants to return at welterweight, but is still waiting for negotiations to play out, and didn’t reveal a new target for his return opponent.
“The first offer they made us was for Bisping. We were interested in that fight, we made a counter offer, but like I said one day after we heard they sold the company,” St-Pierre continued.
“(Bisping is) fighting Dan Henderson, so it’s not going to be nineteen wins against nineteen wins now (St-Pierre vs. Bisping), it’s going to change. The whole idea of it is not as interesting from a business standpoint.”
St-Pierre still wants to return to the Octagon, though. Unlike many other fighters, however, he says that he’s not going to just accept whatever the UFC offers. If fighters want their pay or working conditions to improve, St-Pierre says they need to stand firm and negotiate. That’s what he has long done, and he’ll continue to do so.
“Yeah (I’m coming back, but) I would like to say, they need to make sure they take care and negotiate the problems,” St-Pierre said of his current status.
With a $4 billion sale in hand and superstars like Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones, and Brock Lesnar sidelined, St-Pierre’s bargaining power could hardly be stronger. And with him starting the drug testing process so that he is eligible to return to competition, St-Pierre has never been closer to a return than he is now. But only time will tell if he follows through and gets back in the Octagon.