George St. Pierre was one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. His only two losses; to Matt Hughes & Matt Serra, are after thoughts because he beat both mixed martial artists so thoroughly in rematches; he did so to Hall of Famer Hughes twice. After his upset loss to Serra, the man they call “Rush’ went unbeaten for over six years in the welterweight division; beating the likes of some superlative fighters such as Josh Koshcheck, Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz.
GSP’s last victory came via a disputed split decision against eventual Welterweight King Johny Hendricks in 2013. GSP was visually bruised, battered and exhausted at the conclusion of that fight. St. Pierre soon retired after the Hendricks fight, with his eyes set on Hollywood. GSP aspired to be in movies.
The big problem was, while he is a terrific fighter, GSP had the personality and charisma; as my uncle used to say, of broccoli rabe. A forgettable performance in Captain America: The Winter Solider, was the highlight of a very hap hazard stint as an actor. Now, GSP is making a return to the cage, doing what he does best, after being out of action for over three years. He is being rewarded immediately.
The UFC has announced GSP’s return bout will be for Michael Bisping’s Middleweight Title. Such a lucrative fight after such a long hiatus might have shocked UFC fans, although it should not have.
The UFC has been in somewhat of a decline. Unless a Rousey, Tate or McGregor is part of the event, the UFC PPV numbers have been paltry. This is not to suggest the action has not been good. UFC 206 was one of the all-time best. With that said, the UFC is a business that is driven by PPV buys. UFC 206 was one of the worst in terms of sales.
With Rhonda Rousey gone, and Conor McGregor eyeing a fight with boxer Floyd Mayweather, JR., Dana White knows he is short on cash cows. GSP has chosen to come back at just the right time.
This is also a great opportunity for Bisping, it will undoubtedly be his biggest payday. ‘The Count’ has been a UFC mainstay since 2006. However, he has been a staple of non-PPV headliners, which equates to less scarol on your contract. Bisping has toiled for years and it is refreshing to see him potentially secure huge money to fight GSP.
Yoel Romero, Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and the rest of the top middleweight contenders may have the biggest issue with GSP getting an immediate title fight, and rightfully so. At the same time, these fighters must know that this has been the Dana White way for years.
As talented as the top five middleweights are, they have never come close to reaching the stature of a GSP; both in fighting ability and the ability to light up the cash register. There is no time for envy, no reason to be jealous. The UFC middleweight division was just given a big shot of adrenaline and the sport is better off for it.
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