Former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre appears to be calling it quits for good.
After returning in November 2017 to capture the middleweight title following a three-year layoff, St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) is set to make retirement official after failing to secure a fight with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
St-Pierre, 37, will make his retirement announcement Thursday at an official UFC press conference being held at Bell Centre in Montreal, which has hosted several of his sold-out fights.
The news was first reported by Reseau des sports reporter Benoit Beaudoin, who hosts the MMA podcast “Dans La Cage” (via TSN reporter Aaron Bronsteter). St-Pierre also thanked his longtime coach Firas Zahabi on Twitter.
St-Pierre’s future remained in question until word of the press conference. He relinquished the middleweight title – won with a knockout of champ Michael Bisping – after being diagnosed with colitis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. He never officially retired, however, and expressed interest in a number of opponents, including Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC).
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Despite his health issue, the Canadian MMA star was optimistic he could even cut down to 155 pounds to take on the Dagestani champ, who’s currently serving a nine-month suspension for inciting a brawl in connection with his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
UFC President Dana White expressed interest in a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor this year, while reports surfaced of the current UFC champ in negotiations for a boxing match in his home country.
St-Pierre, a native of Saint-Isidore, Quebec, will leave the sport with one of the most decorated resumes in MMA history. He won his first welterweight title at UFC 65 in 2006 and defended it once before a shocking upset loss to Matt Serra. He recaptured it less than one year later by avenging his loss and went on to defend the belt nine times, a divisional record.
One of Canada’s most popular sports figures, St-Pierre regularly sold out events and helped make the country one of MMA’s great hotbeds of talent.