Big news in the UFC this week – an organization that needed some good news with some drug troubles and Conor McGregor’s leave of absence – as the legendary Georges St-Pierre will come out of retirement to fight middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
Did you really think that Georges St-Pierre, the baddest man in Canada, was going to stay retired? Fighters never do. There had been rumors for months that St-Pierre was going to return to the Octagon, and on Wednesday UFC president Dana White made it official. St-Pierre will fight middleweight champion Michael Bisping at a location and date to be determined. It should happen at some point later this year, and Las Vegas would be an early favorite for where.
“We haven’t set a date yet, but that’s the fight,” White said. “(St-Pierre) has to be tested by USADA for the next three months. There’s a lot of things that have to happen for Georges to come back, and then we’ll pick a date.”
St-Pierre (25-2) is considered one of the best MMA fighters ever and he might be the most popular non-hockey playing athlete in Canada. The 35-year-old was the longest-reigning welterweight champion in UFC history, defending the title nine consecutive times between 2008-2013. His last fight was a split-decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013. He vacated the title shortly after in taking a break from the sport. He never officially said he was retired.
On Sports Interaction MMA odds, St-Pierre is an opening -150 favorite for this fight. That seems like a bit of a lack of respect for the 30-year-old Bisping, although St-Pierre has never been an underdog dating to 2007, as far as records go.
The Englishman Bisping is 30-7 and has won five fights in a row. He was last in the Octagon last October and beat Dan Henderson by unanimous decision at UFC 204. Bisping won the middleweight title with a first-round upset knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 last June. Bisping is a +120 underdog here on MMA odds. He was +330 against Rockhold.
This won’t be Bisping’s first rodeo against an all-time great. He beat Anderson Silva last February by unanimous decision as a +160 underdog. The loser in this is No. 1 ranked middleweight contender Yoel Romero, who was in line to fight Bisping but now must wait until 2018 to get a title shot – assuming he doesn’t lose to another contender before that.
In UFC’s dream scenario, St-Pierre wins this title and eventually fights lightweight champion Conor McGregor sometime next year. Assuming McGregor returns to the UFC from his sabbatical, that is.Bet On The UFC At SBR's Top Sportsbooks