Former UFC two-division champion Georges St-Pierre didn’t exactly shake up the combat sports world when he announced his return to competition later this year, but even just an exhibition grappling match is something of a rare event for the MMA legend. After vacating his middleweight title back in 2017, GSP has barely made any motion toward competitive activity.
The closest he came was a briefly rumored exhibition boxing match against Oscar De La Hoya, back in 2021. A fight that ‘Rush’ has claimed Dana White stepped in and personally prevented, since the then 40-year-old was still technically under contract to the UFC. Since then? Nada.
GSP makes return this December with Fight Pass Invitational BJJ
Back in July, during International Fight week, the Canadian superstar made a surprise appearance at a UFC press event, announcing his official comeback. Not to MMA, or boxing, or even Karate, but to the grappling mats.
While now opponent was originally announced for the bout, multiple-time BJJ champion and UFC title contender Demian Maia took to social media in the weeks following the announcement to reveal that he would be facing GSP at the December Fight Pass Invitational event. As of yet, no other bouts have been announced for the card.
UFC tried to get Khabib Nurmagomedov first
In a recent episode of his El Segundo podcast, BJJ star Craig Jones revealed that Demian Maia wasn’t the first choice for St-Pierre’s first bout in more than five years. Jones claims that the UFC actually came to him looking for ideas of who GSP should face. The first name that sprung to his mind was former lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I remember I was with the (UFC) Fight Pass guys and they were trying to ask me for opponents for GSP (Georges St-Pierre), for ideas, and I had no idea who (it) would be,” Craig claimed (transcript via JitsMagazine). “They asked me in the moment, I was like ‘I dunno…’ but I remember obviously I said Khabib (Nurmagomedov). I think they said Khabib wanted 5 million dollars to do the grappling match. I was like ‘whoa, obviously that’s priced himself out there’. Those guys would be cool to see.”
If the Nurmagomedov price tag seems a bit outlandish, it’s worth remembering that the longtime AKA talent has made it clear on multiple occasions since retiring that he has no real interest in returning to the life of a competitive athlete. He even went so far as to take a step back from his burgeoning coaching career, noting the burdens of the constant travel schedule that cornering fighters can require.
“He just doesn’t want to miss being a father,” AKA head coach Javier Mendez said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “He talked to me about three weeks ago and told me of his plan and said he planned to talk to the team and inform them of his decision. He’s doing this for the right reasons. He’s a family man and he simply wants to spend more time with his family.”
Fight Pass Invitational 6 takes place on December 14th at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more grappling event coverage as the fight date approaches.
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