Georges St-Pierre inks new deal to return to the UFC

Georges St-Pierre is back in the UFC.

The longest reigning welterweight champion in UFC history inked a new contract with the promotion this week that will see St-Pierre return to action for the first time since 2013.

UFC president Dana White confirmed the news on Friday via the L.A. Times.

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St-Pierre stepped away from the sport in 2013 following a hard-fought decision win over Johny Hendricks but then surrendered his welterweight title and took an indefinite sabbatical from competition.

During the past year, St-Pierre has made overtures that he wanted to resume his career with the UFC, but would only return after reaching new terms with the promotion. When St-Pierre last fought in the UFC, the promotion hadn't inked a multi-year deal with Reebok, which now prevents athletes from wearing outside sponsors into the Octagon.

St-Pierre had several lucrative endorsements that paid him seven-figures to wear their brand in the UFC so he was seeking financial compensation to help lessen the burden for the money he would be losing upon returning to fight again.

The UFC and St-Pierre came close to a new deal last year when the Canadian was negotiating for a fight with middleweight champion Michael Bisping, but the two sides couldn't come to terms. Ultimately, St-Pierre declared himself a free agent as he sought to break free from his previous deal with the UFC.

Just recently, however, White had revealed that he reached out to St-Pierre and the two sides were engaged in a conversation again about his return to action.

Now St-Pierre has reached an agreement that will see him return to the UFC as he looks to resume his career at some point during 2017.

The deal to sign St-Pierre couldn't have come at a better time for the UFC as the promotion searches for superstar main events this year with Conor McGregor currently taking a break from fighting while negotiating a potential super fight with Floyd Mayweather while Ronda Rousey appears near retirement following her second loss in a row this past December.

At his height of popularity, St-Pierre was the biggest draw and most prolific star on the UFC roster as he participated in some of the largest pay-per-views in company history.

Now he returns with several potential bouts that could welcome St-Pierre back to the UFC.

Both welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and middleweight champ Michael Bisping have expressed interest in facing St-Pierre. There have also been rumors for months that Nick Diaz would return to action if he was able to secure a rematch with St-Pierre, who defeated him in 2013.

Right now there's word on who St-Pierre will ultimately fight when he returns but it's clear his next bout will be one of the biggest moments in recent UFC history.