Georges St-Pierre dethroned Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to become the UFC middleweight champion of the world before vacating his title
To many, it was not surprising.
St-Pierre had previously stated that he was returning to the promotion for a trio of ‘big fights’ and chalked off his first in an epic return in front of a packed Madison Square Garden in November.
Having been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, the Canadian made the decision to walk away from the sport. According to Tri-Star Gym Coach Firas Zahabi, St-Pierre will return, but only if he is guaranteed a fight against only the biggest names in the sport.
Zahabi told Robin Black of TSN that he predicts the two-weight world champion to recover from his illness and be ready to answer any offers providing they are suitable for his ambitions (via MMAJunkie.com):
“I think Georges is going to get better, get back in the gym. He’s going to feel his body out and see what he wants. What’s the most interesting, epic fight out there? Mayweather? McGregor? We need a mega-fight.”
Zahabi also hit out at criticism St-Pierre has fielded for vacating his middleweight crown a matter of weeks after winning the title:
“I always tell people if you’re criticizing Georges, do what he did. Do what he did first. Then criticize him. It’s not easy to do what he did. He defended the title over and over again. Lots of guys had their chance. Get in line. Make their way the way he did it. And when he did it, he never complained about nobody. He did it without complaining about anybody.”
St-Pierre’s reign at welterweight was legendary. One fighter who was also cited as a potential opponent for the Canadian was former ONE welterweight champion, Ben Askren. Having left the Asian-based promotion, many had hoped that Askren would finally bury the hatchet with Dana White and finally make an appearance in the UFC.
In what seems like a pretty long time ago, Askren opened up on the UFC showing interest in signing him despite rejecting him previously:
“My initial feeling is kind of like, ‘so what?’ I mean, I sent out that tweet right after, obviously. It’s kind of like, all of us had that time in high school where we were bullied by the cool kids. Then, all of a sudden we did something, and the cool group said, ‘Oh my God, can you be a part of our group?’ And some of us, who didn’t have very little self-esteem said, ‘well, you didn’t want me the first time, I’m okay, I’m doing alright.’ And some of the other little people were like, ‘oh my god, the cool kids want to hang out with me? Yes, please!’ So I think it’s kind of one of those things.”
Now, Askren describing White as an “insecure scumbag” expecting his entire roster of fighters to “cater to his every whim,” is not going to help his cause. “Funky” also believes that current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley also missed out on big paydays as a result of his outspoken tirades against the UFC President:
Askren told Submission Radio:
“Dana White’s a scumbag. I don’t take anything he says with any value because he’s very, very insecure and he abhors anyone who won’t cater to his every whim. I think it’s pretty on par for the course and I think it goes to further the statement that I made earlier that Dana White really can’t stand anyone who won’t cater to his every whim. Tyron’s a very strong, very smart individual and he doesn’t cave in every time Dana puts a little bit of pressure on him, and so I think that’s why there’s definitely some issues in their working relationship at times.”
White previously referred to Askren as a “gimmick-stealing moron” for comments he had made against him and his bound to be somewhat irked by Askren’s most recent attack:
“I thought Tito was the dumbest guy I’ve ever met,” White said. “(Askren) is an absolute moron. He’s copying everything Tito does. Obviously, you get lots of attention if you talk about the UFC, you don’t like me, or whatever your thing is. He stole that. Tito ought to sue him for stealing that one. And if he’s that happy over in Asia, and that organization is doing so well, then what the hell is he talking about me for? Do your thing.”