UFC Champion Georges St-Pierre Hangs Up The Gloves…For Now


It’s Friday and you’re lying face down in your office.  You’re exhausted.  You’ve been up all night, finalizing a project, completing it within minutes of the deadline.  You’re too old for this.  Your kids have all gone away to college.  Your hair is gray from years of tight deadlines.  Nothing sounds better than a nap – and a retirement home in Florida.

When you finally gather enough strength to pull yourself up from the office floor, you inform your boss of your retirement plans.  The boss’s face flushes red.  You see anger is his eyes; “What are you saying?  No.  You can’t just retire.  You owe it to our clients, you owe it to the upcoming projects, and you owe it to this company.  You can’t just walk away after all these years.”

On November 16th, 2013 UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre experienced a very similar situation.  Only St-Pierre wasn’t lying on an office floor.  He was standing in the middle of the Octagon, after a twenty-five minute war with heavy-handed Johny Hendricks.

St-Pierre’s final words slurred between bloody teeth, “I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit.”  After his controversial split decision win over Hendricks, St-Pierre voiced his plans to step away from the octagon.  The statement was just vague enough to give GSP fans hope for a return.  For now, the champ has some personal issues that need to be handled.

Initially, UFC president Dana White was livid at the idea.   After the fight, White expressed his annoyance to the media, “No…you don’t just say I’ll take some time off, maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t.  You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again.”

Georges St-Pierre is, without a doubt, the best welterweight in UFC history.  He’s dominated the 170-pound division since 2008.  His MMA record is 25-2 with 22 of those fights occurring inside the octagon.  St-Pierre avenged both of his career losses, returning to beat Matt Hughes and Matt Serra.

He is the undisputed champion.  At 32-years-old, St-Pierre made the decision to go out on top, à la undefeated heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano.  St-Pierre is tired of the pressure and constant criticism that come with being the champ – a stress he has chosen to step away from.

His trophy case has been filled twice over; most UFC wins (19), 2nd most consecutive title defenses (9), and he ends his reign with a 12 fight win streak.  If St-Pierre’s welterweight belt was a child, his six year run puts it in the first grade.

The welterweight champion isn’t running away.  He isn’t afraid.  St-Pierre has proven time and again that he’s capable of performing under enormous pressure.  He has a life outside of the octagon – a life that needs tending.  True fans respect his decision.  Although many of us would love to see him continue his reign as welterweight champ, we admire his courage and conviction in stepping away.

After 22 amazing fights with the UFC, he owes us nothing.  On December 13th, Georges St-Pierre announced to the world that he is vacating the welterweight title.  Hanging the gloves up – for now.

On the final conference call, Dana White’s disposition seemed to have softened – slightly.  The UFC president graciously commended the champ’s contribution to the sport, yet he never acknowledged his initial disapproval of the decision.

While parts of the MMA community are still dumbfounded by the ambiguous retirement, most fans continue to support St-Pierre’s decision.  If UFC 167 was our last opportunity to witness GSP inside the octagon, it has truly been a pleasure.

Georges St-Pierre is a true champion.  Each time he steps into the octagon, he fights with passion and honor.  His blood, sweat, and tears have nourished the mixed martial arts community for years.  We are grateful – you owe us nothing.