Georges St-Pierre’s self-imposed hiatus from MMA may finally be coming to an end, with the former UFC Welterweight Champion announcing on Monday that he is, indeed, ready to return to the sport.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, St-Pierre made clear that he is ready to come back, ending months and months of non-committal responses that nevertheless hinted at this eventuality.
When asked if he was officially announcing his return, St-Pierre responded, “Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. I’m ready. I’m an emotional guy. My agents, even before I came on the show today, they briefed me. They said, ‘don’t say this, don’t say that.’ They briefed me, they said, ‘we’re in negotiations, remember, blah, blah, blah.’ Like, yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t worry, I’m not a kid. But I’m an emotional guy, and when I get emotional sometimes, I say things that are necessarily in the best of my interests, and I’m trying to not go overboard with that.
“But the only thing is, I love my sport and I still feel I’m at my best right now. The clock is running. I’m not getting any younger. I’m in the peak of my career and if there is a shot, there is another goal, another run, I better do it and do it quick, because it is time to do it now.”
St-Pierre knows there’s a lot on the line for him in returning, and he’s risking going out on top, but he also believes there’d be some regret if he never came back.
“I have a lot to lose in this, because I finished on top,” St-Pierre said. “I finished as champion, and that’s the way everybody would like to leave the sport – on top, healthy, and wealthy – and I did it. If I go back and, it needs to be for something big. I think for my first fight, it needs to be for something big, and that’ll give me the swing and the momentum to do it again and again and again for another run.
“So it depends on what it going to happen, but I have a lot to lose, but the thing is also, the reason why I’ve been thinking of coming back, is I don’t want to end up at 80 years old and telling myself, ‘I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that.’ Because all of the things I regret in my life the most, it’s not the things that I have done. It’s the things that I have not done, the things that I regret the most. So I don’t want to end up where I’m too old and say, ‘aw, I should’ve done it. I was in great shape. My timing was impeccable, and I didn’t do it,’ so I would die with regret.”
Penick’s Analysis: St-Pierre mentioned interest in the proposed Michael Bisping fight, and there are a lot of options for him at welterweight in coming back. He wants an interesting fight, he thinks he can compete still at a high level, and he wants to prove that to himself. He never needed to come back, but that’s what he’s doing, and it’s going to be massive if and when they can come to an agreement with the UFC on a date, location, and opponent. That’s the other end that needs to be figured out, but this is the first time that he’s said unequivocally that he’s ready to return, and that’s a big statement by itself.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]
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