Former longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre confirmed earlier this year that he would finally be making a return to the Octagon after going into a self-imposed hiatus after his highly controversial split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in 2013.
UFC President Dana White had even announced that St. Pierre would take on middleweight champion Michael Bisping in his return bout, although White recently pulled the plug on that bout after learning that “Rush” would not be ready to fight until this coming fall.
St. Pierre’s longtime head coach Firas Zahabi, however, recently said that ‘everyone’ knew of St. Pierre’s timeline:
“I think everybody knows Georges has to go through the USADA testing,” Zahabi told MMAJunkie.com. “He has to wait to the fall until he can fight. I think it’s clear on everybody’s side – everybody knows that.”
When St. Pierre does indeed return, Zahabi feels as if only two bouts make sense for him: a title fight with Bisping or a fight with lightweight king Conor McGregor:
“I think I want Georges to fight a high-profile fight,” Zahabi admitted. “He doesn’t need any more to go and try to be champion of the welterweight division and try to defend the title every three-four months. I think he’s done that, and he’s past that. I don’t want to speak for him. I don’t know if it’s a lifestyle he wants to go back to.
“I think he should fight Conor McGregor or Michael Bisping, and I’ll tell you why: Michael Bisping will give him a two-title championship, and if he fights McGregor, it’ll be the greatest fight in UFC history.
“Other than that, I don’t know if there’s anything else that’s super-interesting. I don’t wanna speak for Georges – maybe Georges is thinking of other fights – but the two fights I’m interested in would be a Bisping fight or a McGregor fight. I don’t see why that can’t happen. Maybe it’s a question of time, but it should happen.”
Bisping recently revealed that he’s still dealing with a knee injury that will also keep him out of action until the fall, so a bout between him and St. Pierre is certainly still an option if that is the direction the UFC would like to go.
McGregor, on the other hand, is coming off of a brutal knockout victory over Eddie Alvarez last November at UFC 205 in New York City. He’s currently pursuing a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, but a bout between him and St. Pierre would pit two of the biggest stars in UFC history against each other. The “Notorious” one has competed at 170 pounds in the past, but “Rush” has also said that he could make the 155-pound limit.
While both options are lucrative, at the end of the day, Zahabi would like to see St. Pierre take on Bisping and it’s a fight he believes Bisping deserves:
“Bisping has been fighting for a long time; he deserves a big money fight,” Zahabi stated. “I think fighting Georges would make him the most money he’s ever made in his career. I think he deserves that. I think he’s a big name. I think he’s champion – he should make that money.
“And what do the fans want to see? I think Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre is the No. 1 fight they want to see. So why aren’t we giving it to them? I don’t know.”
What do you make of Zahabi’s comments?