The UFC's new anti-doping policy has an interesting side effect: It has drawn the attention of Georges St-Pierre.
Sources close to St-Pierre told UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani that the more stringent drug-testing program that will be installed next month is a "step in the right direction to bring him back." However, GSP wasn't just hung up on the performance-enhancing drug problem in MMA. That was not the only obstacle, sources told Helwani, and there remains no word on whether the former UFC welterweight champion will return.
St-Pierre, 34, stepped away from the UFC following a win over Johny Hendricks to retain the belt at UFC 167 in November 2013. GSP vacated the title a few weeks later and said he needed some time to clear his head. The French Canadian superstar has still never formally announced his retirement.
Last spring, St-Pierre tore his ACL, putting any kind of potential return on hold. He has since been cleared to train by doctors for months and has spend a considerable amount of time at Tristar Gym in Montreal -- just not necessarily as part of preparation for a comeback campaign.
The UFC has taken a serious stance against PEDs and PED users since GSP departed. In April, the UFC hired anti-doping czar Jeff Novitzky to be its vice president of athlete health and performance. Novitzky is known for taking down BALCO and Lance Armstrong. Earlier this month, the UFC announced it would be partnering with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) starting in July to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs.
Under the new regulations, every fighter on the UFC roster will be randomly tested out of competition on average of 5.5 times per year. Also, the UFC will amp up penalties for fighters who test positive, including a two-year suspension for first-time offenders.
If St-Pierre (25-2) never returns, he will have gone out on top, winning his last 12 fights and being regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. "Rush" is also one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the history of the UFC.