Georges St-Pierre could be snubbed the chance to make history
Despite being retired from mixed martial arts, the hunger to compete still consumes former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre. In that respect, St-Pierre is no different from those who have come before him.
The former two-division champion called time on his Hall-of-Fame career last February, 15 months after he returned from a near four-year hiatus to end Michael Bisping’s reign as middleweight king.
Unlike most fighters who call time on their careers, St-Pierre hasn’t had a complete breakup from the fight game. Much like he did during his four-year intermission between 2013-2017, the Canadian has still been training.
That comes as no surprise to those that know the DNA of ‘Rush’, who is the true embodiment of the term “lifelong martial artist.”
But what other than his love of martial arts has been driving the 39-year-old to continue training all this time? The answer to that question is simple: the chance to further etch his name into the combat sports annals.
Georges St-Pierre retired from mixed martial arts last February
I believe they maybe have another agenda. Other people they want Khabib to fight before me.
Before hanging up his gloves, the fighting pride of Saint-Isidore hoped to further stake his already rock-solid claim to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time by dropping down to lightweight and challenging the undefeated and seemingly immovable object that is 155lb king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Aside from the fact defeating Nurmagomedov would make St-Pierre the UFC‘s first three-weight world champion, becoming the man to end the Russian’s imperious and relentless run through the lightweight division would be a major honour itself.
Both accolades are within touching distance for ‘GSP’ following Nurmagomedov’s recent disclosure of his desire to share the cage with his hero after this weekend’s unification fight with interim champion Justin Gaethje.
The UFC contemplated booking the super-fight before St-Pierre retired and are once again open to making the contest, which, despite St-Pierre’s latest absence, is still one of the biggest bouts available to the promotion.
Understandably, the prospect of testing himself against Nurmagomedov next year has St-Pierre thinking about reuniting the band – Firas Zahabi, Jon Danaher and potentially Freddie Roach – and beginning preparations for a test 28 men have failed to pass.
The goal-driven St-Pierre, however, is refusing to get his hopes up. His pumping of the breaks isn’t a surprise when assessing the lucrative bouts available to the UFC, in particular, a blockbuster rematch between Nurmagomedov and his predecessor at the summit of the lightweight division.
“I believe they maybe have another agenda,” St-Pierre said of a potential showdown with Nurmagomedov in a lengthy interview with Express Sport. “Other people they want Khabib to fight before me.
“I think I will really be the last person on the list who they would like to fight him.
Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje this weekend at UFC 254
“They would rather, I’m sure, have Conor [McGregor] or someone else to keep the ball rolling in the organisation. And I understand that from a business standpoint.”
Perhaps aware of the magnitude of a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, which, potentially could be the Dagestani’s final outing, the UFC have yet to speak to St-Pierre about fighting ‘The Eagle’.
St-Pierre, however, won’t put his life on pause on the off chance his former employees come calling.
“I can’t stop my life in case that opportunity happens,” St-Pierre said. “So I live my life and I work on my projects.
Georges St-Pierre expects the UFC to offer Khabib a rematch with Conor McGregor
“And if this opportunity comes, I’m going to have to reevaluate it and see if I still want to do it or not.”
Should a historic matchup with Nurmagomedov fail to come to fruition, St-Pierre insists he’ll be more than content with his Hall-of-Fame career.
“I’m very happy with my career because I always wanted to be a champion in mixed martial arts when I started to compete,” he said. “It was an obsession for me and I achieved it.
“I also wanted to be a good role model for the youth and I tried my best to stay authentic to who I am and be a good role model as well. And those make me very happy.”