And he’s not working his way back to elite form fighting tomato cans. He starts scrapping at the top, facing UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, this year. And St-Pierre would be moving up one heavier weight class to boot. Michael loves that factor. Neither are spring chickens. St-Pierre is 35; Bisping is 38.
It was back in December 2013 that Georges decided to walk away from mixed martial arts, wanting a “normal life.” One supposes the normal life - for Georges training, teaching, and travelling all over the world, was too pedestrian, too humdrum, and so he’s coming back. But will he, having not fought competitively for 42+ months hurt his chances - forget success and winning - to surviving: mentally and physically, health somewhat intact?
A big reason for vacating his welterweight title was his inability to sleep at night. He sounded like he was one burnt-out warrior. When sleep doesn’t come easy to a man whose physical conditioning is always near peak, when your body should naturally go to sleep from a happy, well deserved exhaustion, that body is telling you: take a different path.
But now he’s back on warpath. And his news conference with Bisping, the latter who showed up 30 minutes late, pissing off Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, on Friday March 3rd, confirms it. Like any fight contestants, they traded the requisite insults jabbing at the other's mental and physical toughness and bravery – with Bisping, once arriving, telling George “to shut the f—k up” but GSP had one huge new truth for his fans (after accusing Bisping of still being drunk from the previous evening)
He’s overhauling his fighting style.
He talks of a new GSP fighting version.
But is it possible to recreate oneself after so many years of doing things a certain way? Can an old dog learn new tricks? He says he’s striving for the ultimate combination “the perfect peak” of athleticism, knowledge, and wisdom.
Undoubtedly he’s talked all of this through with his management and training team(s). They all know he came back in 2012 after an 18 month layoff due to injury - but that was 5 years ago. Gotta wonder, however, what the coterie’s final vote was. And do they want this to happen for Georges’s sake - or do they have their own personal, career motives in play here too? For in helping George fight 15 world title fights (out of 27 bouts – with 25 wins and 2 losses) they were also at the apex(s) of their crafts...
So, for better or worse, GSP is returning to the cage. He doesn’t seem completely driven by ego in deciding this. Sure, he’s driven to success but one gets the feeling it is for the sport and not so much for his vanity. Heck, on his way up the ladder he worked as a garbage man, hardly a job for a bloke concerned about “appearances.” Thus his comeback could be seen as one based on the sport and not on the self.
Ok, he’s got a bit of an ego. Ok, maybe a lot of an ego. He says the fact that his comeback attempt has never been done before excites and motivates him.
You know, Georges, aka “Rush”, if you want a meaningful, motivational role in the sport, why not act as its better angel, its conscious? Perhaps you could look into allegations of illegal doping within it. You’ve called it “...a freaking joke.” Might you be able to clear things up? (This is not to say St-Pierre isn’t against additives. He takes supplements). And, if another idea is needed, why not continue with your charity work like your prior deeds with CIBC and children’s charities in Canada, for example?
Back to the nitty-gritty. He returns with a multi-fight contract negotiated with UFC with his first contest slated for July 2017, during International Fight Week, in Las Vegas. UFC President White’s pleased – he refers to GSP as “The King of Pay-Per-View.”
Anyway...Both fighters are getting a pretty payday with this battle.
Before he quit, Georges had won 12 in a row. Bisping says Georges misses this kind of limelight. Let’s assume Bisping’s correct. And here’s another big; WHY? If Georges comes back, and gets his pre-fight build up of fame and adoration, then muffs the fight – he’ll forever be known as the guy WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE COME BACK. That’s a legacy nobody would want. Obviously he’s willing to take that risk to his reputation, heading into the Octagon, back to fighting it out in 750 square feet of testosterone-filled space; it’s basically back to the future for GSP. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up flat on his back.
Bisping, for his part, is 30-7 with 16 knockouts...He’s won his last 5 fights. And Bisping’s gotta win - the pressure’s all on him because if he loses, his detractors will rip him, saying he couldn’t even beat a guy coming back from a 3 year hiatus. Michael is also coming back from having a knee “cleaned up” with a torn meniscus...but he’s full of confidence, bravado - for sure, BS at least - when he declared he could go out on an all-night bender and still beat GSP the next day.
Benders or no benders, currently GSP is the betting favorite to beat Bisping...
But this is a sure bet. Whoever loses will have his career bend – and will have his character be bent out of shape for good.