A blockbuster middleweight title fight lured Georges St. Pierre out of a four-year retirement, and it will likely take something of similar magnitude to get him back in the Octagon again.
According to Firas Zahabi, St. Pierre’s trainer at Tristar Gym, the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion will need a “big, exciting fight” to catch his interest. St. Pierre submitted Michael Bisping in the third round at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 to capture the 185-pound title. After revealing that he was dealing with colitis, “Rush” vacated the belt to focus on his health. A target date for his potential next bout has not been revealed.
“Hard to say, honestly,” Zahabi told TSN. “I think Georges is gonna get better, get back in the gym, feel his body out and see what he wants. What’s the most interesting, epic fight out there? [Floyd] Mayweather, [Conor] McGregor, who do you want to see him fight?
“We need a mega-fight.”
The victory over Bisping extended St. Pierre’s UFC winning streak to 13 fights. While St. Pierre is generally regarded as the greatest welterweight champion of all-time, he has received some criticism — including from UFC President Dana White — for electing not to defend the 185-pound strap. However, Zahabi points out that his fighter’s reign at 170 pounds was a product of many years of hard work. The coach believes St. Pierre has earned the position he’s in.
“I always tell people, if you’re criticizing Georges, do what he did,” Zahabi said. “Do what he did first and then criticize him. It’s not easy to do what he did. He defended the title over and over again. Lots of guys had their chance. Get in line and make your way the way he did. He did it without complaining about anybody. You don’t win the title, you take the title. You take it by force. You don’t negotiate for it. That’s the reality.”
Zahabi seemed keen to the idea of a St. Pierre-McGregor showdown. McGregor, the UFC’s lightweight king, has not competed in the Octagon since taking the title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016. In the meantime, McGregor earned the biggest payday of his career in a boxing match against Mayweather on Aug. 26. Perhaps the allure of a bout vs. St. Pierre, one of the UFC’s other most consistent pay-per-view draws, might tempt McGregor to make a more timely Octagon return. It would seem to be that way for St. Pierre.
“No doubt about it,” Zahabi said. “Georges will come back for a big exciting fight.”