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UFC 217: GSP’s Coach Makes Case For Why Ring Rust Won’t be a Factor Saturday

Kelsey Mowatt

UFC 217

Although it’s been approximately four years since Georges St-Pierre last fought, the former champ’s head coach says ring rust won’t be an issue at UFC 217.

St-Pierre is making his long awaited return on Saturday, when he throws hands with middleweight champ, Michael Bisping. The bout will mark the first time GSP has fought since November 16th, 2013, when he defeated Johny Hendricks and announced he was taking a break from fighting.

Recently GSP’s longtime coach, Firas Zahabi, was asked whether ring rust could be a concern. The Tristar leader had this to say in response (quote via MMA Junkie):

“If he had a limited amount of experience I believe it could be a major issue,” Zahabi said. “But again, he’s been competing since he was 6, 7 years old. For him, it’s like riding a bike. I don’t believe ring rust is an issue in this fight, in this particular fight.”

There’s no denying that GSP has been involved in a ton of high stakes fights, and that the 36 year-old’s been in the game for a long time. But, veteran fighters and their coaches have made similar comments in the past, leading up to a comeback bout, only to concede afterwards that cage rust did play a role.

Zahabi was also asked what a win Saturday would mean for St-Pierre’s legacy. The renowned coach stated:

“I think it cements him as the greatest fighter of all time. The greatest fighter of all time. All the other candidates had USADA issues.”

If St-Pierre can win the middleweight title, there’s no doubt he’ll be in greatest of all time discussion. Really, many would argue he already is. Before GSP vacated the welterweight belt back in 2013, he had defended it nine times. If he adds the middleweight title to his resume, he’d become the fourth man to win UFC belts in two different divisions. The others being Conor McGregor, BJ Penn, and Randy Couture.

Then, of course, you have former champs Anderson Silva and Jon Jones in the G.O.A.T discussion (which the USADA comment Zahabi made was likely directed at), and don’t forget about reigning flyweight champ, Demetrious Johnson.

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