Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre cited personal problems and too much stress as his reasons for taking hiatus and vacating his belt. As strange as that sounds, it’s not hard to believe once you look at his long career and all that he’s accomplished.
St-Pierre has beaten up most of the prominent fighters in his division, including: Karo Parisyan, Jason Miller, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, and Johny Hendricks. He only has two losses on is record — both of which he’s avenged.
He first won the belt in 2006 by defeating Matt Hughes with a vicious head kick. He then immediately lost it in what is considered the biggest upset in mixed martial arts history when he was knocked out by TUF winner Matt Serra. He earned his way back to a title shot by defeating Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes, and then obliterated Serra in their rematch. Since then, he has only fought elite competition and has remained undefeated while doing so.
He’s spent over half of his career as a champion. That’s a long time to have every person in your division gunning after you.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, St-Pierre’s longtime coach, Firas Zahabi, talked about how much better the former champ is now doing that he doesn’t have that target on his back.
“The guy has been fighting for too long, missing too many birthdays, too many weddings, too many life experiences. He wants to balance his life out. If you were to spend a day with Georges, you’d be exhausted.”
“Georges is right now the happiest I’ve ever seen him. His mood is better. He’s sleeping better, he’s gaining weight, muscular weight, not fat.”
“The stress was making him weaker, miserable, he was suffering. He didn’t have peace. He had too much stress in his life.”
St-Pierre has said that he would like to return to the UFC one day and fight again. But he hasn’t set a specific date and many in the MMA community doubt the thirty-two year old would want to come back after experiencing the luxuries of retirement. The only person who can decide that is St-Pierre, himself.