"I have to hang up my gloves for a little bit" is what GSP uttered to Joe Rogan in his post fight interview, following his controversial split decision victory over Johny Hendricks. St-Pierre has since cited Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as the main reason for his sabbatical, but he also maintains that there is an issue in regards to fighter's using performance enhancing drugs which also attributed to his leave.
There are also other factors involved in the decision. For one, St-Pierre has made a boatload of money. Dana White has referred to GSP as the "Pay Per View King," due to the fact that his fights generate more buys than anyone else in the company. Another factor is that at even though he's only 32, St-Pierre simply has nothing left to accomplish in the sport. People love to rebuttal by saying: "Yeah, but he doesn't finish fights." That is true, but it is also essential to consider what he has accomplished. He has the most wins in UFC history (19), and most of those wins have come against number one contenders. He has the most successful title defences in the Welterweight division, as well as the most consecutive title defences. There was also a six fight span from 2007 to 2010 where he did not lose a single round.
Right now it's unknown if St Pierre will ever return. But recently there has been a positive movement in terms of eliminating performance enhancement drugs from the sport. Last week, the athletic commissions completely banned testosterone replacement therapy. St-Pierre was absolutely thrilled saying: "It should have been done a long time ago. There's no other sport that accepts it. It's a joke." If the athletic commissions keep taking proper steps in eliminating PED's, perhaps we will see GSP back in the octagon some day. In the meantime, lets take a look at this top 10 UFC moments!
10 GSP Vs. Matt Hughes 3, UFC 79. ($210,000, Includes $50,000 Submission Bonus)
9 GSP Vs. Frank Trigg, UFC 54 ($28,000)
Frank "Twinkle Toes" Trigg had a real knack for getting under people's skin. He was an extremely talented fighter but would always come up short in big fights. He was at a precarious point in his career because he could beat most top 10 guys, but would probably never receive another title shot because he had been finished twice by champion Matt Hughes. In the lead up to this fight, Trigg referred to St-Pierre as a "B level fighter" and implied that it would be an easy win. As soon as the fight started, St Pierre was seeing red and swarmed a helpless Trigg, ultimately ending the fight via rear naked choke.
8 GSP Vs. BJ Penn 1, UFC 58 ($48,000)
This was an extremely gruesome fight that ended in a split decision, and many to this day still think Penn should have gotten the nod. At this point, nobody denied St-Pierre's talent but people were questioning his mental toughness and wondered how he would react to adversity. Penn had him hurt badly in the first round and there was also an accidental eye poke that had St-Pierre seeing double. He had to persevere and keep telling himself: "don't give up" as you can see in the interview from the hospital. He rallied back to win the last two rounds, and booked a rematch with Matt Hughes for the Championship in the process. Side note: You have to be tough (and teetering on crazy) to agree to do an interview from a hospital bed.
7 GSP Vs. Nick Diaz, UFC 158 ($400,000)
There was a strange and tumultuous string of events that transpired before they actually met in the octagon (everything is a little strange when it comes to the Diaz brothers). St-Pierre and Diaz were originally scheduled to square off for the Welterweight Championship, but Dana White removed Diaz from the fight due to the fact that he kept "no showing" on press conferences. The bout was changed to GSP vs. Carlos Condit until it was revealed that St-Pierre had tweaked his knee, and could not make the fight. Nick Diaz was reinserted into the main event, and fought B.J. Penn (wasn't joking about the strange part). After Diaz's triumph over Penn he proceeded to taunt the champ: "Where you at Georges?! I don't think he's hurt, I think he's scared." St-Pierre further injured his knee in training, and needed surgery which put him out of action for over a year. Finally, after a crazy amount of trash talk, they met at UFC 158 where GSP put on a grappling clinic. As you can see at the press conference, the trash talk was starting to fluster GSP, which was very rare (the conference call was equally entertaining as Diaz brought the A material).
6 GSP Vs. Jake Shields, UFC 129 ($400,000)
This fight was actually quite boring, but the circumstances made this a huge deal. St-Pierre executed some very crisp striking in the first three rounds while Shields was relentless in his attempt to land one of his usually effective single leg takedowns. St-Pierre received a finger to the eye at the end of the third round which put him in retreat mode for the rest of the fight, basically coasting for the last two rounds as he was literally blind in two eye. Although the fight was lackluster, a fighter winning a fight with one eye is an incredible feat. it was also extremely monumental in regards to the history of the sport. This event, which took place at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, gathered the highest attendance in UFC history (55 ,24). Compared to UFC 1 which only had 2,800 people show up, it certainly signified how far the sport has come.
