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Georges St-Pierre teases Nick Diaz, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington as ‘interesting’ options for return to competition

Georges St-Pierre has big plans for his return to competition.

Earlier this month, St-Pierre announced he will return to competition — not in MMA, but in a grappling match at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 6 on Dec. 14 in Las Vegas.

The match is St-Pierre’s first competition since his retirement from the UFC in 2017, and speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the UFC Hall of Famer said he wants to come back not just for the sport of it, but also to help build the UFC’s grappling endeavors.

“The thing is, I love jiu-jitsu, I love grappling,” he said. “It’s also a sport I believe that it’s accessible to more people, a bigger range of people. MMA, not everybody wants to compete in MMA, because they don’t want to get brain damage. But grappling is a sport that is accessible to a much bigger audience. When the UFC told me they want to get into this, I wanted to be part of their promotion, try to help the sport growing. I think they are starting small, but eventually the shows will be in big arenas. That’s my goal. I want to help the organization to get to that point.”

St-Pierre is one of the most accomplished MMA fighters of all-time. A two-time UFC welterweight champion and one-time middleweight champion, he is third on the all-time title defense list and holds numerous other UFC records.

While the date is set for his return, his opponent is not.

St-Pierre noted there are still many things up in the air including weight and ruleset, but believes the most important thing is an opponent and situation that will get the fans interested.

“We don’t know the rules,” he said. “I don’t compete. I’m not back trying to be world champion here. It’s a different mindset than when I was competing in MMA. I’m competing for the kick of it. Of course, I’m a very competitive person, and will do my best, but I think it will be best for me, for the audience, for everybody if I’m matched against an opponent, maybe another veteran of MMA or someone that comes from the MMA world, not someone who comes from the grappling world. I think that would be better for me, for the promotion.

“Grappling has never been my specialty. What made my strength is the fact that I’m able to do everything very well, I’m a very complete fighter. Now, I’m going into something that is very specialized, into grappling, and I’m 42 years old. I think the thing with it is to have fun, give the fans what they want to see, and to train well, train as serious as if I was going for an MMA fight.”

When St-Pierre’s return was announced, fans gravitated toward one opponent: Khabib Nurmagomedov. At one point, the two lobbied hard to face each other in the octagon, but the UFC ultimately refused to make the matchup, leaving it as one of the great fights that never happened. While St-Pierre would like to fulfill that dream, he doesn’t think it’s likely to happen — at least not this time.

“I’m not sure,” St-Pierre said. “I think he’s retired. His name was not on the list, not in the talk. I think he’s retired, and I’m not sure if he’s still in the circus of doing martial arts right now.”

Another name that rose to the top of fan wishlists was a rematch with one-time foe Nick Diaz, an idea that seemingly is more likely.

“That could be an interesting one,” St-Pierre said. “He’s a very good grappler. In grappling, he’s got more experience than me. So I would have to make sure I come very well-prepared for that one if it’s Nick Diaz.”

“GSP” also threw out current UFC welterweights like Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington as possible options, but he said that with their fight schedules, they may not be realistic considerations. But if they can’t do it in December, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen eventually — St-Pierre said this is not a one-and-done.

“I want to do more than one,” he said. “I want to test the water. I’ve never done this before. I competed in Abu Dhabi a long time ago, a few years ago, and I didn’t have the experience that I have now. It’s a different set of rules that I never did. I’m going to be outside of my comfort zone, and that’s a fun thing.”

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