Few fighters retire so firmly as former UFC superstar Georges St-Pierre did when he finally walked away from MMA for good back in 2017. The former two division champion was a cornerstone of the UFC’s PPV business from 2006-13, before taking a four-year hiatus from competition—returning just once, at UFC 217, to best Michael Bisping for middleweight gold.
In those intervening four years, and the six years that followed? St-Pierre hasn’t set foot in an arena as a professional athlete. Not for MMA, nor boxing, nor even BJJ.
All that was supposed to change this coming December, with the recent announcement that GSP would make his pro grappling debut at Fight Pass Invitational 6. The event series, hosted by the UFC, has been a regular showcase for elite grappling and MMA talents since debuting in 2021.
GSP reveals planned Nick Diaz bout
When GSP took the stage during International Fight Week back in July to announce his return to competition, speculation immediately began as just who ‘Rush’ might face off against in his return. Would fans finally get that fabled Anderson Silva fight? Would Matt Serra step up? Khabib Nurmagomedov?
For a minute, it appeared that Demian Maia was going to be the man across from the Canadian MMA legend. But, in a recent interview with TSN, GSP revealed that he has yet to finalize any bout agreement. Even though there was one opponent that he had hoped to see before an injury derailed the booking.
“They had an opponent, his name was Nick Diaz,” St-Pierre revealed (transcript via MMA Fighting). “People that are familiar with this sport know we competed against each other in mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, he’s hurt. I think he has a neck injury, and I just got hurt myself. I’ve got a shoulder injury.”
Unfortunately, as GSP would go on to reveal, it could be that the whole December debut is off the table altogether, if injury recovery doesn’t go as hoped.
“I have to wait a few weeks to see if it will require surgery, because some of the things are wear and tear and can heal by itself, but when I got hurt, maybe it could be mechanical. I have to wait a few weeks to see if I’ll require surgery. Unfortunately, it will be cancelled, perhaps postponed [for] the future.”
“There were talks about Nick, and Kamaru Usman, at some point Demian Maia, Gilbert Burns, but it was only talk [because] the main guy was Nick Diaz,” St-Pierre explained. “I’m not the one on the front line to talk about these things. The negotiation is made with my agent, the name is there, and when everything is settled, let’s go.”
GSP tried to make boxing debut in 2021
Part of the reason for GSP’s inactivity over the past several years, has to be put down to his lengthy UFC contract. Despite officially announcing his retirement in 2019, the promotion continued to hold the keys to his career. When the longtime Tristar standout tried to step up for a celebrity boxing match against former champion Oscar De La Hoya, he found Dana White there, ready to pull the rug out from under him.
“This f—k nut [Dana White] kept Georges St-Pierre from making the biggest payday with me,” De La Hoya told fans on his Instagram page.
“Dana White and UFC just blocked Georges St-Pierre from fighting Oscar De La Hoya,” Triller head Ryan Kavanaugh also wrote. “It is a big payday for GSP and both he and Oscar’s dream to fight each other.
“Dana would rather hold back those who put the UFC where it is and why?” he continued. “I’ve tried to call and text Dana at least five times to make it work for both parties, not even the courtesy of a return call.”
GSP confirmed the reports
“And at first [Dana White] refused,” St-Pierre said, recalling his conversation with White in an interview on the MMA Hour (transcript via MMA Mania). “Then he thought about it but he came back with the argument that: oh, no, it’s not because he thinks Oscar is going to win; he thinks it’s because he doesn’t like the fact that Triller takes me and makes money off my back while I’m still under contract with UFC.
“So what Dana says—listen to this—then he came back and he asked me if I wanted to fight Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. And I told Dana, I said, ‘That’s very strange. Why didn’t you want to do the fight when we asked you a few years ago? Why is it now?’ He said, ‘Yeah, because Khabib was not retired and he was not the same guy that he was. Now it all makes sense.’ So I didn’t want to, but I was curious to see what would’ve happened, so I said to him, ‘I’m going to think about it,’ and I waited.”
“Dana White had a lot of heat for not letting me fight from the media, so he asked me to fight Khabib because he was expecting a negative answer from me,” St-Pierre said. “So he would’ve had a good argument, a good reason, saying to the media, ‘Georges refused to fight for us, so I’m not going to let him fight for someone else.’ So that was the reason I waited to see what happened, and turns out that I was right, I believe. So Khabib refused, but I didn’t mean that I was going to say yes.”
Eventually GSP did manage to get free of his UFC deal. That hasn’t meant a rush back to competition, clearly, but now at least he’s got more options on the table.
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