GSP may finally be returning to the UFC. That is if his former manager is to be trusted.
On The MMA Hour, a radio show hosted by journalist Ariel Helwani, GSP’s former manager Stephane Patry suggests a minimum one-fight return for the former welterweight champ. “Georges is going to come back for one fight,” Patry told Helwani. “I can’t say he’s going to come back and go on a title run and do 10 fights, but I know for sure he’s going to come back for one fight.” Although this scoop is coming from someone intimate with St. Pierre (at least formerly), a return to the octagon for the Tristar-based fighter is purely speculation. However, if George St. Pierre does choose to come back, who would the UFC put in front of him for his comeback fight?
Here are four fighters that would make interesting opponents for “Rush”.
This fight may just be a pipe dream at this point, but before Hector Lombard was popped for steroids and subsequently suspended, the Cuban fighter was on track towards title contention after logging impressive victories over Nate Marquardt, Jake Shields, and Josh Burkman. GSP has always been vocal about the rampant PED use in the sport of MMA and presumably wouldn’t want to fight someone who has been caught red-handed like Lombard. However, Lombard claims he unknowingly took the illegal substance as a pill to relieve post weight cut sickness. In the unlikely event Lombard gets exonerated, a matchup with St. Pierre would do great in pay-per-view buys. I remember salivating over the possibility of this fight being booked after Hector Lombard dropped to 170 pounds and brutalized Nate Marquardt in his first fight. A showdown with George St. Pierre seemed inevitable. So, how would that showdown go down? GSP owns elite grappling and striking skills while having dynamic athleticism. The same could be said for Lombard with his Olympic level judo background and the hellfire missile launchers hanging off his shoulders (he has lightning hands). There is a good chance this fight would be a mostly standing affair as Hector’s innate strength and balance would most likely offset St. Pierre’s takedown attempts; a reason why this scrap looks so intriguing. Instead of dominating his opponent from the top position for the entirety of five rounds, GSP might actually have to dust off his boxing and Muay Thai for an extended period of time. The outcome of this fight is hard to predict. Lombard does have a reputation of gassing out as the rounds pile up while St. Pierre thrives in competing all five rounds, but you can’t count out “Showeather’s” massive power.
This one makes the most sense since Johny Hendricks was the last man to challenge Georges St. Pierre in what would be a very contentious split decision win for “Rush”. An immediate rematch was almost an afterthought but St. Pierre ultimately decided to step away. Hendricks would go on to win and subsequently lose the welterweight strap and while his recent victory over Matt Brown could help lock in a title fight, it is possible that “Bigg Rigg” jumps at the chance to avenge his controversial loss. The rematch could go a couple of different ways. Johny Hendricks went on record during the UFC 167 post-fight press conference saying he was only using “around 70% of his power” when throwing punches for fear of gassing out as the fight wore on. Despite not using all of his energy, Hendricks was visibly rocking St. Pierre with strikes and even close to getting a finish a few times. If the second bout saw a more aggressive Johny Hendricks coming out firing on all cylinders, the fight may end early in favor of the former All-American wrestler. On the other hand, GSP could utilize more movement than he did in the first fight to evade Hendricks’ power shots while setting up takedowns.
This one may throw off some fans, but if you can remember all the way back to early 2013 when Benson Henderson was still the lightweight champion, talks of a superfight between the two titleholders were pretty trendy. Alas, it was eventually shot down by Dana White and the MMA world moved on. With Benson Henderson’s successful foray into the welterweight division, the possibility of this fight happening would be higher than many people think. The two former champs are still amongst the most skilled and popular fighters in mixed martial arts and a scrap between the two would be a considerable draw. So how would this fight go? Both men are competent on the ground as well as standing up. Being the bigger and longer fighter, GSP would probably be able to defend most takedown attempts while landing some of his own. He would have to be careful on the ground though, as Benson Henderson has a slick submission game with almost half of his wins coming by tap out. Standing up, St. Pierre would most likely take advantage of his reach with his trusty jab. This fight has the potential to be a grappling chess match since both guys are accustomed to the grind, but the excellent takedown defense of both men could lead to most of the action coming via striking on the feet.
The holy grail of superfights at one point, alas, this bout never materialized. Whether it was due to disagreements regarding what weight class the fight would take place in or the two champions being preoccupied with worthy title challengers in their respective divisions, the stars couldn’t align for this scrap. Assuming St. Pierre does indeed return, he’d have hesitations about taking this bout for much of the same reasons he wouldn’t take on Lombard. Anderson Silva shockingly tested positive for steroids after his UFC 183 win over Nick Diaz who, a bit less shockingly, tested positive for marijuana. However, this is the fight almost everyone still wants to see and sooner rather than later; Silva is fading out of his prime while GSP also continues to age. Many have pontificated over the years on how the clash between GSP and the “Spider” would turn out. On one hand, St. Pierre could use his superior wrestling to dominate Silva on the ground. On the other hand, a rangy Silva could masterfully keep the distance and pick St. Pierre apart with strikes.
Although it would be fun to see George St. Pierre in the cage once more, it seems like he’s enjoying retirement. In addition to some high profile acting gigs that include some irritating, if not infuriating, energy drink commercials and superhero movies, St. Pierre may be jumping on to the professional pro wrestling circuit with a rumored WWE appearance in the woodworks.
Regardless of his decision to return to the cage or stay retired MMA fans should be grateful for all the great performances the welterweight GOAT put on and wish him the best in any and all his future endeavors.
Author: AJ Agnihotri
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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