Georges St-Pierre has fought only one time over the past five years, but never declared that he was retired. It seems he is closer than ever to making a decision about whether that time has come, as St-Pierre recently said that he is going to take the holidays to think about whether he will continue his UFC career or not.
St-Pierre has long been at odds with the circus that surrounds mixed martial arts. He’s been even more vocal about the ongoing struggle with performance-enhancing substances in the sport.
The one thing that may drive him away for good, in addition to Father Time, could be his desire to only take legacy fights, no longer wanting to chase and defend titles.
St-Pierre returned from a near-four-year hiatus to take the UFC middleweight title from Michael Bisping in November of 2017. Within weeks of the bout, citing a medical condition called ulcerative colitis, St-Pierre relinquished the belt and went back to the fringe.
Now, feeling healthier than ever, St-Pierre still isn’t sure that he wants to rejoin the rat race.
“I’m at the point that when I train, I feel very confident, feel strong, feel very great. I feel better than when I was 25,” the 37-year-old St-Pierre said on a recent episode of the Jim and Sam Show. “But sometimes, I hear a lot of BS stuff and things, and I’m like ‘do I really want to go back into that circle?’
“At this point, I think I’m going to take the holidays, think about it, and see what’s going to happen.”
There has been much disruption over the past couple of years with the politics of the sport reaching a new level in the Conor McGregor era. Fighters are frequently complaining about a lack of structure when it comes to determining who gets a title shot and who doesn’t.
The recent shifting of UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to keep the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson light heavyweight title fight intact when there is already a 205-pound champion in Daniel Cormier surely is a prime example of issues that St-Pierre wishes to avoid.
UFC president Dana White has also gone on record saying how he doesn’t want St-Pierre to come back for an immediate title shot only to then relinquish the belt without a defense should he win, the way he did following the fight with Bisping.
St-Pierre has his agenda, to only take fights that might add to his legacy, while the UFC has theirs, to run a profitable business. It’s something he fully understands, and what sounds like may be the final straw if he decides not to return to the Octagon.
“I understand (the UFC) has a business to run,” St-Pierre said, explaining that he has no interest in returning to the time of his career when he won the title and then faced the pressures of defending it year after year. He also doesn’t want to hold up a division should he fight for a title and then not want to defend it. That is something that McGregor has become synonymous with, twice being forced to relinquish a UFC championship belt for lack of defending.
St-Pierre has had a 16-year career and emerged relatively unscathed, despite a handful of injuries and surgeries. He’s still got his faculties intact and wants to keep it that way. That, as well, may weigh heavily on him as he takes this holiday season to consider his future.
“You don’t want the sport to retire you. You want to retire from the sport. That is always one of my goals.”
(Courtesy of Jim and Sam Show)