Longtime champion Georges St-Pierre recently vacated the UFC welterweight championship, citing a need to get back to a normal life.
“I’ve been fighting for a very long time, at a very high level,” said St-Pierre. “It’s a lot of pressure. I know that UFC is a business. They have to keep things rolling, so I vacate my title.
“I need to have a normal life for a little bit,” he continued. “If I come back some day, I will be even better.”
That was nearly a month ago. St-Pierre has since posted a few times on social media, but has made few public comments about his last fight, his hiatus, or his thoughts of a possible return.
St-Pierre made a public appearance in Edmonton on Saturday, however, giving his most extensive comments yet since he stepped away to the Ottawa Sun. He added perspective to his decision to remove himself from the fight scene, but did little to reinforce the likelihood for a return to the Octagon.
“I’m 32 years old and this is the first time I have my Christmas with my family,” said St-Pierre. “I spent some time, but I never really had free time, total free time like I did [this holiday]. It was time for me to do it. I’m very happy I did it and I don’t regret any of it.”
It sounds as if his decision has been a good one for St-Pierre. The pressure of being a world-class athlete was a prime factor in relinquishing his belt. He realizes it’s something that comes with the territory, but it was also something that seemed to consume him, and he wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
“At the time, I thought it was the right time for me to do it. I had a lot of pressure,” he told the Ottawa Sun.
“People don’t realize how much pressure I have. It’s a lot of expectation. You take a lot of risk. You get so nervous because you care about it. There is so much on the line.”
At the time of the announcement, St-Pierre had been involved in 11 consecutive title fights, and hadn’t lost a bout since April of 2007. He wanted to attempt to live a normal life for a while to see if mixed martial arts could be fun for him again.
“I needed to take time off to relax, to feel better and to have fun to do it again if I ever wanted to come back,” said St-Pierre.
While he does seem to be enjoying his time away from the sport, appearing much more relaxed than he has in quite some time, St-Pierre did not clarify whether or not he expects to one day return to a career of prize fighting.
“I don’t give myself any preference,” he said. “There is a chance I will come back.”