Georges St. Pierre can have a title shot if he elects to come back to the UFC. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Depending on the week, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is either close to a comeback, or he’s never fighting again.
Last month, St. Pierre told Bloody Elbow that he would never compete again “without my opponent and myself being thoroughly tested for the most advanced PEDs by a credible independent anti-doping organization like VADA or USADA under the strictest standards of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) Code.”
Earlier this week, Firas Zhabi, his coach at Tristar Gym, said in an interview with ESPN.com that that he believes the fighter will return to the Octagon sometime in 2015.
With all that in mind, it is perfectly clear that St. Pierre’s fighting future is, well, unclear. However, if he does come back, UFC President Dana White has a spot reserved for him at the front of the line in the welterweight division.
And if he doesn’t want to an immediate title shot? That’s fine, too.
“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. “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.”
St. Pierre last fought at UFC 167, earning a hard-fought -- and contentious -- split decision over Johny Hendricks last November. Less than a month later, “Rush” announced during a conference call that he was vacating the 170-pound belt and taking an indefinite leave of absence.
While St. Pierre did exit the UFC as a champion, White, like Zahabi, doesn’t think the fighting is out of his system just yet.
“It’s always a huge debate on a guy who’s had a career like GSP -- to go out on top and walk away with the belt,” White said. “That’s a personal decision that a fighter has to make. Being the competitor that GSP is, I can’t see GSP doing it. But that’s up to him.”
Hendricks defeated Robbie Lawler for the vacant welterweight strap at UFC 171 this past March. Lawler rebounded to best Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 12 and is expected to receive a rematch against “Bigg Rigg” at a later date.