After over three years outside of the octagon, former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is finally returning to the UFC.
GSP left the organization back in 2013 after an ugly dispute with management. He felt he didn’t have the backing of the company and was furious with their relaxed approach towards drug testing. When he parted ways, he vacated a title he held for over five years.
But the UFC has since tightened up its drug testing policy and, at least according to Dana White, has settled its differences with GSP. If everything goes according to plan, he’ll be back in the octagon later this year.
This couldn’t come at a better time for fight fans. With Jon Jones currently serving a suspension, Brock Lesnar in retirement, and Ronda Rousey in shambles, the UFC is in desperate need of another star. Right now, there’s just Conor McGregor, which has allowed him to dictate his own terms and rules.
The details of GSP’s contract have not been announced, and neither has his next opponent. Here are our picks!
Odds Georges St-Pierre next UFC opponent will be …
Michael Bisping: 4/1
Word on the street is that St-Pierre is eyeing Bisping’s middleweight title. Bisping will probably be making his next title defense against top middleweight contender Yoel Romero, but after that, a GSP fight is definitely in the cards.
Bisping had a huge year in 2016, beating Anderson Silva and then mauling Luke Rockhold for the middleweight title. But the English brawler is nearing 38 years-old and a GSP fight may be his last chance for a huge payday.
Nick Diaz: 17/3
MMA fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of Nick Diaz, but according to Dana White, he’s been pretty stubborn during negotiations. He’s reportedly turned down offers to fight Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley, but a shot at GSP would be far too lucrative to reject. The two faced off in 2013, when Diaz unsuccessfully challenged St-Pierre’s title. A rematch has the potential to be the biggest MMA pay-per-view event of 2017.
Tyron Woodley: 9/1
Of course, a title shot against the current welterweight champion is always an option. Woodley had a huge year in 2016, stripping Robbie Lawler of the title and holding onto it against Stephen Thompson. But he doesn’t have the draw that other champions have. A fight against GSP would change that.
Stephen Thompson: 91/9
Wonderboy Thompson narrowly missed out on the welterweight title when he drew with Tyron Woodley in his last fight. He’ll have another shot when the two face off again at UFC 209, and if he wins, Thompson will be the one to beat if GSP wants to reclaim the welterweight title.
Conor McGregor: 93/7
This has the potential to be the biggest pay-per-view event in MMA history, but there’s a lot standing in the way. First off, the line to fight McGregor trails out the door. Absolutely no one in MMA would turn down a fight against the face of the organization. Out of his options, McGregor seems most interested in a blockbuster Mayweather fight.
The other issue is the size difference. At 35 years-old, it’s unknown whether GSP can make the lightweight cut, and McGregor probably isn’t willing to move up to welterweight. They could settle on a compromise somewhere in between, but right now McGregor holds all the bargaining power.