Georges St-Pierre’s spot in mixed martial arts history has been signed, sealed and delivered.
He remains the very best welterweight to ever compete inside of the cage, and certainly deserves consideration for greatest fighter of all time. His UFC record of 19 wins and eight-straight title defenses sheds light on his overall accomplishments.
But despite his iron-clad resume and near-two year absence from the sport, the combat superstar still has the itch to fight. It’s a natural feeling that the 34-year-old can’t knock. In a recent report by Canada’s RDS, St-Pierre finally hinted towards a potential comeback.
“I’m starting to get the taste, more and more, to comeback,” stated GSP. “I watch the fights to see what’s going on in my division, and I’m staying in shape.”
Started the day the hard way with some reaction exercises with my gym trainer Patrick. https://t.co/8PZaBDWBDA
— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) October 9, 2015
Needless to say, UFC president Dana White would love to have one of his biggest tickets of all time back in the mix. Add in an inevitable return by Jon Jones, rising cash cows like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, and the UFC would be happier than a lion in a chicken coop.
While a return by St-Pierre is more likely than it was just a month ago, nothing is set in stone. But the fact that the former UFC champ has continued training hard amidst his ongoing Hollywood integration suggests he means business entering 2016.
That leads us to the very important question: Who will, or better yet should, welcome GSP back to the Octagon?
Look no further. Here are three self-sustainable names worthy enough to attract “Rush” out of retirement:
Option 1: Robbie Lawler
This is the most obvious choice assuming the current UFC welterweight champ can defend his title opposite Carlos Condit at UFC 195 on Jan. 2.
The fact of the matter is that “Ruthless” is one of only a few divisional standouts that St-Pierre hasn’t already debunked in fashion. Add in GSP protegé Rory MacDonald’s historic loss to Lawler back at UFC 189 and you have a storyline for the ages.
On paper, St-Pierre’s wrestling and versatile range would certainly peg him as a slight favorite. But when you consider that Lawler has already defeated athletic wrestlers like MacDonald and Johny Hendricks, GSP’s perfected takedowns may not hold up. If that’s the case, Lawler’s striking power and teflon chin would pose immediate issues for the Canadian.
It is the most likely scenario if Lawler can get past “The Natural Born Killer.” Tyron Woodley has been promised the next title shot at 170, but he would be skipped like double dutch if it meant a GSP championship comeback.
Option 2: Johny Hendricks
St-Pierre ended his UFC career with a victory over Hendricks at UFC 167. It was easily his most hard-fought title defense of his entire career and a five-round effort that was only good enough for a controversial split-decision win.
In any case, Hendricks is someone who would test GSP like no other if they happened to lock horns for a reboot. With strong wrestling, powerful strikes in the clinch, and a respectable gas tank, “Bigg Rigg” is not that far off from possessing the ingredients to tarnish St-Pierre’s excellence.
However, in light of a recent weight-cut failure, Hendricks has been forced up to the middleweight division. It’s a move that will certainly test the 5’9″ power puncher in a division boasting the likes of physical freaks Chris Wediman, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Yoel Romero and even Uriah Hall
While the move up in weight classes doesn’t look good for Hendricks’ title hopes, it’s not a bad scenario if St-Pierre finally wants to test the waters at 185 pounds.
It would allow GSP to evaluate his skill set as a heavier fighter against a familiar foe.
Option 3: Anderson Silva
The MMA gods have yet to reward us onlookers with such a legendary matchup, but it’s still a possibility entering 2016.
While Silva is more on the back-end of his career and GSP is wasting the few good years he has left on the sidelines, a meeting at 185 pounds would even the playing field. And considering Silva just bullied his way past Nick Diaz at UFC 183, we’re led to believe he would have similar success against another high-profile welterweight.
The former pound-for-pound standout and UFC middleweight champion ultimately failed a pre-fight drug test, but will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 31 of next year. That could potentially set up one of the most anticipated super fights ever. One that would easily draw 1 million pay-per-views buys.
Silva’s strength, dexterity and reach would play a major role in keeping GSP on the outside, but St-Pierre’s quickness, athletic dominance and persistence would enable him to get his hands on “The Spider” one way or another.
This is a matchup that still needs to come to fruition. It’s a perfect welcome back party for GSP as he returns to the fold with nothing to prove and money to be made.