Former undisputed UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre made a rare public appearance since his departure from the UFC, where he suggested that he might one day return to the fighting cage.
St-Pierre appeared at an Edmonton Rush game in The National Lacrosse League. One fan was allowed to ask him a question — and guess what the question was? Whether he was coming back to the UFC.
St-Pierre, arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all-time, responded: “I’m taking a break now. Because I’m an obsessive guy, I give myself a challenge which automatically will mean me working on it to obtain it. So right now I take a break. I don’t give myself any preference, you know. There is a chance I will come back.”
In an interview later with the Edmonton Sun, St-Pierre said he is working on some projects for 2014, but nothing that he can elaborate on.
St-Pierre was the sport’s biggest PPV draw when he walked away in November after a close, controversial decision victory over Johny Hendricks. Although GSP walked away looking like the beaten man, GSP won a split decision.
After years on top, however, GSP decided to walk away from sport, giving up his title and leaving it open as to whether he would one day return.
St-Pierre is just the latest high-profile UFC fighter to retire from the sport arguably prematurely. St-Pierre walked away when he was at the top of his game, as did former UFC fighter and welterweight Nick Diaz.
Diaz retired after losing a 5-round unanimous decision to St-Pierre. UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar also retired in 2012, after losing to Alistair Overeem.
Although each fighter’s situations are unique, their departure indicates that they weren’t hurting for money and that the lure of the UFC was not as tempting as time away from the sport.
Lesnar, of course, returned to the WWE, where he is reportedly earning millions of dollars to appear less than 20 times a year on WWE programming. Diaz staged a MMA show in his hometown of Stockton and other than accompanying his brother Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez to the cage, he seems not interested in returning to the UFC.
St-Pierre never fought the same after returning from a knee injury in training in 2011.
The feeling was that GSP was simply tired mentally and physically after three grueling fights against Diaz, Carlos Condit and Hendricks.
With little to prove, GSP for now seemed to avoid the fate of Anderson Silva, who also spent several years on top before getting knocked out and then breaking his leg against a younger Chris Weidman.
Diaz, always an unpredictable fighter in and out of the ring, also spent several years at the top of the sport, mostly in Strikeforce. Diaz was likely tired as well and got to a point where he was only willing to fight for titles. In a welterweight division stacked with talent, Diaz would need to beat a top contender to get a title shot at this point in his career.
Lesnar was never the same fighter after his battle with diverticulitis, but likely walked away because he has other, more lucrative options, in the WWE.