While everyone else, including Georges St-Pierre, seems to question whether or not for the former UFC welterweight kingpin will ever return to the Octagon, there is one man that doesn’t doubt he will be back: UFC president Dana White.
“I know for a fact he will [return],” said White during a media scrum in Dallas on Thursday.
It’s not clear where White’s belief comes from, although St-Pierre recently went from saying an unequivocal “I don’t know” to qualifying that to reporters in Brazil by saying, “Don’t blink, but I don’t know. We’ll see. It could be a yes, fast, or it could be a no, it depends. I can’t tell you everything; I have to keep myself some secret sometimes.”
There’s been a lot of chatter since St-Pierre vacated the welterweight championship in December. The former champion has been outspoken about some of the reasons why he took a step back – his own obsessive-compulsive disorder, the current state of drug use in MMA, and more – but it all coalesced into the need to take a step back to alleviate the pressures in his life in order to keep his sanity.
“He's not gone because of TRT or any of that stuff,” added White on Thursday. “He's gone because he had personal problems that he needed to deal with. A lot of that stuff got blown out of proportion. He's gone because of the reason he sat down with me and Lorenzo that night and told us.”
With St-Pierre out of the picture, at least temporarily, there has been quite a shake up in the division that he has lorded over for several years.
Many fans and pundits have pointed to the shake-up as reinvigorating the division.
“It definitely infuses some new excitement and new opportunities,” said top contender Carlos Condit, who fights on Saturday UFC 171 card in Dallas. “Georges is great for the sport, great for the division, but I think after a certain period of time it started being a detriment.
“People get bored, people get fickle, and he was a great champion, he was a great mixed martial artist, but people were bored with his style.”
On Saturday, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler headline UFC 171 at the American Airline Centers, promising anything but boredom. Both men are known for their one-punch knockout power, and with neither being a head-and-shoulders favorite, fans are relishing the unknowns for the first time in a long time.
“Is it fun for Georges St-Pierre to be gone? I mean, no, I wouldn't say that it's fun for him to be gone,” said White, although he had to admit that it has ignited a fire under the division.
“But the welterweight division is exciting right now, and when Georges does come back, whoever’s standing there, it will be a fun fight.”