February 26, 2017

UFC: GSP Could Become Undisputed GOAT In Return To Octagon

By Adam Martin

Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre made it official last week, announcing in a video on his social media channels that he has inked a multi-fight contract with the UFC and will return later this year to the promotion where he became famous. According to GSP's trainer Firas Zahabi, who spoke on The MMA Hour last week, GSP could return at either 155 lbs, 170 lbs, 185 lbs, or at a catchweight. That means the UFC brass will have plenty of options for who they match GSP up with.

A potential fight pitting GSP against UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor would no doubt be a pay-per-view blockbuster, and would be by far the biggest fight the UFC could put on right now, maybe even the biggest fight in UFC history. GSP was the biggest star in the sport before he abruptly retired in 2013, and McGregor is by far the biggest star in the sport at the moment, which should lead to a huge PPV for the UFC. The only problem here is that McGregor seems fixated on a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, but GSP might be the one fight in MMA that would be worth it for McGregor to drop his demands for Mayweather.

At welterweight, there are numerous options for GSP. A title fight against the winner of UFC 209's Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson makes sense if GSP wants to come back and fight for his title, but Woodley and Thompson don't move the needle, and according to Zahabi, GSP's focus is not on reclaiming the welterweight title and defending it again, but instead on getting the biggest fights possible, fans that the fans want to pay to see. That means that a fight with Demian Maia, although intriguing stylistically, doesn't seem likely to go down, but it does mean that fights against Nick Diaz and/or Nate Diaz could make sense since they could do well at the box office. Although we've already seen GSP against Nick and it was terrible, and a fight against Nate would probably play out the same way stylistically.

At middleweight, there are two intriguing options for GSP. The first is a middleweight title fight against champion Michael Bisping, who wants this fight. Bisping is ducking #1 contender Yoel Romero in hopes of a big money fight, and GSP would be that fight. This is a matchup the UFC tried to book last year for UFC 206, but GSP and the promotion couldn't agree to a contract and the fight didn't materialize. It's an intriguing fight on paper, and the UFC likely looks at it as a big PPV seller, but with Romero and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza waiting for title shots, it might not make sense to book.

That's where a superfight between GSP and Anderson Silva comes into play. This is a fight MMA fans have asked for years and have always wanted to see, and even with GSP coming off of a long layoff and Silva on a big decline, it's still a very interesting matchup that could take place at either 185 lbs or at a catchweight of 180 lbs. It's a fight that wouldn't hold up any belts in any division, and would be a fun fight for the UFC to put on for the fans, a fight that would do very well at the box office and show us just where GSP is at against an opponent he can stylistically beat.

Depending on who GSP fights in his return fight, and who he fights in subsequent fights, GSP
has a chance to claim the title of MMA’s Greatest Of All Time for himself.

Right now, it's a bit of a tossup between GSP, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, and Fedor Emelianenko as to who the MMA GOAT is, with fighters like Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, and Chuck Liddell just outside of that discussion. For GSP, he has a few things going for him already. Unlike Jones and Silva, GSP has never tested positive for any banned substances, and unlike Silva and Emelianenko, GSP has never lost multiple fights in a row. In fact, GSP has only lost twice in his career and avenged those defeats to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. Jones is basically undefeated, save for a disputed DQ loss to Matt Hamill, but with his issues outside the cage and his lack of activity in recent years, GSP could overtake Jones, depending on who he fights in his comeback.

Let's say GSP comes back and fights McGregor in his return and wins the lightweight title, adding to his welterweight title. Or GSP comes back to welterweight and wins back his belt from either Tyron Woodley or Stephen Thompson. Or if he goes to middleweight and wins the title from Michael Bisping or beats Anderson Silva in a long-awaited superfight. Or let’s say it’s a combination of any of these fights. In any of those situations, it'd be hard not to place GSP at the top of the MMA's GOAT list if he picks up wins of that quality after such a long layoff.

GSP says he's back and better than ever, and he'll get the chance to prove it this year. Winning a second title would add to his legacy in the sport, and it would give him the chance to become the sport's undisputed greatest. He could even win a third, putting him in a class of his own. The fact he never tested positive for PEDs helps his legacy too. Now let's see how he looks in his comeback. It's great to have GSP back in the sport, making the UFC great again.

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