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GSP is back, wants Bisping
-- Former welterweight kingpin Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre announced his return to the UFC last week on Ariel Helwani’s show, The MMA Hour. St. Pierre said he’s open to fighting at middleweight or that he could “easily” make it down to 155 pounds to compete at lightweight. GSP is aiming to face current 185-pound champ Michael Bisping. He hasn’t fought since being gift-wrapped a split-decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November of 2013. After getting the nod over Hendricks for his 12th consecutive victory, GSP went on a hiatus that has lasted nearly three years. He recently turned 35 and owns a 20-2 career record in the UFC. GSP hasn’t tasted defeats since being knocked out by Matt Serra at UFC 69 in 2007. If the title shot against Bisping doesn’t materialize, potential opponents could include Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, Carlos Condit, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Hendricks, Conor McGregor and Nate or Nick Diaz.

-- USADA announced a six-month suspension of B.J. Penn on Monday due to his issue with IV use that forced him out of a fight with Cole Miller at UFC 199. Over the past weekend, Penn tweeted at Georges St. Pierre to face him at UFC 205 at MSG in NYC in a lightweight contest. The six-month suspension is retroactive to March 25, so the Nov. 12 date for UFC 205 would work. However, I suggest that Penn return to the Octagon against the likes of a Miller or Dennis Siver, who Penn was scheduled to face before an injury forced him out of UFC 199 and Miller was chosen to replace him. Remember, Penn is 1-5-1 in his last seven fights dating back to April of 2010. The only win in that span came over an over-the-hill Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in November of 2010.

-- Michael Chiesa has pulled out of UFC Fight Night 91 headliner against Tony Ferguson due to a completely ruptured disc in his back. MMA Junkie first reported the story Monday. In a subsequent twitter post, Chiesa revealed that he will undergo eight weeks of physical therapy to hopefully avoid surgery. The UFC is now looking for a replacement to face Ferguson on just two weeks of notice. ‘El Cucuy’ has won seven consecutive fights since losing to Michael Johnson on May 5 of 2012. He owns a 20-3 overall record and a 10-1 mark in the UFC. Ferguson has collected four performance bonuses in his last three wins over Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson and Edson Barboza.

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-- As usual, the first thought as a replacement would obviously be Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. However, Cerrone was booked to fight Rick ‘The Horror’ Story at UFC 202 on Monday. Cerrone owns a 10-1 record in his last 11 fights, including back-to-back victories by finish over Alex Oliveira and Patrick Cote in the welterweight loop. Cerrone, ranked 14th in the 170-pound division, will face ninth-ranked Story on the main card that’ll be headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II.

-- I suggest the UFC put in a call to ninth-ranked lightweight Dustin ‘Diamond’ Poirier as a possible replacement for Chiesa to face Ferguson. Poirier has won four straight fights at 155 pounds since moving up a division after his loss to McGregor at UFC 178 in September of 2014. Another possibility is Johnson, who isn’t currently booked for a fight. At first glance, one would think Johnson probably wouldn’t want to fight a streaking Ferguson on short notice, especially since he already owns a win over the third-ranked lightweight. Then again, a second win over Ferguson would immediately bump Johnson back up into the mix at 155. The eighth-ranked lightweight had won four in a row before being robbed by the judges in a split-decision loss to Beneil Dariush last August. In his bounce-back spot at UFC Orlando this past December, Johnson lost a unanimous decision (29-28 three times) to Nate Diaz.

-- I see only two other options as replacements for Chiesa. There’s top-ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has been fasting during Ramadan, which ends on July 7. Nurmagomedov has been scheduled to take on Ferguson twice before, but both fights were scrapped due to injuries. Whether Nurmagomedov would feel prepared enough to fight just six days after Ramadan is unknown. Dariush is the only other ranked lightweight contender of note who doesn’t have a fight booked. If Dariush, Johnson, Nurmagomedov or Poirier isn’t ready or willing, the other option is to remove Ferguson from the card altogether. In that scenario, he could face the winner of Eddie Alvarez vs. Rafael dos Anjos for the title. RDA and Alvarez face each other in the UFC FN 90 main event in Las Vegas on July 7. Obviously, the drawback to pulling Ferguson from the card is the hit it will bring to the fans of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who are hosting the FN 91 show in the first UFC event ever in the state.

-- Anthony Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira has moved to the UFC 202 card. The light heavyweights were set to scrap at UFC on FOX 20 until ‘Rumble’ pulled out of the fight last week. The winner will presumably get the Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier winner at UFC 200.

-- Speaking of Jones, he recently stated that his interest in moving up to heavyweight has recently waned. The former 205-pound kingpin expressed interest in facing Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson after his rematch with Cormier.

-- Ryan Jimmo passed away Sunday morning at the age of 34. Jimmo died from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run incident in the parking lot of H2O Lounge in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The suspects, who are two Caucasian males who were driving a dark-colored pickup truck, are reportedly still at large. Jimmo had a 19-5 overall MMA record, compiling a 3-4 record in the UFC. In his Octagon debut at UFC 149 in July of 2012, Jimmo recorded the fastest KO in UFC history when he finished Anthony Perosh with a one-punch KO in only seven seconds. RIP.

  
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