When Georges St-Pierre left the UFC in 2013, his departure seemed almost surreal. One of the best fighters in MMA history, walking away in the midst of his title reign, still in what should be his athletic prime. Even Dana White couldn’t believe it; demanding that GSP keep fighting, for the sake of the company, his opponents, and the fans.
But after a few years of retirement, the idea that ‘Rush’ may just be done with combat sports competition seemed much more live-able. At the very least, if he did come back, the possibility that he’d be anything like the fighter he once was felt remote.
When the news was finally announced – in early 2017 – that St-Pierre would return to face Michael Bisping for the middleweight title, the reaction among hardcore fans was more of puzzlement and dread than it was excitement. But that just meant an even bigger setup for his eventual success.
GSP defeated Bisping in a thrilling, back-and-forth 3-round war in the UFC 217 main event, eventually scoring a technical submission after dropping the ‘Count’ with a left hook. The win made him the 4th two-division champion in UFC history, and earned him some praise from high places.
Félicitations Georges! Like you never left. You've made us proud once again. https://t.co/eK1GA5w2og— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 5, 2017
That’s the Canadian Prime Minister giving GSP a shout out. A sign of just how beloved a figure St-Pierre still is with Canadian sports fans.