LAS VEGAS -- Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre's mere presence at UFC 196 on Saturday drew a lot of attention, but the 34-year-old said there is no update in terms of his long-awaited return to competition.
St-Pierre (25-2), who vacated the 170-pound championship in late 2013, told ESPN.com his comeback still depends on "a lot of things." Both he and UFC president Dana White did confirm, however, the two sides have been in discussion.
"The discussion is between myself and the UFC," St-Pierre said. "They know the issues I had in the past and, yeah, we're talking. I can't say anything right now. There's nothing I can say about [UFC 200]. I don't have a name. I don't have anything."
Rodolphe Beaulieu, St-Pierre's manager, added: "There's no status. It's the same as it was two years ago. It's a big step to decide to come back. You have all that legacy, all those wins, sponsors and the good image. It's not an easy thing. I think athletes struggle to know when to stop. The UFC has not offered any fights, but they ask how he is, if he wants to come back. It's an ongoing discussion."
One of St-Pierre's reasons for walking away from the sport when he did was the poor state of drug testing at that time. During his absence, the UFC launched a multi-million dollar partnership with United States Anti-Doping Agency to randomly test UFC-rostered athletes year-round. In 2016 alone, USADA has administered 335 total tests on 240 athletes, according to the organization's website.
When asked if he is completely satisfied with the program, the Canadian star's response was somewhat open-ended.
"It's better than it was before, but that discussion is also between the UFC and me right now," St-Pierre said.
"The system is good," Beaulieu elaborated. "USADA is a critical agency that does the best thing and they have the capacity to do the best testing in the world, including the carbon-isotope ratio [CIR] -- but it's the discretion of doing the tests that is a concern. They have the discretion of when and whom to test. I have an athlete who wants to be tested 20 times in a year. Just because he wants that doesn't mean it will happen, because they have that discretion."
St-Pierre, who won 12 welterweight title fights between 2006 and 2013, said he's in a better place mentally than where he was at the time he walked away. Several of those close to him have hinted at a potential comeback over the years, including head coach Firas Zahabi, boxing coach Freddie Roach and training partner Rory MacDonald. At least for now, St-Pierre maintains there is nothing to announce.
"Georges wanted to come to the fights tonight," said White on Saturday. "Have we been talking to Georges? Yes, we have. But who knows. I honestly don't know right here, right now if Georges still wants to fight."