- Georges St. Pierre has mixed feelings about returning to the UFC Octagon.
- The long-time welterweight champion returned to mixed martial arts after a four year hiatus to challenge Michael Bisping for the Brit's middleweight title in 2017.
- St. Pierre defeated Bisping by submission, won the title, then vacated it 34 days later and has not fought since.
- But he continues to be linked with a return to the UFC, and has long spoken positively about a standalone bout involving Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- He told ESPN this week that he would relish the challenge of fighting someone scary like Nurmagomedov, but also loathes the thought of "going back into that zoo."
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Georges St. Pierre is seemingly playing hardball when it comes to a prospective mega-fight involving Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"I have a mixed feeling about [returning to professional MMA]," the 39-year-old told ESPN on Thursday.
A long-time UFC welterweight champion, St.Pierre returned to combat sports after a four-year hiatus to challenge the UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in 2017.
The Canadian submitted the Brit with a rear-naked choke in the third round, and though he won the 185-pound championship, he vacated the belt 34 days later and has not competed since.
In St.Pierre's absence, Nurmagomedov has risen to the summit of mixed martial arts and is ranked as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by Insider and many others.
The Dagestan sambo specialist contests his 29th match at UFC 254 on Fight Island in the coming weeks, fighting American Justin Gaethje, and has been promised "something special" by the UFC president Dana White should he win.
This prompted media speculation that the something special might mean his 30th bout is against St. Pierre, an athlete Nurmagomedov's late father Abdulmanap — who died earlier this year following coronavirus complications — long admired.
St. Pierre told ESPN this week that if he ever were to return it would only be against Nurmagomedov, simply because the unbeaten wrestler would provide the greatest, and scariest, challenge.
But he also openly said his mindset wanders between wanting to compete, and not.
"If I ever come back, I'm not coming back for many fights," said St-Pierre.
"If I come back, it would be for one fight. And I need to take, for me, the biggest fish. And the one — for me, I believe — the top guy right now, the name is Khabib.
"As a fighter, the most exciting thing is to take the guy who seems invincible, unbeatable. He has the aura of invincibility. But it's also the scariest thing to do."
Though St. Pierre acknowledges his interest in a bout with Nurmagomedov, which would likely be one of the most lucrative and significant UFC events of all time, he said he is not yet fully motivated to do so.
He continued: "When I train, I feel I still get it. If you would have asked me, 'Would you like to fight Khabib?' in the middle of my training session or right after when I'm in the gym and my adrenaline is up, I'd be like, 'Yeah, let's do it! I'm excited!'
"But then after I take a hot shower, I go eat, hang out, go back home and I'm thinking about all these dramas and stuff, I'm like: 'Hell no. I'm not going back into that zoo. Oh, no. I'm good where I am.' So I have a mixed feeling about it."
Nurmagomedov defends his title against Gaethje at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, October 24.
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