While many people have speculated that Georges St-Pierre might be one-and-done in his UFC return after winning the middleweight championship and then quickly vacating the title, his longtime coach, Firas Zahabi, believes his charge will return to the Octagon… for the right fight.
What's next for St-Pierre is still undecided, but Zahabi believes that St-Pierre, once he clears some medical hurdles, will return to the Octagon for another big fight.
“I think Georges is gonna get better, get back in the gym,” Zahabi told TSN over the weekend. “He’s gonna feel his body out and see what he wants. What’s the most interesting, epic fight out there? (Floyd) Mayweather? (Conor) McGregor? Who do you want to see him fight? We need a mega-fight.”
St-Pierre returned from a four-year hiatus to defeat Michael Bisping in the UFC 217 main event in November, taking the middleweight belt from him. A short time later, St-Pierre confirmed that he had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and would need time to recover.
Despite being contractually obligated to defend the belt against Robert Whittaker in his next fight, St-Pierre, citing the idea that he didn't want to hold up the division, vacated the championship. The UFC quickly elevated interim champion Whittaker to undisputed champion and booked his first title defense. He will face Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Western Australia.
St-Pierre has since come under scrutiny from fighters, fans, and pundits alike, who had doubted St-Pierre would ever defend the middleweight belt even before the fight occurred. Even UFC president Dana White admitted that he never believed St-Pierre would defend the belt, even though he required the contractual stipulation that he would do so.
“Listen, I’m not shocked (that St-Pierre vacated the belt). I’m not mad. It is what it is,” White said recently. “I thought I would be (pissed) but I’m not. I expected it. I had him sign a contract saying that he would defend against Whittaker for a reason. Because I knew he wouldn’t.”
Although White sounded doubtful that St-Pierre would return at all, Zahabi is operating under the belief that St-Pierre wants to fight again once healthy. He also seemed to confirm the critics who claimed that St-Pierre never had any intention of defending the belt, but wanted to come back for the big “money fights” that so many top names are calling for in the era of Conor McGregor.
“Georges will come back for a big, exciting fight,” said Zahabi, though he challenged those who are criticizing St-Pierre.
“If you're criticizing Georges, do what he did. Do what he did, first, then criticize him.”
(Courtesy of TSN Tube)