GSP’s Coach: He’s Out For ‘Year or Two’
Former UFC champion Georges St Pierre was on top of the world in 2013 with a chain of successful welterweight title defenses over the last few years and a pound-for-pound ranking. He chose to walk away, but four years later, he returned to the Octagon, defeating Michael Bisping in his first match back to claim the UFC Middleweight Title in his first bout at 185 pounds.
May believed that GSP would be one-and-done in his UFC return — a rumor GSP himself vehemently denied. But despite contractual obligations to fight interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, GSP announced he was battling colitis and surrendered the title, giving the full-time champion status to Whittaker.
Many believe GSP is done for good, but don’t tell that to GSP’s coach, Firas Zahabi.
“[Georges is] fantastic,” said Zahabi. “He’s doing great. I honestly don’t bother him about [when he will fight again] because I know everybody is always asking him about it, 24 hours a day. When I see him, I don’t talk about the next fight. We don’t talk about it. We know each other. I know what he’s thinking, he knows what I’m thinking and we leave it at that.
I think, personally, that he’s going to fight again. He doesn’t know. Nobody knows but I think that he’s just so hyper-competitive that eventually he’s gonna wake up one day and be like, ‘I need a challenge.’ I just think that’s the person he is. That’s how I see him but we’ll have to wait and see.
Some in the MMA community feel GSP’s reason for returning is not actually interest in title fights, but rather superfights that can draw money. Prior to GSP’s bout with Bisping, current UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley long called for a bout with the longtime 170-pound UFC champ. And it nearly happened before a disastrous performance for Woodley at UFC 214 led to UFC President Dana White pulling the plug and giving GSP to Bisping.
Woodley recently claimed that GSP may only return to the Octagon if he gets a bout with the UFC’s biggest draw — lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who himself hasn’t competed in the UFC since winning the 155-pound title in November 2016.
Zahabi, however, feels a superfight with McGregor won’t happen because he feels GSP may be out for a while.
I have no idea [how long he’ll be out]. I think he’s out for at least a year or two. I don’t know. We all love Georges but he’s put in so many years, he’s put in so many bouts, I don’t think it’s fair to ask him for more.