Georges St. Pierre is back in the Octagon! UFC president Dana White announced on SportsCenter yesterday that the former welterweight champion agreed to a fight against current middleweight champion Michael Bisping. The fight will take place sometime in the latter part of 2017 in Las Vegas. It will be St. Pierre’s first fight since taking an indefinite leave of absence in 2013.
This came as a surprise to me. St. Pierre is one of my all-time favorite fighters but when he walked away from the UFC four years ago, I thought he would choose never to fight in the Octagon again. He never announced he was “retiring” but he was 31 when he stepped away and he’s now approaching 36 so I was really surprised but also very excited to see one of the greats put on the gloves once again.
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is quite simply a master of his craft. He’s outwrestled the best wrestlers and outstriked the best strikers. There was a time when many were convinced GSP was unbeatable. He has won 12 fights in a row, has defended his welterweight title a UFC record nine times and currently holds a professional record of 25-2. His conditioning and quickness are unparalleled by just about anyone in the UFC today. In my personal time watching GSP, he has been so dominant and so well-rounded that I had trouble believing that he was actually human. St. Pierre also holds black belts in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Gaidojutsu, Shidokan karate, and Kyokushin karate
The 5’10” Canadian isn’t your typical fighter. He works very slowly and very methodically. You’re probably not going to see any skull-shattering knockouts from Georges St. Pierre. Rather, you’ll see probably five rounds of him looking for openings with his patented jab, takedowns, and ground game. Essentially, he is always pressing forward and wearing out his opponents so that he can take advantage in the later rounds of the fight. In fact, eight out of his last nine fights have ended in decisions, including wins over Jonny Hendricks, Nick Diaz, and Carlos Condit.
Still, his last fight was at UFC 167 in 2013 and he has been away from professional fighting for a while. It’s not like this is a tune-up fight for GSP either because Michael Bisping is very long and very good in his own right and does present some challenges for St. Pierre. Even Dana White himself, expressed his concern over the Quebec native’s extended break.
“I’m not a big believer in long layoffs,” White said. “Even Muhammad Ali, after a three-year layoff, didn’t look the same…Georges St. Pierre is always in shape, takes care of himself physically, so we’ll see what happens.”
We’ll see what happens, indeed.
Andrew Kurzeja is a senior writer and contributor for the Asterisk Effect. Questions and comments can be submitted to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org