Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler battle for the welterweight title now-former champion Georges St-Pierre (pictured) voluntarily left behind to “take a break from MMA” at UFC 171. According to UFC president Dana White, Saturday’s winner will just be keeping the throne warm until St-Pierre returns.
Although White claims he hasn’t spoken to St-Pierre about coming back, there’s no doubt in his mind that it’s only a matter of when, not if.
“I know for a fact he will [return to the UFC],” White confidently stated Thursday.
St-Pierre recently revealed the reason he took a sabbatical at the peak of his career was due to his case of obsessive compulsive disorder. However, he’s also mentioned the UFC’s lax drug testing would also need to be addressed before he fights for the planet’s premier MMA promotion again.
White refutes that argument, stating personal reasons are the only cause of St-Pierre’s temporary break.
“That’s not why he’s gone,” White argued. “He’s not gone because of TRT or any of that stuff. He’s gone because he had personal problems that he needed to deal with. A lot of that stuff got blown out of proportion.
“He’s gone because of the reason he sat down with me and [UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta] that night and told us he was leaving. That’s why he’s gone.”
On Saturday, White will wrap the undisputed UFC welterweight belt around the waist of someone other than St-Pierre for the first time since April 2008. One of the bright sides of the division’s most decorated champion exiting is that the 170-pound class appears to be wide open, which generates more excitement for fans.
White agrees, but obviously prefers to have his biggest pay-per-view draw in the mix at all times.
“Is it fun for Georges St-Pierre to be gone?” White asked. “I wouldn’t say that it’s fun for him to be gone, but the welterweight division is exciting right now. When Georges does come back, whoever is standing there, it will be a fun fight.”