Confirming what had been known since earlier this week and rumored for far longer, Dana White revealed to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times that Georges St-Pierre is returning to the UFC.
“He’s back. I’m excited,” White told Pugmire. “We worked at it for a long time and finally got it done.”
White said that the deal for GSP to return to the company was completed on Thursday.
While the news that St-Pierre is back with the UFC is confirmed, who he’ll be facing upon his return isn’t. White told Pugmire that GSP could fight for the championship at welterweight or middleweight, and that fighting at lightweight is even a possibility.
Middleweight champion Michael Bisping has been a rumored opponent for St-Pierre’s return fight, with a bout targeted for UFC 206 in Toronto last December unable to be made as GSP and the UFC couldn’t come to an agreement. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reached out to Bisping, who said, “I’m happy Georges is back part of the UFC roster, and hopefully we’ll meet in the Octagon soon.”
St-Pierre is, of course, a former UFC welterweight champion and successfully defended that title in a controversial split-decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013 before stepping away and vacating the title.
His negotiations to return to the UFC have been well-publicized, with GSP’s endorsement deal with Under Armour a sticking point given the UFC’s relationship with Reebok. He was also previously critical of the UFC’s drug testing procedures before USADA came into the picture.
GSP’s next fight may not be immediate, however, as Helwani reports that the target for the fight remains the third or fourth quarter of this year.