Firas Zahabi, the head coach at Tristar Gym where former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre trains, believes the fighter will make a 2015 return to action.
GSP retired after a successful title defense over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 last November, citing several reasons. Earlier this year, he suffered a torn ACL, but Zahabi told ESPN that he is ahead in terms of recovery compared to his first knee injury in 2011.
“It’s looking way better than the first time,” he said. “We just finished training and were talking about how his quadriceps got back to size so much faster this time around. No two ACL injuries are the same. We’re learning that.
“In October, he’s going to try really light martial arts training. Maybe hit pads. A little movement. Nothign crazy.”
Zahabi admitted that the two have not discussed any such return to actual fighting, he just has a “gut feeling” he’ll compete again for UFC.
“My personal opinion is he still has plenty of competitive juice in him,” Zahabi said. “I don’t think he’ll be anywhere near fight shape until he’s late 34, mid-34. I think he’s got a few fights in him, but I don’t want to speak for the guy.
“He might retire and no one could blame him.”
St-Pierre has been a very outspoken individual when it comes to including more randomized drug testing in MMA, as he hopes to help clean the sport up.
“From now on, he’s in a place where he doesn’t have to fight a guy if that guy doesn’t do the test,” Zahabi said. “He is a big believer in everybody should be natural. Georges is happy. He’s a natural athlete.”
Hendricks went on to win the vacant title when he bested Robbie Lawler. The two are expected to rematch in early 2015. Along with rehab, St-Pierre has remained in MMA circles, cornering teammate Francis Carmont for his most recent UFC bouts.