Georges St-Pierre to face Michael Bisping; date, venue still TBD

St-Pierre moving up in weight to fight Bisping (1:23)

UFC president Dana White explains the sequence of events that led to three-time champion Georges St-Pierre returning to the sport for a fight against middleweight champion Michael Bisping. (1:23)

Georges St-Pierre's return to mixed martial arts will begin with a UFC middleweight championship fight against Michael Bisping.

UFC president Dana White announced the 185-pound matchup on SportsCenter on Wednesday. The bout will take place at a date to be determined.

St-Pierre (25-2) was the longest-reigning welterweight champion in UFC history, defending the title nine consecutive times between 2008 and 2013. He vacated the title in late 2013, expressing a need to take a break from the sport, but rumors of an inevitable comeback significantly heated up in 2016.

"He wanted to take a break," White said. "He wanted to take some time off from the sport. He's been talking about coming back for a couple years. Personally, I wasn't a believer, but he and I got together in Las Vegas, had dinner and got a deal done.

"I'm not a big believer in long layoffs. Even Muhammad Ali, after a long layoff, didn't look the same. But [St-Pierre] is always in shape, he takes care of himself physically, and we'll see what happens."

Bisping (30-7) has been publicly campaigning for the St-Pierre fight since late last year. He even verbally agreed to fight St-Pierre at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto, but the Canadian star was unable to come to a financial deal with the UFC to make it happen.

Last month, White mentioned St-Pierre had broached the possibility of moving down to 155 pounds. Such a move could potentially set up a blockbuster fight between St-Pierre and lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

On SportsCenter, White said that fight was not close to happening in St-Pierre's return.

"Georges said he can make 155 pounds, but listen, let's be honest here, everybody wants to take a shot at Michael Bisping," White said. "They think he's beatable. Obviously [St-Pierre] is no different."

St-Pierre and Bisping are scheduled to host a news conference later this week in Las Vegas, ahead of the promotion's UFC 209 pay-per-view.