This past Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani despite still suffering from the effects of ulcerative colitis GSP announced he has not closed the door on a future return to the UFC. GSP said he wants a fight that would enhance his legacy, so who could be a possible opponent for the two time UFC champion.
St-Pierre now 36 and with an incredible MMA record of 26-2 really has no need to fight again, if he never fights again he has already done more than enough to be at least in the conversation for the greatest MMA fighter of all time. GSP returned from a near 4 year hiatus to claim his 2nd UFC career when he beat Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to capture the middleweight belt in November 2017. GSP vacated the middleweight title a week or so later, so is it now a case of who and where we see the Canadian next.
St-Pierre has not ruled out competing at lightweight, welterweight or even a return to middleweight for any future bout. I would rule out another middleweight fight, despite beating Bisping he clearly isn’t a middleweight and really when he talks about a legacy fight I don’t see any names in the middleweight ranks that really fit what he calls a legacy fight.
The Diaz brothers Nate and Nick are obvious contenders although GSP has seemingly ruled out both, Ben Askren was discussed on The MMA Hour, but Askren despite being unbeaten has never fought in the UFC, and GSP doesn’t think he has a big enough name, GSP had this to say about Askren:
“He’s a guy who’s extremely, extremely talented, a very dangerous guy, but nobody knows who he is because he’s never been exposed to the public. But he’s very good. In order to have a fight with me, I would have liked him to be exposed to the public so his stock goes up, so if I fight him, at least it’s a win-win situation. Otherwise, you fight a guy who’s extremely dangerous who nobody cares about, who nobody knows who he is. It’s sad, but that’s the real way to look at it. And the reason why I’m saying that in your interview now is because I want people to be aware of who he is, I want him to have a chance to fight in the UFC, to go fight against the big dogs, the big boys of the sport, and I think he’s in certainly the top five, maybe the top three in the welterweight division.”
So the only two names I can see that really tick all the boxes is the current Tyron Woodley the current UFC welterweight champion and Conor McGregor.
Would a return to welterweight to do something he has already done before really tempt GSP, I have my doubts, which leaves McGregor, although GSP sees it more of a money fight when he said this on The MMA Hour.
“I mean, money-wise, for people who are not huge fans of MMA, they know who Conor McGregor is. He’s the main guy. He’s the guy who brought the sport to a different level. He’s, I would say, the most charismatic guy. He sells, the biggest seller in the sport. But talk about legacy. If I come back for legacy, that’s what interests me the most, more than the money. Money, yes, it’s good, but if I come back, it would be more of a legacy match.”
McGregor v GSP is the biggest fight the UFC can make right now, it would surely even tempt McGregor to finally return, GSP brings the name and the money. Despite what GSP says I would be astonished if this fight wasn’t at the very least discussed.
In a year where the UFC wants the money fights, this is the biggest money fight of the lot, I would be surprised if we don’t see it happen in 2018.