Georges St-Pierre had always suffered with pre-fight nerves, but to what extent, we didn’t really know.
St-Pierre was forced to relinquish his UFC middleweight title after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2017 and, according to a recent interview with South China Morning Post, ‘Rush’ believes stress may have played a factor in his diagnosis.
The 39-year-old believes he could still compete at the highest level if not for feeling so terrified before his fights.
“I was always very scared,” St-Pierre said. “I couldn’t sleep well the night, a few nights, before the fight. It’s my fault a little bit because you control your own mind and I always performed better when I put pressure on myself, when I felt like I was on the edge. So I forced myself to feel that way, scared I wouldn’t win, or I would be humiliated.
“But the stress took a lot out of me and that’s one of the reasons why I retired. I retired not because I can’t fight any more. I could fight again if I wanted to and I believe I could probably be one of the best, maybe the best. But I stopped because of the stress.”
St-Pierre was, at one point, rumored to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title but the bout never came to fruition because, according to GSP, the UFC didn’t want to risk losing one of their most prized investments.
St-Pierre was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame earlier this month and is widely considered one of, if not the, greatest fighters of all-time. The Canadian fan favorite retired with a professional record of 26-2, having only ever lost to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra.