UFC

Georges St-Pierre set to fight Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Georges St-Pierre arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" held at the El Capitan Theatre on March 13, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Georges St-Pierre arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" held at the El Capitan Theatre on March 13, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

One of the biggest stars in UFC history is one step closer to making his Octagon return.

UFC president Dana White announced Wednesday morning that former champion Georges St-Pierre will challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title later this year.

"He will fight Michael Bisping for the 185-pound title," White said on SportsCenter. "This Saturday, obviously we have a fight here in Las Vegas for the welterweight title, which he held forever. And we'll have a press conference on Friday with him and Michael Bisping."

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St-Pierre has been on the sidelines since taking an extended break from fighting in 2013 after his 10th consecutive title defense, a split decision over Johny Hendricks.

But the last 12 months have sparked plenty of discussions between GSP and the UFC about a comeback and after some late negotiations, he and White were able to finally strike a deal.

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"He wanted to take a break, he wanted to take some time off from the sport," White said. "He's been talking about coming back for a couple years now. I personally wasn't a believer, but he and I got together in Las Vegas, we had dinner and we got a deal done.

"I'm not a big believer in long layoffs. Even Muhammad Ali after a three-year layoff didn't look the same. But, the 'Korean Zombie' just came back and looked amazing after a three-year layoff so who knows. GSP is always in shape, takes care of himself, so we'll see what happens."

A concrete opponent is the just one more check mark off the long list of action items on GSP's comeback list. The next step would be determining an actual date for the monumental return, which White says the promotion is still working on.

"We haven't set a date yet, but that's the fight. He has to go through USADA and be tested by USADA for the next three months. There's a lot of things that have to happen for Georges to come back and then we'll pick a date."

Regardless of the to-be-determined date, fans can surely rejoice in the fact that St-Pierre and the UFC have resolved their dispute and the long-time champion actually has an opponent for his first fight back.

And there were plenty of possibilities.

Fans have clamored for a matchup between St-Pierre and former middleweight champion Anderson Silva for years while some speculated that he could be next for the winner of the UFC 209 main event fight between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson.

GSP even said he could get down to the lightweight limit of 155-pounds, the home of current champion Conor McGregor. But White says that's not even a fight they considered and that GSP, like many others right now, explicitly wanted Bisping.

"[We were] not even close [to making GSP vs. McGregor]. Georges said he can make 155-pounds. Listen, let's be honest, everybody wants to take a shot at Michael Bisping, everybody wants to fight Bisping. 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."

While there is no official date, White did say the promotion is looking at late 2017 as a potential time frame.