Georges St-Pierre to return to the UFC in middleweight championship fight against Michael Bisping

The UFC legend will end his three-and-a-half year hiatus 'in the second half of 2017'

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Mixed martial arts great Georges St-Pierre will return to the UFC after a three-and-a-half year absence to take on current middleweight champion Michael Bisping, it has been confirmed.

35-year-old St-Pierre has previously teased a return to the Octagon, with plenty of fighters calling the former welterweight champion out in the hope of a lucrative and historic bout, while British fighter Bisping spoke last month of his desire to face St-Pierre if he was the return to the UFC.

It appears that Bisping has got his wish, after the UFC confirmed late on Wednesday night that St-Pierre will end his hiatus to take on Bisping at an unknown date and location, though the UFC did confirm the fight will happen “in the second half of 2017”.

St-Pierre is still among the biggest stars in MMA even though he hasn't fought in nearly three-and-a-half years. The 35-year-old Canadian announced his return to the UFC last month.

He made nine consecutive 170-pound title defenses before walking away after a split-decision win over Johny Hendricks in December 2016.

In his return, St-Pierre will attempt to take the 185-pound belt from Bisping. The English veteran won the title in an upset of Luke Rockhold last year, and he defended it by beating Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in October last year.

Bisping had also been considering fights against Yoel Romero and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, but had his heart set on a fight with Bisping that will materialise later this year.

Additional reporting by AP