One of the most successful welterweights in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship is on his way back to The Octagon.

Former welterweight champion Georges 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 after spending nearly 40 months away from the sport of mixed martial arts.

“He was my inspiration, man, especially in kickboxing and mixed martial arts,” UFC welterweight title contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson said. “I spent a lot of time in Montreal training with him and helping him out with a lot of camps.

“We actually have a good relationship, a better relationship than me and Rory (MacDonald) had. We’re closer than that. That’s something I don’t think I would (do). He is the best welterweight of all time, and for him to go to 185, I know he wants to try different things, either 155 or 185, and I’m happy for him, man, and I can’t wait to see Georges St-Pierre back out there again.”

St-Pierre returns with a 25-2 career MMA 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 Hall of Fame talent Matt Hughes. However, St-Pierre was far from done competing with championships on the line.

Two years after his first loss, St-Pierre avenged the setback with a TKO win over Hughes that brought home the welterweight title and Knockout of the Night honors at UFC 65. Following 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 over Serra, St-Pierre successfully defended the UFC welterweight title nine straight times, and on three occasions, won Fight of the Night honors.

St-Pierre later vacated the welterweight title after a dispute with the UFC over drug testing policies and the desire for stricter guidelines to clean up the sport.

Although champion Tyron Woodley previously stated his desires to have a “super fight” with St-Pierre, he would not address such a bout, not especially before his rematch with Thompson.

“Don’t ask me about GSP,” Woodley said. “Nobody ask me about GSP or Bisping. That (stuff) happened to me when I was fighting Rory the first time, talking about Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler. My focus left me that fight. I didn’t show up to work that week, so if you ask me that question, I apologize, but I will not answer.

“’Wonderboy’ is a tough opponent. He deserves my respect. He deserves my attention. That’s the fight I signed for. That’s the fight I’m doing this weekend. Unfortunately, I will not answer any questions on GSP and Michael Bisping.”