MCGRATH: Top 5 potential GSP comeback fights

By David McGrath, MMATorch Contributor

Let’s fantasy book George St. Pierre’s comeback fight

George St-Pierre is one of the best fighters to ever grace the octagon. Excellent martial arts skills paired with superior grappling has earned Georges the reputation as one of the top mixed martial artists of all time. His last fight was at middleweight, for the middleweight championship in November 2017 against Michael Bisping. Pierre submitted Bisping via rear naked choke and won, and soon after vacated the middleweight championship.

Let’s take a look at five possible opponents for “Rush” if and when he returns.

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

I’m so fascinated by this potential matchup. Khabib’s grappling is in another world from anyone in the UFC currently. Except for maybe GSP. Jon Danaher, St-Pierre’s grappling and jiu-jitsu coach’s program churns out the best grapplers in the world. In particular, their leg lock system and techniques are groundbreaking. St-Pierre went through a lot of five round battles in his career and we never had to question his cardio. If Khabib pushes his usual monster pace I have no doubt St-Pierre could keep with him. I think this fight intrigues St-Pierre enough to get him to come out of semi-retirement. Pierre is all about legacy at this point, who better than to fight and beat the 27-0 unstoppable Khabib.

Will it happen? Odds 80%. Khabib is on such a run, I bet George’s inner competitor is churning right now. Khabib is realistically the only guy I see George returning for.

2. Tyron Woodley

Woodley is the best welterweight champion the division has seen since St.Pierre. Woodley has had a very impressive run, beating Stephen Thompson and Darren Till as of late. Woodley has improved in every aspect of his game, he’s brilliant defensively with a whopper right hand and a great ground game. The way to sell this one would be the two most dominant champions in the division’s history to see who is the greatest welterweight of all time. I’m with it. This one would be super technical and a thrill to watch for hardcore fans.

Odds it happens: 30% Woodley is on such a run that he is starting to garner respect from all circles. Let Woodley defend against Colby Covington and maybe it heats up a little more. I could see St-Pierre thinking Woodley is good enough to want that feather in his cap of beating Woodley.

3. Ben Askren

As a hardcore, I would love to see the hardcore fan dream matchup of Askren and St-Pierre. I would love to see Askren who has never been touched in a fight, go up against the stiffest competition of his career.  Askren’s wrestling is super high level. St-Pierre as a striker is so much more seasoned than Askren. I would expect George to win the battle on the feet. My question is whether St-Pierre could get up if Askren gets him down? Nobody has yet.

Odds it happens: 0% Askren is simply not a big enough name for Georges to come back, and Askren is not even a UFC employee. Great dream matchup for the forums but that’s the best were ever gonna get.

4. Conor McGregor

If Conor gets back in the octagon and wins a fight or two and rehabs himself a little bit after the mauling from Khabib, this could be the fight to make. I could easily see a super fight between McGregor and St-Pierre doing 3 million pay per view buys. The name values of the two alone would fill any arena in the country and get people talking. It’s a terrible matchup for McGregor, as we have seen him struggle with great grapplers. For Georges, fighting and beating the biggest name in UFC history should be enough to get him off the beach and return to the cage. I see dollar signs with these two and I’m sure the UFC brass does too.

Odds it happens: 60% Listen, the UFC is a business and the best thing for business would be a rehabilitated Conor vs. Georges. I think McGregor needs a few more quality wins under his belt before the talk heats up again, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see these two on the 50-yard line at Jerry World in Dallas, Texas.

Wildcard: Michael Page

Who? Listen, Michael Page is one of the most dynamic strikers in MMA today. From a pure fight standpoint, this one would be exciting. Also, a win over George would elevate MVP into orbit and that is good for the sport. How else are you going to build new stars? MVP has such a crowd-pleasing fight style, and he’s one big win away over a name from being a household name in his own right.

Chances it happens: 0%. A man can dream, I just don’t see MVP as a big enough star for George to come out and fight him. Which is a shame because of all the fighters listed above a fight with “Venom” may be the most exciting.

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