First, there was the announcement of his return to the UFC.
Now, there’s an opponent.
Georges St-Pierre will return to the octagon after more than three years away and challenge UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping for his title.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement Wednesday on ESPN, adding that no date or location has been determined yet.
The UFC later said in a news release that the fight would take place in the second half of 2017. St-Pierre would have to be in the UFC’s anti-doping program administered by USADA for at least three months before he could fight. He has yet to be tested, according to USADA’s website.
When St-Pierre walked away from the sport near the end of 2013, he left as the longest reigning welterweight champion in UFC history. He defended the belt nine consecutive times between 2008 and 2013. His last defense came against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 on Nov. 16, 2013.
“He wanted to take a break,” White said on ESPN. “He wanted to take some time off from the sport. He’s been talking about coming back for a couple years. Personally, I wasn’t a believer but he and I got together in Las Vegas, had dinner and got a deal done.
Bisping won the middleweight title last June by beating Luke Rockhold. He has defended it once since then, beating Dan Henderson by unanimous decision last October.
Bisping and St-Pierre will hold a news conference to discuss the bout this Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m. Pacific) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas ahead of Saturday’s UFC 209 event.