On November 16, Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his UFC Welterweight title by earning a unanimous decision over No. 1 ranked contender Johny Hendricks. During his post-fight interview, the battered and bruised champion told the crowd, in a halting and somewhat confusing speech that he was planning on stepping away from the sport for a bit.
The announcement brought out the worst in UFC president Dana White. White told Fox Sports that St-Pierre was not going to step away from the sport, aggressively stating that St-Pierre:
Owes it to the fans, he owes it to this company, and he owes it to Johny Hendricks to come in and do that fight again.
At this time, St-Pierre has not cleared up his position on his fighting future. That fact has left fans, media and others to speculate as to what the next step will be for the longtime UFC champion. One of those in the others group is St-Pierre's head trainer at Tristar Gym, Firas Zahabi.
Zahabi recently spoke to Sportsnet about St-Pierre:
Right now it's about clearing his emotions, finding what he wants to do with life. He's been fighting for so long, he's been putting off his social life for so long, making a lot of sacrifices, it's been almost seven years that he's been champion, he's had 22 fights in the UFC. I think he needs to settle down, settle his mind and figure out what he wants to do.
When pressed, Zahabi gave his thoughts on what the odds are for St-Pierre's return versus his retirement:
It's 50-50, and I don't think he knows either. If he ends it this way, I think it was good. He ended up with a Fight of the Night in an incredible seesaw battle. He showed heart. He showed guts. He showed he's a fighter.
As for the topic of owing the UFC, or for that matter, anyone, Zahabi shared his feelings on that subject with Fight Now TV:
I don't think Georges owes anybody anything. He has more hours in the Octagon than anybody else.
St-Pierre's total time in the Octagon comes in at 5:28:12. The second most time in the Octagon belongs to B.J. Penn who has clocked 5:03:51. Next on the active roster is Frankie Edgar. Edgar has a lot of fighting to do to catch Penn or St-Pierre; his total fight time is 4:31:11.
St-Pierre debuted with the UFC in January 2004, earning a unanimous decision over Karo Parisyan. In his 21-fight run with the promotion he has gone 19-2.
Will there be a 22nd fight for St-Pierre in the UFC? Only St-Pierre knows that for sure, and it seems like he's not sharing his thoughts on that subject with anyone.
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