5 GSP Vs. Josh Koscheck 2, UFC 124 ($500,000 Includes $100,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)
Their first fight was quite competitive but there was way more on the line in the rematch. The belt was not up for grabs in their first encounter and there wasn't much in the way of animosity between the two. In this instance, they were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, where Koscheck did all he could to get under the champs skin. Koscheck also spoke a tremendous amount of trash towards French people, and the city of Montreal in general. After his fight the year before in Montreal he said: "Don't worry, Pittsburgh Penguins are going to kick your a**, next week baby, yeah! Then I'm going to beat St-Pierre, so you're going to lose twice, how about that?" He also went on record saying: "I don't like losing to nobody, ok? Especially a French guy" (way to go Josh, a double negative).
GSP responded by fracturing Koscheck's orbital bone with the first jab of the fight, which promptly needed surgery. Koscheck was so banged up, he was not even allowed to fly home because the air pressure would damage his eye even further. St-Pierre demonstrated that the jab can be lethal, and then easily out grappled the former Division 1 wrestler in the final two rounds.
4 GSP Vs. BJ Penn 2, UFC 94 ($400 000)
Many fans still believed B.J. Penn won their first encounter, and GSP was set on proving the doubters wrong, and that's exactly what he did. This fight was an absolute demolition from start to finish. Penn is widely regarded as one of the toughest fighters of all time. He is always game to take on bigger opponents, even once taking on Lyoto Machida at Heavyweight in Pride Fighting. He had also never been submitted in his career, until this night against St-Pierre. On the record it will say that it was a TKO victory, but the reality is, Penn chose not to come out for the 5th round and gave up in his corner. At the end of the 4th round, GSP punched the cage in anger, as if to tell Penn: "it's only going to get worse."
3 GSP Vs. Carlos Condit, UFC 154 ($470,000)
This was the first fight after GSP's ACL surgery. There were so many questions surrounding the champ at this time; how would the knee hold up? Would he be the same fighter? Has father time caught up to him? When St-Pierre first started sparring again at Tristar, there were rumors (which were later confirmed by the champ) that training partners who previously weren't even in his league, were getting the best of him. At one point, St-Pierre was even considering calling Dana White and calling the fight off. But GSP and trainer Firas Zahabi soldiered on and eventually he regained his form, and then some.
When the fight commenced, GSP used a mixed bag of tricks to fool Condit, seamlessly transitioning from strikes to takedowns. He also had to battle adversity in this fight as Condit clocked him with a head kick in the third round, sending him to the mat. St-Pierre later confirmed that he hadn't been hit that hard since his lost to Matt Serra in 2007. He also maintained that he learned from his previous mistakes in that loss. When Serra hit him, he had no equilibrium but decided to throw punches like Rambo anyway and ended up getting caught. This time, he didn't let his ego get in the way, and recomposed as Condit was in his guard.
2 GSP Vs. Matt Hughes 2, UFC 65 ($58,000)
Nearly two years after their first fight where Hughes arm barred St-Pierre, he finally got his rematch. The first time they met, GSP was intimidated by Hughes, as when they were brought to the center of the octagon to touch gloves, he simply looked skywards while Hughes stared daggers through him. We saw a much more bold, confident GSP this time around as he stared right back at Hughes. It was clear from the opening bell that St-Pierre had the advantage in every aspect of the fight. His strikes were crisper, he was more aggressive and was lighter on his feet. Hughes was saved by the bell in the opening round when GSP hit him with a superman punch then followed up with a left hook that hit him right on the button. It was more of the same when round 2 started, with St-Pierre ultimately finishing the fight with a head kick followed by some vicious ground and pound. Hughes admitted post fight, that he didn't see the kick coming and he in fact thought it was a punch that hit him. This fight marked the passing of the torch.
1 GSP Vs. Matt Serra 2, UFC 83 ($225,000)
Matt Hughes was the longest reigning Welterweight Champion of all-time when GSP beat him at UFC 65. It was presumed that St-Pierre would hold the belt for a long, long time. His first defence was against Matt Serra, where Serra pulled off the biggest upset of all time, knocking St Pierre out. He had a difficult time accepting this loss, to the point where it was affecting his training and overall well being. He made some changes in his life, cutting out the fair weather people that were only by his side when he was champion (the cling-ons as Dana White would say). St-Pierre and Serra would finally fight again at UFC 83, in GSP's hometown of Montreal. It was absolutely deafening in there as St Pierre made his walk to the octagon. Equally loud were the boo's for Serra who simply had a smirk on his face. Referee Yves Lavigne called a stop to the fight when Serra was unresponsive to GSP's barrage of knees to the body. He never looked back as he went on to carry the belt for nearly six more years.