Dana White: 'I know for a fact' Georges St-Pierre will return

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

DALLAS -- Six of the UFC's top-12 welterweights are in Dallas, TX this week as the division begins to move on without the man who ruled it with an iron fist for seven years, Georges St-Pierre.

A record-breaking champion and longtime top pay-per-view draw, St-Pierre announced that he would be vacating his UFC title and taking an indefinite leave of absence from the sport in late-2013, eventually citing issues with the sport's lax stance on drug testing procedure and PED abuse. However, just two months after St-Pierre's announcement, the Nevada State Athletic Commission took the first step towards amending the problem by ruling to ban the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

At least in theory, the ban could potentially open the door for St-Pierre's eventual return. Although UFC President Dana White believes the abolishment of TRT will ultimately have little outcome on St-Pierre's decision.

"That's not why he's gone," White told reporters on Thursday. "He's not gone because of TRT or any of that stuff. He's gone because he had personal problems that he needed to deal with. A lot of that stuff got blown out of proportion. He's gone because of the reason he sat down with me and Lorenzo that night and told us."

Although White downplays the effect that the pervasiveness of performance enhancing drugs had on St-Pierre's decision to step away from the sport, the former welterweight champion has continued to speak out against the topic, recently affirming it as at least a partial motive for his decision.

"It was one of the reasons, but it was not the only reason," St-Pierre told Brazilian media.

"It's a new sport, and I believe they should do the guideline and there should be more testing, because it's a big problem. I'm glad they actually banned the TRT right now. It was a big problem, but I think they still have a lot of other things to do."

Regardless, as one of the sport's most visible and beloved figures, the matter of St-Pierre's potential return will remain a topic of interest for as long as the 32-year-old appears physically able to lace up his gloves.

St-Pierre recently teased fight fans by stating "don't blink" when asked about the possibility of an eventual comeback. Although when asked on Thursday, White's answer was far more unequivocal.

"I know for a fact he will (return)," White said.

"Is it fun for Georges St-Pierre to be gone? I mean, no, I wouldn't say that it's fun for him to be gone. But the welterweight division is exciting right now, and when Georges does come back, whoever's standing there, it will be a fun fight."

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