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What’s next for Georges St. Pierre?

By on November 6, 2017

st. pierreGeorges St. Pierre didn’t necessarily look like the best GSP we’ve ever seen in the Octagon last weekend, but let’s face it: he didn’t really have to, either.

GSP’s objective was pretty clear, after all. He wanted to re-enter the sport with a fight that would add to his legacy while simultaneously providing a litmus test of sorts for whether he should continue to see a few more fights before hanging them again for good (again). To that end, his appearance was a complete success. He added the UFC Middleweight Championship to his resume and did so in a competitive fight that likely let him know exactly where he stands in the process.

So what’s next for GSP? The way that I see it, there are three pretty distinct options. Let’s take a look at all three and the pros and cons of each one.

Option 1: Keep the middleweight belt, fight Robert Whittaker

The first option for GSP is really pretty clear. He’s now the middleweight champion, so he can obviously hold on to that title and defend it. The best reason for GSP to do this is that he’s already gained some extra weight in order to fight at 185 against Bisping. He wouldn’t have to wonder whether he can cut to make 170, nor would he have to worry about actually doing weight cuts, which are hard on your body no matter your age, in his late 30s.

On the other hand, if GSP cuts down to 170 for future fights, he’ll have something that he doesn’t have at 185: the chance to carefully choose his matchups. If we’ve learned anything from Michael Bisping’s title reign, we’ve learned that you don’t necessarily have to fight the top guy when you’re champ, particularly if you can find other marketable matchups.

At 185, you’ve already got a fighter with the interim title, so there’s no way to put off facing him. Those belts have to be consolidated. And Whittaker is a tough task which GSP may not be equipped to handle, if his fight with Bisping is any indication.

Option 2: Drop the middleweight title, move down to welterweight

GSP can always drop the middleweight belt and go down to his previous fighting weight of 170 pounds. Doing this would provide a couple of advantages. For one, he could essentially choose his opponent. The UFC certainly wouldn’t refuse him a direct shot at the title, especially since he’s currently holding one. However, he could also handpick another opponent in the meantime if he wanted to avoid facing current champ Tyron Woodley. How does Conor McGregor sound?

If there’s a disadvantage to this move, it’s that GSP simply may not be able to handle the physical rigors of fighting at middleweight any longer. Not only is there the weight-cutting to think about, but also the difference in speed. The lighter you go in weight classes, the harder it seems to be for older fighters to stay relevant, as speed takes priority over pure power and strength.

Option 3: Call it a day

Of course, there’s always a third option. GSP could ride off into the sunset again, this time for good. I’m not hip to the guy’s financial information, but if he lives his financial life in the way he lives the rest of his life, he’s probably been disciplined enough to not need to fight for the money at this point.

In the meantime, he came back, made some money, and added to his legacy with another title belt. That’s not bad, and it allows him to go out on top instead of pushing it to the point where a loss (or near loss, as with the first time he left the sport) shoves him out the door.

Ultimately, I think we’ll see GSP take option 2. I’m not sure if he’ll become a bona fide welterweight, though. I could actually see him taking a one-off bout with Conor McGregor. This would do a couple of things: it would allow St. Pierre to gauge how well his body adjusts to cutting weight and fighting at 170 again, first of all.

Also, by fighting a guy who once competed at featherweight, St. Pierre could get a good idea of how he’d match up with some of the speedier welterweights out there. Nobody at welterweight is as fast as Conor, after all. Finally, and most obviously, he’d make an absolute shit-ton of money. Win or lose, he could ride off into retirement or use a good performance as a platform into a potential welterweight title fight afterward.

Imagine if GSP came back, and had three fights before leaving for good: a middleweight title victory over Bisping, a win over McGregor, and a welterweight title victory to cap it all off. If he could pull it off, it’s hard to write a better ending than that.

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