LAS VEGAS -- All the players from Montreal's Tristar Gym involved with UFC 167 have held fast to the party line this week: There's no way training partners Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald will fight one another.
But UFC president Dana White isn't buying it.
With St-Pierre running out of challengers he hasn't already beaten in the course of his five-and-a-half-year welterweight title reign, and MacDonald on the fast track up the ranks, wins in their respective fights on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena would put them one step closer to a showdown some feel is inevitable.
Count White among those who believe in the fight's inevitability.
"[MacDonald] will fight Georges St-Pierre," White said at Thursday's UFC 167 media scrum. "I know it, you know it, everybody knows it."
White went so far as to say that if the 15-1 welterweight contender wins his fight against Robbie Lawler on Saturday night, that will mark the turning point at which MacDonald decides to leave Tristar and chart his path toward St-Pierre's title, assuming St-Pierre defeats challenger Johny Hendricks on Saturday night.
"This is my prediction," said White. "I think if he beats Robbie Lawler, he's going to move out of Georges' house, and I think things are going to change. I think this is the fight for him that's going to put him in the direction of fighting GSP. I think if he wins this fight, he's moving out, he's leaving his own place."
White said that despite MacDonad's protestations, as he's been answering the "will you fight GSP?" questions this week with a simple "No," his actions state otherwise.
"You can't see that this kid wants to fight Georges St-Pierre?" White said. "He's living in Georges St-Pierre's house. What you don't do, is you don't say you want to fight this guy. That's like saying I don't want to punch the guy in the face whose house I'm living in."
While there has been well-documented acrimony over the years when it's come time for training partners to fight -- Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans being the most recent, high-profile example -- White said St-Pierre's professionalism will carry the day.
"I know Georges St-Pierre," said White. "I know what a professional he is, and I know, when has GSP ever not fought someone who deserved to be next? GSP has never been one of those champions who says ‘I don't think this guy deserves to be fighting me.' he says ‘Who's next.'
White went so far as to compare GSP favorably to the fighter most consider the ultimate UFC company man.
"Out of all the fighters we've had, including Chuck Liddell, who is considered part of my family, nobody has been easier and more professional to work with than Georges St-Pierre."
On Wednesday, Tristar trainer Firas Zahabi told MMAFighting.com that he can't envision St-Pierre and MacDonald crossing paths in the Octagon.
"People tell me, oh, you should have them fight each other," Zahabi said. "I always tell myself, why would I do that? I spent so much time, for so many years, to work with them, to have this energy. Why would I betray one of them or turn my interest against one of them?"