Morning Report: Firas Zahabi discusses Georges St-Pierre potentially returning to MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Though the greatest fighter to ever put on gloves is ostensibly retired from MMA, his coach thinks the door is still open for a possible return one day.

Earlier this year, Georges St-Pierre officially retired from the UFC, even leaving the USADA testing pool for good measure. But though St-Pierre has remained adamant that he’s done with the game, according to his coach Firas Zahabi, GSP is still training regularly, to the point that he could be ready for a fight at a moment’s notice.

“All the time,” Zahabi told Joe Rogan recently when asked if St-Pierre still trains. “He’s a machine. Dude, I’m telling you, if Usman or Colby gets injured . . . I don’t want to talk for Georges but man, he can kill anybody. He can kill anybody this man. He’s the worlds greatest martial artist. He’s a monster. I was just training with him Saturday.

“He loves to train. Saturday he trained, he finished all his rounds, and then he coached some blue belts and purple belts, just kind of hanging out with them, talking technique. The guy loves this stuff.”

Of course, as St-Pierre has left the USADA testing pool, it would not be possible for him to step in on short notice at UFC 245. Nor would St-Pierre want to, presumably. Since returning to MMA in 2017, St-Pierre has made it clear he’s not looking for generic title defenses anymore. GSP only wants legacy building fights and, at this stage of his career, there are very few opponents who offer St-Pierre that kind of clout. Ultimately, that is what led to St-Pierre’s official retirement from the sport. He wanted a fight with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and the UFC repeatedly refused the idea and, just a few months ago, St-Pierre doubled down saying that even a fight with Khabib wouldn’t get him back.

But Zahabi doesn’t think that’s quite true. Seeing him still training has hard as he does, Zahabi says he believes the UFC could still lure GSP back for one final fight if they wanted to.

“It has to be, in my opinion – I don’t want to talk for him, but I think the thing that’s going to motivate him is a megafight,” Zahabi said. “He doesn’t want to be champion again and fight every three-four months. That’s done. It’s not gonna happen no more. But one megafight. Invite him back for a megafight and see if you could entice him because he’s a competitor. He’s still training, he’s still ripped, shredded, fighting. He can do five rounds. Maybe he can’t do five rounds right away but he [only] needs a few weeks and then he’s doing five rounds. He’s close to being there. He can get in fight shape. He’s just a monster.”

But again, there aren’t that many fights that would make sense for St-Pierre from a legacy standpoint. In fact, with the current layouts of the middleweight and welterweight divisions, there’s really only one fighter that holds the kind of appeal needed to get St-Pierre back: the same guy the UFC has continually refused to book against him.

“165. Khabib,” Zahabi threw out as the fight to get St-Pierre back in the game.

Nurmagomedov is currently expected to face Tony Ferguson in April, though the bout hasn’t been finalized yet. Should he get past Ferguson, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Khabib make his own renewed calls for a bout with St-Pierre and, should the UFC deem it so, Khabib vs. GSP for the inaugural 165 pound belt might well be enough to lure the best fighter of all time back into the cage for one more go around.


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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

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Marketing.

Call outs.

So respectful.

Would watch.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Conor McGregor (21-4) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-13); UFC 246, Jan. 18.

Josh Emmett (15-2) vs. Arnold Allen (15-1); UFC Raleigh, Jan. 25.

Paul Felder (17-4) vs. Dan Hooker (19-8); UFC Auckland, Feb. 22.

Tyson Pedro (7-3) vs. Vinicius Moreira (9-4); UFC Auckland, Feb. 22.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima (16-6-1) vs. Ben Sosoli (7-2); UFC Auckland, Feb. 22.

Jake Matthews (15-4) vs. Emil Weber Meek (9-4); UFC Auckland, Feb. 22.


FINAL THOUGHTS

When it’s all said and done, Cowboy is going to have the best resume in MMA history. The sheer volume of elite people he has fought is astonishing.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL


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