Firas Zahabi: Georges St-Pierre 'should start sparring in February'

Though it appears former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre is enjoying his semi-retirement, and continues to be noncommittal about a possible comeback, he is closing in on a return ... to sparring.

In an interview with ESPN's Brett Okamoto, St-Pierre's longtime trainer, Firas Zahabi, said the pound-for-pound legend is back in the gym training for fun, and is expected to start sparring at some point this month.

Zahabi said:

He's doing amazing. We're training on a regular basis. Not fight training - training for fun. He should be starting sparring in February. We're not going to rush it. We're going to see how it goes. The first injury, we had the (Carlos) Condit fight come up; the Montreal card was around the corner; we rushed it. We were really on the fence about coming back so quickly. We ended up doing it and we won three fights, but in my opinion, it was too fast. His body wasn't ready yet. Those fights were good, but they were a little messy. This time around, I want him to be 100 percent healthy, performing well - and then he can decide if he wants to come back.

When asked whether he thought GSP would eventually return to the Octagon, Zahabi couldn't really give an answer, but did think "Rush" may change his mind once his competitive juices start flowing.

I feel the same. I hate to give you a boring answer, but I believe he has a lot of competitive juices in him. Once he gets back to sparring and in the flow of things, the bug is going to bite him again. Is he going to do it? Yes or no. But I'm sure of one thing: the bug is going to bit him. He's a competitive human being and you can't just turn that off. He's in phenomenal shape. His physical conditioning is ridiculously good right now.

Firas Zahabi: Georges St-Pierre 'should start sparring in February'
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