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Georges St-Pierre talking to UFC 'more seriously:' Reebok deal a hang-up

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The return of Georges St-Pierre seems to be closer than ever.

The all-time great and former UFC welterweight champion told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he is embarking on a test training camp before deciding on a comeback and his talks with the UFC are heating up.

"If I feel good, I'll give the thumbs up to my manager," St-Pierre said. "They've been talking with UFC, but now they're going to talk more seriously to see what's gonna happen."

One of the things to hammer out is potentially a new contract. When he stepped away from the sport in 2013, the UFC did not have an outfitting policy with Reebok. GSP was allowed at the time to wear his own sponsors in the Octagon and got paid for that. That is no longer allowed in the UFC with Reebok in the fold, and St-Pierre is looking to make up that money somehow.

"It changed a lot of things in my contract," GSP said. "We need to renegotiate maybe a new contract. I'm not allowed to wear my sponsors anymore, and I lose money. It depends how it's gonna go down with the UFC. We'll see what's gonna happen."

St-Pierre, 34, has said for the last few months that before he comes back he wants to do a trial training camp to see how he feels -- mentally and physically. A shoulder injury put that on hold for the last few weeks, but GSP is starting to train again. The results of the test training camp will go a long way into the Canadian legend deciding what he'll do.

"I think I'm doing well and I haven't been active in a long time in the Octagon," St-Pierre said. "You can be in the gym, but the Octagon is a different thing. I need to make sure if I do this, I need to do my tryout first, push myself to see if my body and I really want to do this again, go through that training camp.

"I need to be testing it. I don't want to do it and in the middle of my real training camp, be like, 'Oh, I don't feel comfortable doing this.' And then I mess up everything and I come back and make a fool of myself. I want to make sure if I go back, I'm at my best. There's no stone unturned, if you know what I mean."

St-Pierre (25-2) took a hiatus from MMA after a split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013. He vacated the belt despite winning 12 straight fights and going without a loss for six years.

GSP said at the time he was tired and burnt out. He had some personal issues he had to deal with. St-Pierre later mentioned his concern about performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. Things have changed on that front on a positive level with the UFC bringing on USADA as its third-party, anti-doping partner.

The new system, which has caught a number of alleged drug cheats since it began in July, is "not perfect," GSP said. But nothing ever is, he added. The UFC's anti-doping stance has improved and GSP also said that a slight rift with executives has also healed.

"I feel more comfortable now working with the UFC," St-Pierre said. "I'm not on bad terms with nobody. I understand it's a business. [UFC president] Dana [White] has said stuff, because he's said things that satisfy his interests and it's normal. I say things that satisfy my own interests. Everybody tries to do the best for themselves. It's nothing personal. I don't take it personally."

St-Pierre joked to Helwani that he tells his friends that three things in life excite him: women, dinosaurs and the violence of the Octagon. GSP just started a paleontological show on the History channel called "The Boneyard" and, well, he has never had trouble in the woman department. There's only one thing left for him: a UFC return.

GSP said that he finds fighting pleasurable, but only if he's at the top of his game. If he is and the test training camp goes well, it does seem like St-Pierre will return. Maybe.

"Things can change so fast in the UFC," he said. "It's so unpredictable. I don't know if I'll be back for sure. I haven't done my training camp yet. I'm doing it. I haven't discussed all the possibilities with the UFC. Maybe the negotiations won't go well. A lot of things can happen."

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