I still remember Bruce Buffer reading the score cards of GSP v Hendricks. GSP’s corner was silent, GSP just kept looking to his corner after each score was read. Hendricks on the other hand had a glow about him, he truly believed he had won the fight. Finally, Bruce got to his “and……STILL!”. The crowd erupted in disbelief, I took a huge breath of relief and GSP remained champion.
But during the post fight interview you knew GSP was badly beaten. The first thing he said was, “I need a vacation.” After Rogan was asking him questions, George St. Pierre, who was on a 11, now 12 fight winning streak took the mic and announced his retirement. It was a very emotional moment for GSP, with the crowd booing in the background. That would be the last time we’d see GSP inside the octagon.
Now fast forward almost three years, GSP officially announces his return. Over the past 3 years, rumors would constantly spread that GSP was returning. But this time GSP himself announced it on The MMA Hour.
Compared to other fighters coming back from retirement, GSP is a special case. Even though he retired on a controversial decision, it’s still a win in the history books. It’s not like GSP lost 3 in a row via knockout and decided to hang up the gloves. He retired as the greatest welterweight champion of all time. But what happens when fighters decide to come out of retirement?
More often than not, they lose.
So if it was up to me, I’d keep GSP’s legacy and record in tact. I’d force him to stay retired. But ultimately it’s GSP’s call, so who should he face in his return fight?
Well before you can answer that, you have to look at some things that have changed. The IV Ban and the current state of each division. The current welterweight champion is a demon that you dream about in your nightmares. As a GSP fan, please keep Robbie Lawler as far away as you can in his first fight back. As a purist, that’s the fight that makes the most sense.
The retired champion who never (technically never) lost the belt vs the current welterweight champion. But the middleweight division is on its head right now. Michael Bisping captured the belt after one of the craziest upsets of the year. But he is still seen by many as a temporary champ. I can’t say I disagree.
Between Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza… I think you’d agree, Bisping will need a lot of luck on his side to keep that belt. So for GSP this is the perfect opportunity to jump that line and fight for his second UFC belt.
Not only would that be a great return fight if he can pull off the victory. But it would set up a potentially huge Welterweight vs Middleweight championship fight. I know it sounds crazy, but if GSP’s chances of losing in his return fight are bigger than his chances of winning. Let’s take the chance and make it as big as possible.
I know the purists will disagree and normally I would too. But I say fuck it.
George St. Pierre vs Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight belt at UFC 202.