After earlier reports, Georges St-Pierre has confirmed that he is officially retired from mixed martial arts competition. In a Thursday press-conference in Montreal, the decorated UFC champion announced that he is indeed stepping away from the sport.
St-Pierre has tried to book what he called “legacy” fights with the UFC during the twilight of his career, but notably struggled with negotiating with the promotion to make these happen. Late in 2018, the former two-division UFC champion said he would ‘take the holidays’ to decide on his future as he is unsure about his willingness to deal with ‘BS’ politics at that stage of his career.
Less than two months later, and he has made it official.
Speaking in French initially, St-Pierre addressed the assembled media at the Bell Centre, announcing his retirement and thanking his team, coaches, and training partners that have helped him along the way.
“There’s no tears. I’m very happy to do it,” St-Pierre said in English after. “It was a long process in my mind, but it’s time to do it. I always said I want to retire on my own, and not to be told to retire. It takes discipline to retire on top.”
GSP campaigned and negotiated to get a bout with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but said it just didn’t work out despite both fighters wanting to make it happen.
“It takes three people to make a fight. The two fighters and the organization,” he said. “It just didn’t happen. I wish Khabib the best of luck. I’m a big fan and I think he’s the best fighter right now.”
St-Pierre, 37, will end his 17-year career with a 26-2 record. The two-division champ has had victories in 13 UFC championship bouts — 12 straight title fights to close out his career — and a long and dominant reign in the sport’s deepest division at the time. From winning his first welterweight title at UFC 65, to getting the middleweight belt at UFC 217, St-Pierre has defeated some of the best fighters in the world in multiple eras of the sport.
Arguably the greatest fighter in MMA both in and out of the cage, St-Pierre has had iconic wins over UFC champions such as Matt Hughes (twice), Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn (twice), Matt Serra, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, and Michael Bisping. He also has quality victories over champions in other organizations like Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Jon Fitch, Karo Parisyan and Jay Hieron.
GSP has accomplished just about everything he possibly could in MMA, and the all-time great has had lucrative options outside his fighting career as well. He always had the option to walk away from the sport, as evidenced by his four-year hiatus prior to winning the middleweight title, but he still wanted to take super-fights that could further that legacy. Even after failed negotiations during the latter stage of his career, St-Pierre still managed to be one of the rare fighters who gets to leave on his own terms.
St-Pierre always wanted to go out “on top, healthy, and wealthy” and it looks like the first ballot hall-of-famer will follow through and get his wish.