Although Dana White has doused some of excitement with comments about George St-Pierre not seeming completely committed to a return to UFC last month, GSP said this week there’s no question he wants back.
“I want to come back,” he said on FS1’s “UFC Tonight.” “They know the terms that I want and they’ve very reasonable. I guess they’ll come back to me soon. I want to be back for another run. I don’t want one fight. I’ll take one fight at a time, but I want to go for a run.”
GSP says he never officially retired, but just wanted time off to recharge. “I never retired,” he said. “I needed time off to get out of the spotlight. People know what happened. A lot has happened. I’ve put my knowledge and techniques together and I think I’m a much better version than I was.”
He said when he stepped away, he figured the urge to compete would return. “I didn’t know at the time, but I always felt the fire of the competition inside, but even more so now,” he said. “It’s very hard to stay champion because the sport catches up to you and you need to reinvent yourself. People say you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. That’s not true. You have to make it better, stronger and build a better foundation. I’m more hungry and that makes all the difference in the world.”
GSP says he’s making money not fighting because he’s still under the pre-Reebok era sponsorship terms. “From my point of view, I’m making a lot of money now even though I’m not fighting,” he said. “My contract was made before the Reebok deal, so I’m losing money if I go back and fight on the old terms of my contract. I’m just waiting to see what happens.”
When UFC announced they’d return to Toronto on Dec. 10, people believed that date was too coincidental to not indicate GSP was at least in UFC’s thoughts.
“I don’t think there’s a coincidence,” he said. “Who’s the better man than me to headline in Toronto? To get back the Canadian fans and build it up? I will fight whoever you’d like me to fight.”
So who is on that list? He mentioned Tyron Woodley, Nick Diaz, and Demian Maia.
Regarding Maia: “Maia looked pretty good in his last fight,” he said. “They can elevate me. I’m not supposed to beat them. It’s a big risk. It’s not about having the biggest balls, it’s not a straight line. It’s about elevating.”
Regarding Woodley: “I like him, but he’s not my friend. I respect him as a person. He’s great. He texted me and says he challenged me. He said, ‘Just to let you know, it’s not to disrespect you. You’re the man to beat.’ I said, ‘Yeah, if UFC wants to do it, make the negotiations go well.’ Then went public and that wasn’t good. I think that was a mistake.”
Keller’s Analysis: GSP, coming out so strong, makes it seem inevitable there will be another fight, because if not, UFC will take a lot of heat for not stepping up and making it worth GSP’s while. This is good hype, but the time is approaching to get a deal done and give fans a named opponent so the anticipation for his big return can begin. Only Nate Diaz was on Jamie Penick’s Top Five GSP Opponents list published a couple months back. Maia was an interesting name for him to pick out as an intriguing opponent. Woodley would love to have a chance to have a big money fight, for sure, against someone of GSP’s stature and welcome the heated environment of being in GSP’s home country.