Georges St-Pierre, who already stands as one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all-time, made his long-awaited return to the octagon in spectacular fashion on November 4, 2017. Taking on champion Michael Bisping, GSP was somewhat surprisingly the favorite going into the UFC 217 showdown – given that he was absent from the sport for four years – but he proved once again why he’s one of the best.
The opening rounds were well-contested, with St-Pierre visibly feeling out his opponent until ‘Rush’ finally struck, ending the reigning champion with a rear-naked choke in the third round to establish himself as a UFC champion once again. But the Canadian didn’t leave the battle unscathed. A few days after the fight, GSP informed mixed martial arts fans that an elbow in the first round from Bisping caused his neck to become inflamed and that, after the fight, he couldn’t move it. But then further medical issues arose, with the 26-2 Quebec-native announcing that he had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
To stop the division from freezing due to his forced inactivity, St-Pierre vacated his middleweight title, but some saw this coming a long time ago. UFC president Dana White clearly thought that GSP was going for a cash grab so he put a mandatory defense of the middleweight title against Robert Whittaker in the Canadian’s contract. While GSP still says that he’ll do another fight with the UFC, White is skeptical. But perhaps St-Pierre is merely seeking another fight to further his majestic mixed martial arts legacy, as opposed to fighting someone who he deems not to be worthy.
Why step down from the top of the world?
Georges St-Pierre is a very humble, down to earth sportsman who speaks with respect when referring to almost everyone in the UFC, so he’ll never proclaim another fighter unworthy. But, when he left the sport in 2013, one of the reasons for his four-year hiatus was a perceived lack of competition in the promotion. He came back to win a new title, displaying his immaculate versatility in the octagon so it was, possibly, foreseeable that he’d only fight again if it were another legacy-enhancing bout.
In any fight that would be announced, no matter the skill of the opponent, St-Pierre will always either be the favorite by the bookmakers or, at the very least, a marginal underdog. He’s simply too talented and too fit not to be a serious candidate in any UFC fight right now. Even in the digital world, in the UFC slot game, the best fighter to pick is GSP, with the best online casino bonuses players having more potential wins with the Canadian fighter. The fact is that GSP is so popular, both for fight fans and those looking to bet on him at online casinos with sportsbooks, that he can dictate who he wishes to fight next. But, of course, the 36-year-old will be polite about it.
The fact that he’s Canadian only helps to better his cause when it comes to money-making. Canada loves a huge range of sports including mixed martial arts, and the fact that GSP is effectively a living legend helps the popularity of the sport even more. With the Canadian casino gaming market revenue at US$6,230,000,000 in 2015 and surpassing that in recent years, there’s no doubt that another major fight for GSP against the right opponent will be a cash cow for all involved.
Who is worthy of GSP?
Very few is the straight answer here. A lot of the very best fighters around right now are plying their trade in much lighter divisions than Georges St-Pierre has fought at in the past. But, then again, he is a master of cutting weight. Coach Firas Zahabi has been quoted as saying that GSP vs. Conor McGregor would be the biggest fight in mixed martial arts history but the Canadian has made it clear that he’d never call out a fighter of a much lower weight – McGregor’s around 155 pounds and GSP is about 170 pounds.
St-Pierre could always turn to the man currently running the show in his old stomping grounds, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. The 5’9’’ Missouri, United States of America brawler has gone from strength to strength, currently on a six-fight win-streak of which four have had the title on the line. Woodley’s incredible defensive work would certainly give St-Pierre something to think about and would provide both the Canadian and the promotion the blockbuster fight that they both desire. A huge showdown between Canadian legend and American champion would be a huge event both in monetary value and sporting significance, so if that’s the kind of fight that St-Pierre is waiting for, we may as well sit with him.