A rumor surfaced yesterday that legendary former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was supposedly returning to the Octagon to face featherweight champion Conor McGregor in the main event of November’s UFC 205 from Madison Square Garden, and it was supposedly going to be announced on tonight’s ‘UFC Tonight.”

While the announcement fans were waiting for never came and St-Pierre continued to tease the MMA world about his long-awaited and oft-discussed return, the decorated champion did seem closer than ever to a return after another rumor arrived last week that he would headline UFC 206 from his native Canada. St-Pierre admitted that it wasn’t a coincidence his four-month USADA testing window to re-enter fighting, which began on August 10, would expire on exactly that day:

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence. But it’s in Toronto. Who would be a better man than myself to headline a card in Toronto – Air Canada – get back the Canadian fans, raise the pay-per-view up now that Rory has gone to Bellator.””

Prodded by show co-host Daniel Cormier about just whom he would face in his return, St-Pierre turned the tables on ‘DC’:

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“Whoever. I’m glad that you brought it up. Who would you like me to fight?”

Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Georges St.Pierre (red) is declared the winner by unanimous decision during the Welterweight title bout against Nick Diaz at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

But then he addressed the question in full, noting that previously discussed bouts with current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and a big ticket rematch with Nick Diaz were on his mind. He also added the unexpected name of Demian Maia into the mix after he was impressed by the Brazilian’s dominant submission win over Carlos Condit last weekend:

“Tyron Woodley. I would fight Tyron Woodley. Nick Diaz, I would fight Nick Diaz. Maia looked pretty good in his last fight. I think he, these guys can elevate me. They’re not guys that I’m necessarily supposed to beat, so it’s a big risk, but I’m willing to take the risk because these guys gonna elevate me. To be far in this game, it’s not about who got the biggest balls, so to speak. Sort of, but it’s not about that; it’s not a straight line. You need to know where to go and be able to elevate yourself, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Talk moved on to UFC President Dana White‘s suggestion that St-Pierre no longer had the desire to be champion, to which GSP vehemently denied. St-Pierre views this as a sort of negotiation tactic from White, and he said the brash executive would see he truly does want to fight in the first minute of his first fight back:

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“He doesn’t know anything about me. I’m a smart guy. I’m not the kind of guy you’re gonna say, “Oh gee, I’m gonna sign it!” and gonna fight for peanut now. I’m a smart person; it doesn’t work on me. But I’m gonna tell him something today, ‘Let me fight once. And you’ll see in the first minute of the fight that is wrong.'”

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The all-time great confirmed he did want to be make another run at the title he vacated, and proclaimed he’d prove his desire to be champion against Woodley:

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“Yes. Let me fight Tyron Woodley, then we’ll see if I wanna be world champion again.”

At the end of the day, however, he wasn’t mad at White, focusing on the fact that both sides of this potentially huge business deal have to look out for their own respective best interests. Once that game is done being played, St-Pierre noted, the world (and White) will see that he’s truly motivated to make his return:

“I understand what he means. I’m not angry at Dana; he does what he does for the best of his interests, I do what I do for the best of my interests. One day when all of that gonna be over, we’ll probably be friends like most of the guys that I fought. But now, it’s like a game, he’s doing his thing, I’m doing mine, and we’ll work for the best of our interests. But let me fight once, you’ll see. Not once, but after the first minute of the fight, you’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s serious.'”

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