The almighty Georges St-Pierre will finally return to the Octagon at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City when he matches up against current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
St-Pierre, 36, will be fighting for the first time in nearly four years and making his unexpected debut at 185 pounds. Considering GSP hasn’t stepped foot inside of the Octagon since defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 to retain his UFC welterweight title, nobody knows for sure how the Canadian superstar is going to perform at UFC 217. That includes Tristar Gym teammate Rory MacDonald, who essentially tailored his game after St-Pierre’s when he first came into the sport so many years ago.
“It will be hard to say, because we haven’t seen him in a while,” MacDonald told MMAjunkie when asked how St-Pierre will look. “That’s the exciting part.”
While many fight fans expected GSP to make an eventual return to combat sports after taking a hiatus back in 2013, nobody would have guessed the all-time great welterweight would compete at middleweight in his first fight back. St-Pierre’s build and athletic capability could transfer well to 185 pounds, but his entire track record and proven fighting ability remain at 170 pounds.
“The 185 thing, I probably wouldn’t have advised it, but he is his own guy,” MacDonald added. “He has his own goals. He’s obviously very talented.
“He is the most dominant champion in welterweight, and one of the most dominant champions ever. It’s hard for me to say what’s right and wrong to a guy like that.”
MacDonald makes a valid point, but St-Pierre isn’t just competing against any ordinary middleweight. Bisping is not only the reigning UFC champion and a guy who has amassed more victories inside of the Octagon than St-Pierre himself, but “The Count” is one of the bigger middleweights around. He won The Ultimate Fighter as a light heavyweight and will most likely weigh over 200 pounds come fight night.
Be that as it may, GSP will have the opportunity to prove he made the right decision to challenge Bisping on his own terms and attempt to capture another UFC title in another division.
“It will be interesting to see what new skills he brings in there, or if he’s going to revert back to his natural strengths,” MacDonald said. “I’ll be watching. I hope for the best.”
UFC 217 will also feature a co-main event title fight pitting current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt against former divisional king T.J. Dillashaw, as well as a women’s strawweight title fight between current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Rose Namajunas.