In an announcement on ESPN, UFC president Dana White said that Georges St. Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) will take on Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) for the UFC middleweight championship when he returns to the Octagon. A date and location for the bout has not been set, but it is expected to take place this fall based on previous reports. The two men will meet face to face at a press conference this Friday, March 3 in Las Vegas, NV prior to the UFC 209 event which takes place on Saturday, March 4 at T-Mobile Arena
St. Pierre will be required to clear a four-month period as required by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and will be subject to random drug testing.
Several men were speculated to face St. Pierre on his return, including the winner of the UFC 209 welterweight championship main event between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. Nate or Nick Diaz and Conor McGregor were also named, but Dana White felt that Bisping was the correct choice. “Everyone wants to take a shot at Michael Bisping,” White said. “They think he’s beatable, and obviously Georges St-Pierre is no different. So he’s going to step up and try to take his 185-pound title.”
St. Pierre has not fought in UFC since November of 2013 when he scored a split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. It was at that point that St. Pierre stepped away and vacated his welterweight championship, but never officially retired. St. Pierre and the UFC recently settled issues between them, leading St. Pierre to sign a new deal to return to the organization.
White noted the long layoff between fights, saying he’s “not a big believer in layoffs.” He credited St. Pierre, saying that “(he) is always in shape, takes care of himself physically, so we’ll see what happens.”