Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, right, plays trainer Jorge Blanco on Nintendo Switch in Toronto on Thursday. St-Pierre says he still wants to challenge England’s Michael Bisping for his middleweight title. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Former UFC champ Georges St-Pierre says he still wants Bisping for comeback bout

TORONTO — It’s 1,300 days and counting since Georges St-Pierre last fought. But the former UFC welterweight champion says he feels better than ever on the comeback trail.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” the 36-year-old Montreal MMA star said in an interview Thursday.

There is a chink in the GSP armour, however.

“Let’s say you go out with your friend and have a few drinks, it takes more time to recuperate,” he admitted. “But all the rest — you’re wiser, smarter, more experienced, more powerful, stronger.”

St-Pierre, whose last fight was at UFC 167 on Nov. 16, 2013, ended his hiatus from the sport when he signed a new contract in February. The UFC announced GSP would move up a weight class to face middleweight champion Michael Bisping later this year.

St-Pierre and the UFC have since clashed over when the fight should take place. UFC president Dana White wants it sooner than later. GSP says he can’t fight until November because of an eye injury.

St-Pierre (25-2-0) says he spoke to White this week to press his case to battle Bisping.

“I told Dana if you want to do it in November, I’m the man … I think it’s a great fight, a fight everybody wants to see.”

But the bout is still up in the air, it seems.

White told Fox Sports Australia in May: “Michael Bisping is going to have to defend his title now. We’re not waiting for GSP.”

Things became more complicated when Bisping injured a knee. That could open the door for an interim championship bout between No. 1 contender Yoel Romero and No. 3 Robert Whittaker, with a healthy Bisping fighting the winner.

White has said if Bisping survives that, the bout with GSP could go ahead at a later date. A Bisping loss and St-Pierre’s comeback may have to be back at welterweight.

“My eyes are on Bisping,” St-Pierre insisted.

“I always said that if I come back, it would be to do something different — something that can elevate me,” he added. “Because I have a lot to lose.”

Fighting Bisping at 185 pounds merits the risk, he believes.

The brash Brit has a title and holds the UFC record for most wins (20).

“Plus he’s been very cocky. he’s said a lot of things about me,” said St-Pierre, who has 19 UFC victories.

“I take a big risk. I can lose big but I can win big,” he added. “And I will win big.”

St-Pierre says he will retire “right away” if he loses. He will keep going if he wins.

The UFC says it has no official position on GSP’s return fight other than what White has said in recent interviews.

“We look forward to seeing Georges return to the Octagon as soon as we are able to set a date and opponent,” a UFC spokeswoman said.

Bisping, who last fought in October, has stepped into the cage eight times since St-Pierre left the scene. GSP has kept training — he underwent knee surgery as a result of a practice injury — and his Twitter feed shows him doing everything from gymnastics to push-ups with a car tire on his back.

St-Pierre looks bigger these days, weighing between 195 and 200 pounds. He used to walk around at 185 pounds when he competed as a welterweight.

He hired a nutritionist to help him get use to the extra weight he will be carrying to fight the 38-year-old Bisping (31-7-0).

Tyron Woodley, the current 170-pound champion, is due to face No. 1 contender Demian Maia next.

The Canadian clearly believes he has some bargaining power, given his past pay-per-view successes. St-Pierre says he remains in the top echelon of draws along with Conor McGregor and the Diaz Brothers.

St-Pierre stepped away from the sport after winning his 12th straight fight, albeit via a narrow decision over Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks. He said he needed the break because his life had become “completely insane” and a “freaking zoo.”

Today he has no regrets about that decision.

“I should have walked way a little bit earlier. Maybe I would have come back earlier.”

The fighter spoke at an appearance at a downtown MMA gym to promote the new Nintendo Switch game “Arms.”

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month