Zahabi 'hopeful' for GSP return, wants Bisping title fight

Firas Zahabi, the coach of Georges St-Pierre, believes a super fight against UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping makes the most sense for GSP's return. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If it were up to Georges St-Pierre's head coach, the Canadian star would challenge Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title very soon.

Speaking to ESPN's 5ive Rounds podcast, Firas Zahabi said his No. 1 choice for a St-Pierre comeback would be a 185-pound championship bout against Bisping. St-Pierre, of course, is the UFC's former 170-pound welterweight champion. He vacated that title and announced a leave of absence in late 2013.

"I would love the Bisping fight to be honest with you," Zahabi said. "I feel the welterweight division doesn't have a supremely confident champion yet. Tyron Woodley is a great champion, but he's on his first defense. We need someone to build a history like Georges did, to have a super fight.

"With Bisping, it would be for the middleweight title. That would make it epic. Georges needs to come back for a mega fight, super fight. Something five rounds, something historical. Not just another contender."

St-Pierre (25-2) and the UFC attempted to come to terms for a return at UFC 206, which took place last weekend at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Bisping even went so far as to publicly announce he'd verbally agreed to face St-Pierre at the event. Ultimately, the two sides were unable to come to a deal.

Zahabi, who runs Tristar Gym in Montreal, said he doesn't get involved in contract negotiations, but sounded optimistic regarding an eventual St-Pierre return.

"I still think Georges is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," Zahabi said. "He trains regularly so I still see him in action and the guy is a monster. I hope Georges and the UFC, his management team at CAA, they book him again. He's such an incredible talent sitting by the wayside. It's crazy to me.

"I think it's a matter of time. I'm hopeful at least."

In October, St-Pierre declared he had entered free agency, effectively terminating his UFC contract. The promotion immediately countered St-Pierre's claim.

Late last month, St-Pierre was in the headlines again as part of a fighter panel to a newly formed Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association, which will seek to improve labor situations for UFC athletes.

When asked if St-Pierre's involvement with the MMAAA might have a negative impact on him fighting in the UFC again, Zahabi did not think so.

"The truth of the matter is that fighters are not making so much money," Zahabi said. "They're working hard, training just as hard as NFL and hockey players. I'm not an expert in economics, I'm just asking a regular Joe type of question: Is this sport able to pay more? Because these athletes are worth more.

"If I had employees that were angry, I would listen to them. I'd sit them in a room and listen. I believe in being honest, open, transparent. There's always an Alpha male syndrome. Everybody thinks they deserve more. At the end of the day, the UFC and fighters are putting on shows together. There has to be a compromise."