After a nearly 40-month absence, former welterweight titlist Georges St-Pierre is back in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Recently, St-Pierre ended his hiatus by testing himself in a training camp to see if he was up to the task of fighting at the highest level of mixed martial arts once again, and the official announcement came ahead of UFC 209 in Paradise, Nevada, last week.

St-Pierre will make his long-rumored return to the UFC later this year when he moves up a weight class and does battle with current middleweight titlist Michael Bisping at a yet-to-be determined date and event.

“It feels great,” St-Pierre said. “Right now, I’m so excited. I took the picture. The company has changed, but to come back, I feel rejuvenated. I’m very happy to be here.

“The landscape of mixed martial arts changes all the time. We’ve had ups and downs in discussions. It’s been a long process. I want to say thanks to the UFC, thanks to my management team to make that possible.”

St-Pierre returns with a 25-2 career mixed martial arts record, including a 19-2 showing in UFC competition.

After starting his MMA career with seven straight wins, St-Pierre earned a shot at the UFC welterweight championship, but suffered a late first-round submission to Matt Hughes. However, St-Pierre was far from done competing with championships on the line.

Two years after his loss to Hughes, St-Pierre avenged the setback with a TKO win over the UFC Hall of Famer that won not only the title, but also, Knockout of the Night honors at UFC 65. After a loss to Matt Serra in his first title defense, St-Pierre rattled off 12 straight wins, including an interim championship win over Hughes at UFC 79 and a unification bout against Serra in 2008.

Following the win in a rematch with Serra, St-Pierre successfully defended the UFC welterweight title nine straight times, and on three occasions, won Fight of the Night honors.

“I’m not going to be the old GSP,” St-Pierre said. “If I come back as the same Georges St-Pierre that I used to be when I was very successful, I’m going to have a very bad night the night of the fight. If I come back, it’s because I am and my trainers and my training partners are all convinced that I’m a better version than I was when I used to compete. I believe right now, I’ve reached the perfect peak of athleticism, knowledge and wisdom as a fighter and I’m going to prove it to everyone.”

St-Pierre, 36, aims to test his skills in a heavier weight class after years of clamoring from UFC fans and commentators alike for him to do so and have a “super fight” against long-time middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

“When I used to fight as a welterweight, I had a crazy lineup waiting for me, and I had injuries,” St-Pierre said. “I blew up my ACL back then, and they were waiting for me.

“Right now, I don’t hold the belt. Nobody is waiting for me. I can do whatever I want. It was the perfect timing. I wanted to make a big boom in my comeback, and like I said, it’s like the stock market. Right now, the guy that has the highest stock is Michael Bisping, and it was the perfect timing for me to do it.”