UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is going out on top… sort of.
Following a controversial split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, St-Pierre confirmed what many had speculated might happen… he announced that he is walking away from mixed martial arts.
He fell short of calling it his retirement, however.
“There was a lot of talk about what is going to happen,” said St-Pierre, standing in the middle of the Octagon after the fight. “I am going to hang my gloves up for a little bit and make sense of my life.”
But when he was pressed if that meant he was retiring, St-Pierre wasn’t quite ready to fully commit to the idea.
“I have to go away for a little bit at least. Personal things are happening. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the UFC,” he continued.
“I have to step away for a bit, that’s all I can say right now. Later on, I’ll make a point about that. Right now I have to go away for a little bit.”
If it is the end for St-Pierre, he's left behind quite a legacy, regardless of whether you felt he won the fight against Hendricks or not.
St-Pierre held the UFC welterweight championship twice during his career, defending the strap nine times, including Saturday night's victory over Hendricks.
St-Pierre first set foot in the Octagon at UFC 46 on January 31, 2004, winning a unanimous decision over Karo Parisyan. He then stopped Jay Hieron via TKO due to strikes at UFC 48, saying in the post fight press conference, “Soon, I will be champion.”
He would challenge Matt Hughes for the title in just the third fight of his UFC tenure. It would be one of only two losses during his storied career. St-Pierre went go on to say the loss to Hughes was, at the time, “the best thing to ever happen to my career.”
St-Pierre went on to win six consecutive fights after that loss, including defeating Hughes for the belt, before losing in an upset to Matt Serra. Serra won his shot at the belt in a special The Ultimate Fighter season for UFC veterans. He took full advantage, using his one-punch knockout power to take the belt.
St-Pierre never lost again. Including the victory over Hendricks, St-Pierre won his next 12 bouts, including another victory over Matt Hughes, taking the belt back from Matt Serra, and victories over the likes of BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, and others; a who's who of the UFC welterweight division.
If he is done, Georges St-Pierre, a sure lock for the UFC Hall of Fame, walks away from the game on top, although with a bit of a question mark over his head considering the way the Hendricks fight panned out.