When former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre made his promotional debut in January 2004, the highest profile fighter competing out of the Montreal-based Tristar Gym was up-and-coming middleweight Dave Loiseau.
It was a long road from St-Pierre and Loiseau’s humble beginnings to the point where St-Pierre stood atop the MMA world and then walked away.
St-Pierre announced that he was taking a break from fighting following his ninth consecutive title defense at UFC 167 against current titleholder Johny Hendricks.
“I’ve been fighting for a long time,” St-Pierre said during a media conference call in December announcing his relinquishment of the belt. “I’ve been fighting a very long time for a high level. It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism, and I’ve decided I need to take time off.”
Speculation immediately arose about why the 33-year-old Canadian abandoned his title. Rumors ran rampant about an illegitimate child, his father’s health, and countless other speculations about why the greatest 170-pound UFC champion decided to suddenly walk away from the sport.
“Nobody knows what’s going on inside of Georges’ head; so nobody can judge. When he decided to retire, or take a break, I was okay with it. We talked a few times about it as friends, not as training partners, just as friends. As a friend, a real friend will tell you, you do whatever the hell you want. Whatever feels right, you do it,” Loiseau recently told MMAWeekly.com.
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“Don’t care about what people say. They’ll judge you no matter what. If you stay, they’ll judge you. If you leave, they’ll judge you. So do whatever feels right, you do.”
UFC president Dana White is confident that St-Pierre will return to fight after healing up from a second ACL surgery. Loiseau believes St-Pierre will fight again, but doesn’t sound as absolute as White about it.
“He hasn’t lost in I don’t know how many years. He’s the champ. I don’t know. We don’t know what’s going on in Georges’ head. A fighter that achieved that level of greatness is alone in his head. He’s alone in his head and he’s unpredictable to regular people,” said Loiseau. “Whenever he feels hungry enough to step back in there, he will.
“One thing that brought Georges to the top, the one thing that kept Georges at the top of the division and the top of the sport, is his brain. This guy used his brain in the gym, in the cage. I mean this guy is very, very smart. Every move he makes is calculated, inside and outside of the Octagon. We’ll see,” Loiseau added.