When Georges St.-Pierre made his triumphant return to the cage after a four-year break from the sport, it was one of the most talked-about moments of 2017.
GSP had already made his name as an undeniable legend in the sport of MMA. His historic run with the welterweight title saw him hold onto the belt for over 2,000 days. He racked up nine title defenses before vacating the championship and taking time off, a feat that still sees him in the top three for most UFC title defenses.
He ran through the likes of Matt Hughes (twice), BJ Penn (twice), Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck (twice), Jake Shields, and Carlos Condit during his historic run at 170-pounds. But once GSP announced his return in 2017, many were shocked to find it would be at middleweight.
GSP faced middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217, becoming the fourth man in history to win UFC titles in two different weight classes. In addition to his old rival BJ Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor have also accomplished the task.
GSP then announced another first – this one not as positive in nature. He would become the first man to relinquish two UFC championships voluntarily without losing or being stripped. Shortly after his big win over Bisping, GSP announced he was battling colitis and would need to take time off to recover.
His courteous move showed he was a true sportsman and allowed for a matchup to be made for the undisputed title between Robert Whittaker (the interim champ who was promoted) and Luke Rockhold. In an unfortunate twist, however, Whittaker was forced to withdraw due to a health issue of his own.
As for GSP, his coach (Firas Zahabi) noted that double-division champion would likely return at some point, but it wouldn’t be in the immediate future.
Zahabi said: “I think, personally, that he’s going to fight again. He doesn’t know. Nobody knows but I think that he’s just so hyper-competitive that eventually he’s gonna wake up one day and be like, ‘I need a challenge.’ I just think that’s the person he is. That’s how I see him but we’ll have to wait and see.”
As for who the legend and big-time draw would face in his (next) return, there are a few popular options at his former class of welterweight. If Tyron Woodley is still champion, the two could meet in a battle to determine the division’s greatest of all time.
There’s also Conor McGregor, who has fought at welterweight before and is well-known for being a division-jumping super-fight candidate. Provided he’s gotten his future lined out in the lightweight division, where he is currently the champion (for now), he’d have to put his attention there first before looking to fight GSP.
GSP holds the record for most wins inside of the octagon, one he could very well hold onto for quite some time – especially if he makes another return.