UFC president Dana White stated earlier this week that it is only a matter of time before Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon.
White didn’t use the “maybe” or “future” card to discuss GSP.
Instead, he said “when” the former champion returns.
The UFC now has that ace up its sleeve to play if it wants in regards to the future of the welterweight division.
St-Pierre vacated the title last year after defeating Johny Hendricks. Many thought GSP lost the fight. His face was bruised and battered, but the judges scored the split decision in his favor.
Immediately afterwards, he told Joe Rogan that he needed some time off. He didn’t want to use the word retirement, and remained steadfast in that approach during his conference call confirming his decision to vacate the belt and step away.
Now, on the eve of crowning a new champion at UFC 171 Saturday night, it appears White is ready to pull out his joker.
Most believe the winner of the co-main between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley will be declared the next challenger. White, though, isn’t ready to do that. He wants to see what happens first.
Could “what happens first” be St-Pierre deciding he has had enough time and wants back in? Doubtful, but maybe.
GSP has been all over the news lately, holding press conferences and scrums with members of the media. He has said, countless times, he is happy and has not set a date for his return.
But why would he just randomly announce it? Don’t you think the UFC would want to make a big splash and have news of his return made on FOX Sports or ESPN like they have been doing as of late? Of course they would.
Some feel St-Pierre has done enough – and suffered enough damage – that it is time to move on to another chapter in his life.
Personally, if he is up to it – and healthy – I want to see as much of Georges St-Pierre as possible. We won’t get another like him, and that is something all MMA fans should treasure.
Johny Hendricks came in over for his scheduled UFC 171 main event fight with Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title Friday.
Hendricks is still attempting to cut the 1.5 pounds to make the bout official and for the belt. If Hendricks does not make the weight and wins the fight, FOX Sports 2 is reporting that he will not become champion. However, if Lawler wins and Hendricks misses weight, he will become champion.
Twitter sounded off, both fighters and media members, immediately following the failed weigh-in.
Dana tells TV partners backstage that if Johny misses weight, Lawler can still win title. Johny, if off, would not be eligible for belt.
— Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) March 14, 2014
Dana White says he wants I get Johny on the scale with no music, bass shaking the stage. JH is outside, running? Didn't look happy.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 14, 2014
Some fan just got on stage onto the scale and flexed. What a horse's ass.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) March 14, 2014
Great comment from @dc_mma – Robbie Lawler telling his guys to help Johny Hendricks make weight, to ensure title fight
— John Stouffer (@johnstouffer) March 14, 2014
Stunned Johny Hendricks weighed in at 171.5 lbs. for the title fight. I'd bet on him making it down to 170 within the allotted time.
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 14, 2014
Hendricks on missing weight " I thought we made it. We'll see what happens." #UFC171
— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) March 14, 2014
If you guys remember filho sonnen 2, it was not for the belt because filho failed to make weight. Chael beat him, but didn't get the title..
— Brad Tavares (@BradTavares) March 14, 2014
We are not yet set for Saturday night and UFC 171, as the official fighter weigh-ins took place from Dallas earlier today.
In the main event, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will meet to determine a new UFC welterweight champion. Hendricks weighed in at 171.5 pounds, while Lawler tipped the scales at 170.
Hendricks must get down to 170 to make the bout official and looked extremely surprised when the scale read more. “Bigg Rigg” has two hours to cut the pound-plus.
UFC president Dana White said they are talking with the commission in Texas to see what the rules are regarding making weight.
“Nobody saw this coming,” White said, on the FOX Sports 2 weigh-in show. “He was surprised. He has two hours to make the weight.
“As far as I know, when you don’t make the weight dead on, it is not a title fight. It will still be five rounds.”
FOX Sports 2 noted that if Lawler wins the fight, he will become champion regardless if Hendricks makes weight. If Hendricks does not make weight and wins, he will not become champion.
UPDATE: Hendricks successfully weighed in at 170 on his second attempt. The title fight will go on as scheduled.
In the co-main event, welterweight contenders Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley square off. Condit, a former interim champion, weighed in at 170.5 and Woodley 170.
Complete weigh-in results can be found below, and FightLine will have coverage on Saturday.
MAIN CARD (PPV/10 p.m. ET)
Vacant UFC Welterweight Championship
Johny Hendricks (170 lbs.) vs. Robbie Lawler (170)
Carlos Condit (170.5) vs. Tyron Woodley (170)
Diego Sanchez (155) vs. Myles Jury (156)
Jake Shields (171) vs. Hector Lombard (170)
Ovince St. Preux (205) vs. Nikita Krylov (205)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 2/8 p.m. ET)
Kelvin Gastelum (171) vs. Rick Story (170.5)
Raquel Pennington (135.5) vs. Jessica Andrade (135)
Dennis Bermudez (146) vs. Jimy Hettes (145.5)
Sean Spencer (170) vs. Alex Garcia (170.5)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/6 p.m. ET)
Frank Trevino (155) vs. Renee Forte (157)
Justin Scoggins (125) vs. Will Campuzano (125.5)
Bubba McDaniel (184.5) vs. Sean Strickland (185)
Daniel Pineda (145) vs. Robert Whiteford (145)
UFC president Dana White isn’t guaranteeing anything in regards to Saturday night’s UFC 171 co-main event bout between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley.
While most feel the winner will face the winner of Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler that takes place in the main event spot, White isn’t setting anything in stone.
“There’s no guarantees, anywhere, ever in life,” he told MMAjunkie.com.
Woodley (12-2) and Condit (29-7) both have stated that they feel their bout is for the No. 1 contender role, but the UFC boss is holding out to see what they bring. The card also features welterweight contenders Jake Shields and Hector Lombard, plus there is always the Georges St-Pierre card.
“They’re going to have to come out and perform,” White said. “We’ll see what happens.”
St-Pierre vacated the title last year, forcing the UFC to put it up for grabs. They selected Hendricks and Lawler to compete for the belt.
UFC 171′s packed full of intriguing welterweight bouts, and one might be getting a little more heated as we get closer to Saturday.
During interviews after open workouts, which MMAjunkie.com attended, both Jake Shields and Hector Lombard took some strong shots at one another.
Shields (29-6-1) is a former Strikeforce champion and has gone 4-2 inside the Octagon.
“I’ve always thought Hector is a prick,” Shields said. “Everybody kind of knows that.
“As a person, no one likes him. He goes for all the new guys, tries breaking their ribs, breaking their arms, knocking them out.”
Lombard, meanwhile, is an ex-Bellator champion who sports a 33-4-1 mark that includes a 2-2 record with the UFC. He was critical of the style that Shields uses to win his bouts.
“He’s boring,” Lombard said. “He’s boring. That’s the truth. I don’t like to see him fight and I’m a fan of fighting. I’m a fight fan. That’s the way it is.”
Both did give each other their due, with Shields saying “I do respect him as a fighter. He’s a great fighter,” and Lombard adding “I believe he’s a great fighter. His record speaks for itself.”