For many, Georges St. Pierre is the UFC’s GOAT. Even though he doesn’t believe in the concept, he’s a two-weight champion with an unbelievable legacy. The former welterweight kingpin came out of a four-year hiatus to add the middleweight crown to his collection.
Meanwhile, unlike fellow GOAT candidates Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, GSP never tested positive for banned substances. There’s something pure about the Canadian that just adds to his mystique. He did get beaten but he avenged all of his losses. During his prime, he was a machine.
But there is still some regret with his retirement. Many MMA fans wanted to see him fight Khabib Nurmgamedov before he walked away. However, that fight never happened. Even though Khabib himself wanted it, the UFC was never excited about the possibility. ‘Rush’ spoke to ESPN about the potential match-up.
In short, GSP believes he is too much of a threat to Khabib. The Russian lightweight champion isn’t worried about him, but the UFC definitely is. They don’t want him to repeat the middleweight episode. To sum up, he won the belt but then vacated after contracting ulcerative colitis. Middleweight was a mess after that for two years.
“I know Khabib wanted to have that fight, I want it, but the thing is, if you look from the UFC’s side, I think it’s normal if I put myself in their shoes,” St-Pierre told ESPN. “They didn’t want to take the risk of me winning the title and then after vacating again. I didn’t even want it for the title, I would rather do it not for a title. For me, it was because I considered Khabib, right now, the best fighter in the world, and he wanted to fight me as well so I thought it was a good fan fight.”
We’re positive that St. Pierre was up for that triple-weight title shot. However, he was also open to a 165lb catchweight bout. But the UFC didn’t want to risk losing Khabib’s record of zero losses. GSP understands this and even takes it as a compliment.
“They had other plans for Khabib and I understand that,” he added. “They had a lot to lose and if they invest into that fight and their investment goes out after, it’s not a good move. In a way, I could take that as a compliment because maybe they saw me as a threat for them. That means maybe they thought I could win the fight. If they let me fight him, it’s because they think I would have lost. So that’s why.”
Finally, St. Pierre made it clear that it’s all over now. It would take something truly special to tempt him back into action but he doesn’t see it happening. He’s made his peace with his retirement and is happy that he left on his terms. Not many fighters can say that.
“I’m the happiest man in the world,” he said. “An athlete has a window. You want to retire from the sport. You don’t want the sport retiring you.”
That last line is iconic.