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Tyron Woodley believes GSP will only return for Conor McGregor fight

UFC 209 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LOS ANGELES — Georges St-Pierre’s fighting future is once again up in the air. Two months after GSP returned to the Octagon and won the UFC middleweight title over Michael Bisping in the main event of UFC 217, it remains unclear whether or not St-Pierre will ever fight again.

GSP vacated the middleweight just weeks later, citing the condition ulcerative colitis that would prevent him from fighting in the 185-pound division again. St-Pierre was the longtime welterweight champion and the window seems open for him to come back to that division. But no one yet knows if that’s what he’ll do.

The champion of that UFC welterweight division is Tyron Woodley. He’s a name that UFC president Dana White talked about as a possible next opponent for St-Pierre, if he decides to return again.

Woodley, though, said he is not any under illusions that he’ll get a fight with GSP. If that was St-Pierre’s interest, Woodley told MMA Fighting, then it would have happened already.

“Georges could have possibly fought me right after Demian Maia did,” Woodley said last week at an event to promote his sponsor Onnit’s relationship with Whole Foods. “Georges could have fought me before Demian Maia. Georges could have fought me after Michael Bisping. Georges does not want to fight me. And I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t want to fight me if I was him, either. He’s already done what he needs to do in the sport. He’s already captured two different titles in two different divisions. He’s made a fortune in mixed martial arts. He has nothing to prove. Does it make a lot of sense for him to come in and take on a very challenging, very hard-punching, fast, explosive guy who just so happens to have the best takedown defense in the history of our sport? Maybe not. I’m just that guy right now. I’m on the top and he’s had his time and I don’t think he wants to fight me.”

Woodley said he’s not sure if GSP will ever come back to fighting. But if he does, he believes he knows the opponent that will lure him inside the cage: Conor McGregor.

“I think Conor is the fight that’ll bring him out,” Woodley said. “A smaller opponent. One hard punch, straight left that he can predict and get ready for. The takedowns are gonna be there all day for him. So I think a Conor McGregor fight is gonna provide a f*cking fortune when it comes down to money. I think that’s the fight that he’s gonna try to do.”

If Woodley were a betting man, he’d likely put some money down on the UFC making a fight between McGregor and GSP in the future. Woodley said he’d be interested in fighting either one of those top financial draws. He’s just not holding his breath that it’ll happen.

“I think Conor would come back to fight Nate [Diaz] or Georges,” Woodley said. “I think Georges would come back to fight Conor. Outside of that … I don’t think Conor wants to fight me, I don’t think Georges wants to fight me. Once again, the same thing I’m saying about the guys in my division. They don’t wan to help bring me up. They know if they fight me, it’s a big risk, there’s a chance I’m gonna beat them. And then I’m gonna burst into stardom beating either one of those guys. I can’t force them to fight, but I would love to fight versus Conor or Georges St-Pierre, my No. 1 choice right now.”

Woodley is currently rehabbing after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He said he expects to be back to normal training in two months, which likely put his return to the Octagon sometime in the second or even third quarter of 2018. The contenders out there — Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington, in particular — don’t really strike Woodley’s fancy. He has a feeling, though, that things will shake out as he continues to get better from his injury.

“I heal, I pray,” Woodley said. “I think I’m gonna come back at the perfect time. I think the perfect fight is gonna be there for me. And I just really have faith in it.”

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