Georges St-Pierre returned to the Octagon for the first time in nearly four years when he took the belt from middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in November of last year. He hasn't fought since, but that doesn't mean the door is closed on the 37-year-old fighter's career.
After defeating Bisping, St-Pierre soon vacated the 185-pound title after discovering that he had a condition called ulcerative colitis. Hesitant to return to the cage before he is 100-percent healthy, the two-division UFC champion has remained on the sidelines to try and correct the condition.
“Definitely the worst has passed,” St-Pierre told MMA Fighting in a recent interview.
“I’m dosing down the medication that I have. The medication is anti-inflammatory, so you have to dose it down. Not in one shot, you can’t stop in one shot, but I’m dosing it down every month and soon it will be past, a story of the past. As it goes right now, pretty much all of the symptoms are almost gone.”
There are always rumors of St-Pierre returning to the Octagon for the next big fight, with most speculation centering on welterweight champion Tyron Woodley or former dual-division champion Conor McGregor, who is currently slated to fight lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas.
Either fight would make sense, as St-Pierre is looking primarily for fights that build on his legacy. He hadn't been overly interested in reconquering the welterweight division that he once ruled with an iron fist, but perhaps after taking the middleweight belt and Woodley defeating all comers, St-Pierre might start warming to the idea.
McGregor, of course, is the biggest fight in the game for anyone, at least when it comes to a payday. If McGregor should take the belt from Nurmagomedov, St-Pierre could triple down and try to add a third title belt to his collection in addition to scoring what would likely be the biggest paycheck of his storied career.
If Nurmagomedov were to win, the payday might not be as large, but the challenge might be even more intriguing to St-Pierre than McGregor.
The Canadian insists, however, that he isn't even thinking about who is next for him. For now, he's simply working on getting healthy. He's not shutting the door on a return, it's just that his focus is currently on himself and his health.
“I don’t want any contract to fight somebody right now,” St-Pierre said, “because the minute you sign a contract, the mental warfare starts, and stress is something that amplifies everything. So I want to make sure I deal with it, I take care of it, and when everything will be finished, I will be able to look forward. My health is the most important thing for me.
“[But I’m] absolutely not [closing the door on fighting again]. I’m keeping the door open. When I close it, then people will know. But right now it’s held open.”