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Georges St-Pierre: Fighting B.J. Penn again would be ‘unnecessary risk for my legacy’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Plenty of fighters have called out Georges St-Pierre in the nearly three years since he has been away from the UFC. One of the most recent ones is notable: longtime St-Pierre rival and fellow MMA legend B.J. Penn.

Penn is returning to the Octagon himself after a two-year layoff and facing Ricardo Lamas in the UFC Fight Night 87 main event Oct. 15 in the Philippines. After his six-month suspension for IV use was announced in June, Penn called out GSP on Twitter for a fight at UFC 205 in New York.

St-Pierre saw the tweet. He just isn't very interested in a third fight with Penn, who he has beaten twice before.

"I have nothing to gain going back to fighting B.J. Penn," St-Pierre told MMA Fighting in a phone interview promoting his new "Kickboxer: Vengeance" movie. "B.J. is a very dangerous opponent. You never know. If he trains hard, I think B.J. Penn is very skilled. He's one of the most skilled guys I fought. The problem with B.J. is he didn't put the effort into his preparation."

St-Pierre, 35, is almost certainly coming back to fighting after being on hiatus for three years. GSP enrolled in USADA's drug-testing program Aug. 10. He'll have to be in that for four months before stepping in the Octagon again. Coincidentally or not, UFC 206 in Toronto is four months to the day of St-Pierre's placement in the testing pool.

It's unlikely that Penn will be his opponent on that date. St-Pierre just doesn't think facing — or even beating — Penn does anything for his career at this point. He beat Penn by split decision in a very close fight at UFC 58 in 2006 and then again at UFC 94 in 2009. In that latter matchup, Penn accused St-Pierre of greasing his body to make himself slippery.

"I fought him two times and for me I don't see any good for me to come back and fight him," St-Pierre said. "I don't see anything good that I can gain from it. A lot of fighters that challenge me, that's what it is. I don't see the point in fighting them. I want to have a fight that people want to see me fight in, something that if I win, it would elevate me. If I fight against B.J. right now — he's an amazing fighter — if I win, I don't elevate myself more. If B.J. wins on the other hand, now it elevates him."

A fight against someone like Nick Diaz is more attractive to GSP. St-Pierre feels like Diaz is still an elite welterweight and believes he didn't beat him the way he should have in the first bout in 2013.

A third fight with Penn, though? St-Pierre simply doesn't feel like it would help him at all. Penn has not won a fight since 2010 and has since dropped down to featherweight. GSP fights at welterweight, two divisions up.

"It's an unnecessary risk for my legacy, for my career to take to fight a guy like him right now," St-Pierre said. "It has nothing that will be good for me right now. I think he's very dangerous. If it would be a walk in the park, I would do it."

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