Georges St-Pierre is set for a submission grappling bout this December, but will another legend be on the other side of the mat?
“GSP” announced a comeback of sorts during this year’s UFC International Fight Week as he competes at a Fight Pass Invitational event on Dec. 14, which will mark his first in-competition appearance since his final UFC fight in November 2017. The Canadian superstar won titles in two divisions during his illustrious career, most famously defending the UFC welterweight championship from 2008-2013.
Who St-Pierre will grapple against is still a mystery, but a few marquee names were suggested to him during a red carpet appearance at the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Las Vegas on Thursday night: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman, and Anderson Silva.
“They are all very attractive, but everybody has a different agenda,” St-Pierre said in response to the options. “Some are training for upcoming title fights. Some are maybe too heavy, some are too light, some just retired and want nothing to do with competition.
“I received a list from the UFC today and we’re going to check and look who’s available and we’re going to make a decision with the UFC and with my people to make sure we go up against someone they think that the people want to see me compete against.”
St-Pierre was then asked if those names were on the list that were given to him and while he replied in the affirmative at first, he clarified that “Khabib was not on the list.”
Any of those names would drive fans into a frenzy, particularly Nurmagomedov and Silva, who St-Pierre shares a history with. Following his retirement in 2019, St-Pierre repeatedly mentioned in interviews that he would consider fighting again to challenge the undefeated Nurmagomedov, but a bout never came to fruition. Nurmagomedov retired from MMA in October 2020 immediately following a third straight successful defense of the UFC lightweight championship.
Talks of a bout between St-Pierre and Silva go even further back to when the two were in their primes and running roughshod over their respective divisions (Silva reigned as UFC middleweight champion from 2006-2013). Again, little came of the talks as far as actual negotiations, though it has remained a dream fight in the minds of many.
For now, St-Pierre is just excited about competing again, especially in an environment that is considerably less dangerous than MMA.
“I know for a fact that [submission grappling] is a sport that is more accessible,” St-Pierre said. “It’s accessible to a wider range of people than mixed martial arts due to the risk of injuries [in MMA]. I love martial arts and I’m in a position now, I’m 42 years old, I’m not the same man that I was when I was competing.
“When I was competing in mixed martial arts, I wanted to be the strongest man in the world. That was my priority. Now it’s no longer my priority. But I still like to train for a competition and I think it’s perfectly fitted for me.”