MONTREAL — Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre has officially retired from MMA.
St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC), the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion, today held a press conference in Montreal to announce his decision to walk away from the sport for good.
“It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion,” St-Pierre stated. “It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you’re in the best physical and mental shape of your life, but I’ve always planned to leave the sport when I’m at the top and in good health.
“I want to thank my family, my fans, my coaches, trainers and training partners, my sponsors and my agents for their indefectible support during all these years. I will forever be grateful for the work of Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, as well as Dana White and all UFC employees for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills before the world, from UFC 46 to UFC 217. I also want to thank each of my opponents. All of them are incredible athletes who brought out the best in me. I retire from competition with great pride at having had a positive impact on my sport. I intend to keep training and practicing martial arts for as long as I live, and I look forward to watching the new generation of champions carry our sport into the future.”
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Although he has competed just once since November 2013, St-Pierre has never considered himself a retired athlete. After vacating the 170-pound title following a defense against Johnny Hendricks at UFC 167, he would take a nearly four-year hiatus from the octagon.
“Rush,” who owns numerous UFC records including most strikes landed, most takedowns landed and most championship-fight victories, made his highly anticipated comeback at UFC 217 in November 2017, moving up from his longtime home of welterweight to challenge then-champ Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt. He would be successful, becoming one of just six fighters in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes.
Shortly after making history, St-Pierre would set another record by vacating the title just 33 days after winning it because of health issues. An intestinal issue called ulcerative colitis that plagued him throughout UFC 217 training camp reared its head and had the Canadian concerned about his ability to defend.
The following months for St-Pierre would prove difficult as he attempted to find a solution to his ailment. Although he said he has his health under control, St-Pierre admits physical concerns played a role in his retirement decision.
Other elements which factored into St-Pierre’s retirement included an inability to secure any of the fights left in the sport that sparked his interest, namely with UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC).
St-Pierre has made no secret throughout his career that his goal is to pursue the fights with the most upside for him. In his mind, a matchup with Nurmagomedov checked all the boxes.
Not only would a potential fight with Nurmagomedov afford St-Pierre an opportunity to become the first three-division champ in UFC history, but he could also potentially dethrone a fighter who is regarded among the most unbeatable figures in the sport.
Although Nurmagomedov has expressed a strong desire to fight St-Pierre, and even suggested he postpone retirement after news of St-Pierre’s plans surfaced on Wednesday, the UFC apparently has a lack of interest is booking the bout. Therefore, St-Pierre saw little to stick around for.
Despite not getting the final fight he desired, St-Pierre said he retires from MMA with his head held high.
On top of his long list of in-cage accomplishments that includes wins over the likes of Bisping, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, B.J. Penn, Jake Shields, Johny Hendricks and more, St-Pierre’s contributions outside the octagon are just as meaningful.
St-Pierre was the primary anchor in raising the national profile of MMA in his native Canada, he showed an unwavering stance against performance-enhancing drugs through his career and helped bring additional legitimacy to the sport with his professionalism.
There’s little St-Pierre failed to achieve during his historic UFC tenure. All good things must come to an end, though, and after making 22 octagon appearances since his debut in 2004, one of the greatest fighters of all-time is calling it quits for good.
“Georges has cemented his legacy as one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters ever,” UFC President Dana White stated. “He beat all the top guys during his welterweight title reign and even went up a weight class to win the middleweight championship. He spent years as one of the biggest names in MMA and remains one of the best ambassadors for the sport. He put Canada on the MMA map.”