UFC two-division champion Georges St-Pierre is returning to combat sports after a six-year absence. The 42-year-old Hall of Famer will be part of the UFC Fight Pass Invitational grappling series in December, but he has yet to have an opponent finalized.
In a recent video, ‘GSP’ ran down a short list of formidable opponents, from OG names to retired former champions and current competitors. He is open to facing all of them, except for one.
Georges St-Pierre rejects one potential opponent
Out of the list of names thrown at him, St-Pierre immediately said no to one. He didn’t even take a second to think about it.
“If there is a guy that I would not want to compete against in submission wrestling, it’s Gordon Ryan. Let’s pretend I didn’t see this. So we can leave it out of the final cut, alright?”
Submission grappling fans in particular are highly familiar with the 28-year-old Ryan’s body of work. Many would deem him as the best no-gi competitor of this era, given his accomplishments: five-time ADCC world-champion, four-time EBI champion, and two-time IBJJF no-gi world champion.
Ryan, who hasn’t competed since December, holds victories over Felipe Pena, André Galvão, and Craig Jones, to name a few. St-Pierre and Ryan have trained together, which likely explains the former’s apprehension.
St-Pierre also had this to say about “The King.”
“It’s like grappling with a gorilla. His level is so high. He’s the best guy I’ve ever rolled with.”
Georges St-Pierre names the opponents he’s willing to face
Some of the names thrown Georges St-Pierre’s way were opponents he’d faced in his tenure as the undisputed welterweight champion. First on the list is Nick Diaz.
“I think in terms of promotion, it would probably be the best opponent,” GSP said of the elder Diaz. “When I fought him, I had a specific strategy. I was working a lot of ground-and-pound.
“But for a grappling match, it would be very interesting. I know he’s very good in jiu-jitsu, so I think that would be the biggest match that we can make.”
St-Pierre likewise entertained matchups against Nick’s younger brother Nate, Anderson Silva, Conor McGregor, Carlos Condit, Demian Maia, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, a name that’s been attached to him for years.
“Khabib, for sure. He’s the legend. Everybody’s wondering what would happen if I would’ve fought him. Grappling is different, but it could be done, 100%.”
“He’s the man now in the UFC. He’s on the rise,” St-Pierre said of Chimaev. “Yeah, it would be a hell of a challenge, you know? I like to take on some challenges that I probably would be the underdog. So I’m up for it.”
Georges St-Pierre’s reason for returning
Fans haven’t seen Georges St-Pierre in action since 2017, when he returned from a four-year hiatus to face then-middleweight champion Michael Bisping. He ended up winning the title via submission, but had to relinquish it due to health issues.
St-Pierre officially retired from fighting in 2019, but he says he felt the competition itch that badly needed scratching.
“I’m 42-years-old and it gives me—because I felt at the end, when I retired, I was training, but I needed some—I like the kick of competition,” St-Pierre said during the UFC 290 media day.
“I’d like to get it back, and I’d like to feel the adrenaline again. I think it’s also an avenue for fighters who still want to compete and make money and have fun with the fans and the family of the UFC.”
Georges-St-Pierre had two stints as the 170-pound king, with his second run lasting for five years, and included nine successful title defenses. He took a hiatus in 2013 after defeating Johny Hendricks because he felt alone in his fight against performance-enhancing drugs. According to him, the UFC also didn’t want other fighters tested.
The all-time great in St-Pierre left the sport with the record of 26-2.
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