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Dana White on GSP vs. Khabib, reveals plans to ‘go after’ jiu-jitsu grappling world

Georges St-Pierre’s celebrated return in a Fight Pass grappling match is just the start of a big push to enter the grappling world.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made several big announcements over the last 24 hours involving some of the biggest names to ever compete inside the Octagon. There’s a Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic Heavyweight title showdown, which was finally confirmed for UFC 295 in November (odds here). And then there’s Georges St-Pierre’s return to the fold, which will involve a grappling match on Fight Pass in December (details here).

White discussed St-Pierre’s grappling match in December during a Power Slap conference (watch it here), revealing it’s all part of a bigger plan to get into the grappling world.

“I’m getting heavily involved in the grappling world too, if you haven’t noticed,” White said. “So we’ll have a big announcement for that too. I’m going after the grappling world big time.”

No opponent has been named for Georges’ big December match, which led some to wonder whether it could possibly be Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“That would be awesome,” White said. “I would love to pull that off, that’s not in the works but yeah, I would love to pull that off.”

He’s got some work to do.

Nevertheless, St-Pierre and Nurmagomedov circled each other for a while at the ends of their career in another “super” fight that never quite came together. When “Rush” retired in 2019, he cited his inability to even get a conversation with White going regarding the possibility of a match. UFC’s president and St-Pierre weren’t exactly on the best of terms after the Canadian fighter returned after a four-year absence to snatch up the Middleweight title, only to relinquish it without a defense.

After Khabib retired from the sport in Oct. 2020, White attempted to lure him back to action with the St-Pierre fight. GSP would go on to say he felt “lied” to about the situation.

“Well, he was talking, I saw something where some f—ing wrote a story where I lied to GSP and I probably lied to him,” White said. “You know about this? About Khabib? This was after they both retired and he said Dana called me and asked me if I wanted to fight Khabib, but he didn’t have an okay from Khabib saying he’d fight. Well, you gotta call somebody first. Right? You gotta call somebody first, you don’t get ‘em on three way calling and say ‘Hey guys what’s happening, would you like to come out of retirement and fight each other?’

“So, Georges had been retired longer, so the question was would Georges even consider fighting Khabib?” White continued. “He said yes. So then you talk to the other guy. But yeah, I thought that was weird and there’s a lot lost in translation when Georges St-Pierre talks, so I dunno, the way I read it was he felt he was lied to or something. Or that’s the way they wrote the story, who knows what he really said. But I thought that was weird.”

GSP drama aside, it’s pretty exciting to hear that UFC is interested in promoting more grappling content in addition to its annual Fight Pass Invitational (2023 results here). We’ll keep you informed on any further developments in that area as they come.

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