It’s going to take a ‘180-degree turnaround’ for Georges St-Pierre to come out of retirement, as the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion revealed in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani that he hated fighting in front of an audience.
St-Pierre suffered with crippling performance anxiety throughout his career and revealed that, despite numerous visits to a sports psychologist, he was never able to overcome his pre-fight nerves. The pound-for-pound great suspects the anxiety played a role in his ulcerative colitis diagnosis in 2017, which forced ‘Rush’ to relinquish the UFC middleweight title and eventually retire in 2019.
“‘You’re not scared. You’re excited,’” the sports psychologist tried explaining to St-Pierre (h/t ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim). “I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m excited if I haven’t eaten for three days, and I know I’m about to eat my favorite dish. I’m excited if I’m seeing a beautiful, naked woman. I’m excited if it’s minus-15 in Montreal, and I know that next week I’m going on vacation to a beach in a warm, exotic place. I’m not excited to go fight in a cage against another psychopath that’s going to try to kill me and maybe I’m going to be humiliated. I’m not excited about that. I’m scared.’”
“I never enjoyed one second inside the Octagon in my entire career.”
St-Pierre has never been more happy since retiring and says it would take a complete turnaround for him to make a comeback.
“I’m the happiest man in the world,” he said. “An athlete has a window. You want to retire from the sport. You don’t want the sport retiring you.”
St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) retired with a legacy as the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time.