Georges St-Pierre was going to come out of retirement to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title, but the UFC had other plans for ‘The Eagle’.
Nurmagomedov went on to defend his title against Dustin Poirier instead, submitting ‘The Diamond’ in the UFC 242 main event at The Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Asked why he thinks the Khabib fight never came to fruition, St-Pierre said the UFC didn’t want to run the risk of ruining an ‘investment’ in one of their most prized assets.
“I know Khabib wanted to have that fight, I want it, but the thing is, if you look from the UFC’s side, I think it’s normal if I put myself in their shoes,” St-Pierre told ESPN (via MMA Junkie). “They didn’t want to take the risk of me winning the title and then after vacating again. I didn’t even want it for the title, I would rather do it not for a title. For me, it was because I considered Khabib, right now, the best fighter in the world, and he wanted to fight me as well so I thought it was a good fan fight.”
“They had other plans for Khabib and I understand that,” he added. “They had a lot to lose and if they invest into that fight and their investment goes out after, it’s not a good move. In a way, I could take that as a compliment because maybe they saw me as a threat for them. That means maybe they thought I could win the fight. If they let me fight him, it’s because they think I would have lost. So that’s why.”
St-Pierre is currently enjoying retirement and says it would take a ‘180-degree turnaround’ for him to make a comeback. The former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion left a legacy as one of, if not the, greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.