On November 4, 2017, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Madison Square Garden for UFC 217. That day, will also mark the return of UFC Legend Georges “Rush” St-Pierre. A return that fans have been waiting for since 2013.
In December 2013, GSP voluntarily vacated his welterweight title and let MMA fans around the world know that he would be taking an extended break from the sport. In March 2014, GSP announced via social media that he had torn his left ACL during a training session, thus delaying his return to the UFC. Seven months later, GSP was medically cleared to resume training, however, a return to the UFC remained unclear.
On June 20, 2016, GSP announced that he had entered USADA testing and was renegotiating his contract with the UFC with hopes of returning at UFC 206 in his home country of Canada.
It was on February 15, 2017, that GSP and the UFC had agreed to terms on a multi-fight deal. The following day, UFC President Dana White confirmed GSP had resigned with the promotion. In March, GSP would announce that the contract signed was a 4 fight deal.
In March 2017, Dana White announced on SportsCenter that GSP would make his much anticipated return against reigning middleweight champ Michael “The Count” Bisping. Bisping became the champ after he knocked out Luke Rockhold in the first round of their title fight at UFC 199. Bisping has defended the title once since then, defeating Dan Henderson by unanimous decision at UFC 204, even though Bisping looked like a beaten man at the end of the bout. The fight with Bisping and GSP was originally scheduled for UFC 213, however, an eye injury to GSP lead to the fight being called off by Dana White. Other fight scenarios were proposed such as Interim MW Champ Robert Whitaker vs. Bisping as well as GSP taking on the winner of Woodley vs. Maia, a bout that had the welterweight title up for grabs. However, after UFC 214, Dana White, who was less than thrilled with WW Champion Tyron Woodley’s performance decided to make Bisping vs. GSP once again. White stated Woodley was nearly booed out of the arena because he failed to engage with Maia throughout the fight. He stated he knows Bisping will come to fight and give the fans what they want to see.
As we all know, nothing is ever a done deal until the contract is signed. GSP announced on August 9th via social media that he had signed his bout agreement for UFC 217 against Michael Bisping.
The UFC 217 card is still under construction, but rumors of Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw as well as Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar have been circulating. There has even been talk about a strawweight title fight between Polish star Joanna Jedrzejczyk and “Thug” Rose Namajunas.
The UFC delivered one of the greatest cards of all-time for the promotions inaugural event at MSG for UFC 205. It looks like they hope to deliver something unforgettable this time around as well.
Stay tuned for updates as the rest of the main card as well as the undercard are still being put together.