It’s official: Georges St. Pierre is a UFC athlete once again.
UFC President Dana White confirmed to the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the Las Vegas-based promotion has signed St. Pierre to a contract. MMAFighting.com first reported that St. Pierre’s return was imminent earlier this week.
“He’s back. I’m excited,” White told the Times. “We worked at it for a long time and finally got it done.”
It is currently unclear who St. Pierre will face in his first Octagon appearance since 2013, but it is expected that “Rush” will return to action at some point in the third or fourth quarter of 2017. White mentioned a wide array of possible matchups for the Tristar Gym standout on Friday (online sportsbooks).
“It could be the winner [of the March 4 welterweight title fight] between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be Michael Bisping,” White said. “Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds. He says he can make the weight.
“But I have no idea when he’s going to fight right now. We don’t have anything booked and literally haven’t talked to anybody about it.”
St. Pierre last fought at UFC 167 in November 2013, when he retained his welterweight title with a controversial split-decision triumph over Johny Hendricks. Shortly thereafter, he announced that he would be vacating the belt to take an indefinite leave of absence from the sport.
While the Quebec native first expressed an interest in a UFC return last summer, White shot down the notion in multiple interviews, question St. Pierre’s desire to fight. The UFC boss credited a couple key, anonymous figures for helping to finalize the St. Pierre deal.
“Two guys who care about Georges came to me and said, ‘Do you want to do a deal?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I want to do a deal.’ We got it done,” White said.