How could UFC make Georges St-Pierre’s return to the octagon bigger than it already is? Throw in Conor McGregor.
St-Pierre, who hasn’t fought since successfully defending the welterweight championship against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, recently signed a new contract with the UFC, meaning the focus has shifted to who GSP will face in his first fight since November 2013. There obviously are a lot of variables involved in lining up an opponent, but St-Pierre’s longtime coach, Firas Zahabi, believes facing McGregor, the lightweight champion, or middleweight champ Michael Bisping would make for one heck of a return.
“My ideal scenario, I don’t know if it’s still up for grabs, but I was really happy when there was a buzzing of Bisping or McGregor,” Zahabi told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, per MMAFighting.com. “I thought those two would be two epic fights. One, he would go a little lower (in weight); one, he would go a little higher. But those are really, really intriguing fights.”
McGregor, of course, is the most recognizable MMA fighter on the planet, so a return fight with him would be enormous, especially in terms of the money it would generate. The Notorious seems to have his sights set on a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., though, and it’s quite possible he’ll hold out for an insane amount of money before returning to the UFC.
Bisping, meanwhile, is riding a five-match winning streak that includes a victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in October, in which he successfully defended the middleweight championship he won from Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 last June.
Both fighters have titles to defend, but it sounds like GSP’s camp isn’t too focused on going after championship gold in the 35-year-old’s comeback fight.
“So I think the welterweight title is not really something (St-Pierre) is thinking about right now because of the current landscape (of the welterweight division), but there is always the 185-pound belt,” Zahabi said. “And of course, McGregor is such a megastar that if you put those two on a main event, I don’t think that anybody in the world wouldn’t watch that. I think that even non-MMA fans would watch that. But again, I don’t do the matchups, I don’t do the managing, I’m just talking as a trainer.
“I’m not so worried about titles. I think he’s done that,” Zahabi added. “It would be great if it’s a title, but it comes down to a good name that he likes and it’s exciting, and it’s something the fans would want to see.”
We’re pretty sure plenty of fans would want to see St-Pierre fight McGregor or Bisping, with the former obviously being the biggest draw based on mainstream appeal.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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