The former lightweight and featherweight UFC Title contender gave his thoughts on GSP’s latest hiatus from MMA, and what kind of fights ‘Rush’ should be eyeing when he returns.
It already feels like too long since fans last saw GSP in the Octagon, even if it was only six months ago now. The consensus welterweight G.O.A.T. returned from four years of pseudo-retirement to take on middleweight champion Michael Bisping, becoming one of just a handful of fighters to win UFC titles in multiple divisions in the process. But, just a month later he dropped the belt, saying he would need time to recover from a recent colitis diagnosis.
That hasn’t kept him out of the headlines, however. His bout with Bisping very decidedly proved that, even after years away from competition, ‘Rush’ is still one of the top draws in MMA. He’s one of the first names on the lips of anyone between 155 and 185 looking for a big money opponent in their next fight. And to hear Kenny Florian tell it, that’s just what he deserves.
Florian recently spoke to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, and gave his thoughts on GSP’s latest hiatus from competition, and on who TriStar talent should fight if/when he returns (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I think he’s going to fight in some kind of superfight scenario,” Florian responded, when asked if GSP would return to the cage. “I don’t think it’s going to be against a champion necessarily, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some kind of non-title fight that’s going to be big, and why not?
“Again, if there is one guy who deserves it, it’s Georges St-Pierre. He’s a guy that’s proven time and time again that he’s a big pay-per-view star and I think there are a lot of fun fights that you can make as well.”
“Who would he fight?” Florian continued. “I think someone like a Khabib Nurmagomedov would be interesting. I don’t know if they’d make it a catch weight or something like that, but another person of course would be Conor McGregor.
“I think no matter what way you look at it those are the two biggest names in the sport. You’d have the biggest name in the sport from a past generation taking on the current biggest name, Conor McGregor. I think that would be a mega fight.”
Interestingly enough, though, the ‘Notorious’ Irishman hasn’t seemed to give a lot of thought to a potential GSP superfight lately. At the moment, all talk coming out of his camp seems focused on the idea that he’ll be fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov next. For his part, the ‘Eagle’ seems very willing to fight Georges, provided the former welterweight – and recent middleweight – drops down to 155.
“No, please, not 170, with Georges St-Pierre? No.” Nurmagomedov told the assembled media after UFC 223. “…When I grew up, I watch his fights, all fights with my father, and he greatest athlete who ever compete in UFC. Middleweight, welterweight champion. And I hear about he want to come and fight in 155, take this belt, make history, become UFC three-division champion.”
But much like McGregor’s interest in St-Pierre, Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem to be flying very high on GSP’s radar right now. In an interview back in April, GSP responded to the idea of a ‘superfight with Khabib with a very polite, ‘thanks but no thanks.’
“I feel UFC and Khabib got unfinished business before I try to make a step in here to go for the 155 title,” he responded, when asked to comment about the potential bout.
Hopefully at least one of these big fights will get made sometime this year. For the moment, it seems there are far too many hypothetical superfights out there and too few of them actually coming to fruition.