It only took one fight for Georges St-Pierre to change his tune about Conor McGregor 9 months ago

It only took one fight for Georges St-Pierre to change his tune about Conor McGregor

A few months ago, Georges St-Pierre wasn't interested in fighting Conor McGregor at all.

In March, Georges St-Pierre explained on the MMA Hour why he didn't believe he would return to fight Conor McGregor. His main incentive for returning back then was adding to his legacy. At that stage, he didn't feel like a win over 'the Notorious' would improve his resume that much.

“The thing is, Conor McGregor, money-wise, I believe is the one that can put the most money on the table. However, I think legacy-wise, I don’t think he’s the guy that legacy-wise."

However, GSP has dramatically changed his tune about facing the Dubliner. All it will take for GSP to want to fight him is a victory in UFC 229's headliner.

Nearing a return

GSP has not fought since defeating Michael Bisping to win the UFC middleweight title at UFC 217 last November. After that bout, St-Pierre relinquished the belt,  citing a digestive issue called ulcerative colitis as his reason for being unable to defend it. He sat on the 185 lb throne for just 31 days making him the owner of the shortest title reign in UFC history.

The Canadian confirmed to Submission Radio that he is eyeing up a return in 2018. UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden on November 3 and UFC 231 in Toronto's Scotiabank Arena on December 8 are the two events he mentioned as locations for his return. Interestingly, the New York card does not currently have a headline act.

As for the opponent, that's a little more complicated. He ruled out Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz (who's already booked for UFC 230's co-main event against Dustin Poirer)

 

"What excites me is what I can have to improve my legacy. That's number one. And also the money. Legacy number one, money is there. In terms of Nate Diaz - they asked me (to fight) Nate Diaz - his legacy is not really an improvement for me because people see me as a winner already and if I win, they will say I look like a bully a little bit because I beat his older brother."

To the victor goes the spoils

He did admit that he would be interested in fighting the winner of Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, considering that fight takes place on October 6, a one or two-month turnaround to fight arguably the greatest fighter to ever grace an Octagon might be too much of an ask for the winner.

"I would be interested in that fight. That's a win-win situation. It's a legacy upgrade and  it's good money because it's going to be a big fight. However, I fought at 170 then I relinquished the title. I fought at 185 then I relinquished the title, I don't think the UFC will let me fight for the title at 155 (laughs). They will be afraid I will relinquish and leave the division in ruins."

For the record, GSP is leaning towards the undefeated Dagestani to keep his pristine record intact against McGregor.

"If I had to put my house on it, I would choose Khabib over Conor. Khabib never lost and Conor has lost before and he lost on the ground where Khabib is good. That is where Khabib is the most competent at. However, Khabib sometimes is a slow starter and he gets punched a lot... and he has a problem closing distance sometimes, but once he gets you in a clinch, he's very good. So the odds are in Khabib's favour 60/40, I believe."

The build-up

A potential McGregor-St-Pierre fight has been discussed for a while now. Michael Bisping predicted that St-Pierre would relinquish the 185 lb strap in order to pursue the fight. Olivier Aubin-Mercier also expected a McGregor call-out from his Tri Star training partner that never came. While Freddie Roach, who cornered GSP at UFC 217, admitted hoping that GSP's swansong fight would come against 'The Notorious'.

Lest we forget, the promotion filmed St-Pierre in the crowd during UFC 196's headliner. That suggests the huge fight is on the radar of the big wigs.