LAS VEGAS – Georges St-Pierre retained his UFC welterweight title by the narrowest of margins, but the Canadian superstar may have fought his last match.
After winning a split decision from Johny Hendricks on Saturday in the main event of the UFC's 20th anniversary card, St-Pierre said in the cage, "I need to hang up the gloves for a little bit.
He was pressed on it repeatedly by UFC television analyst Joe Rogan about whether it was an official retirement. He said things were happening in his personal life and he needed to step aside, "for a little bit."
"Listen everyone, there was a lot of talk about what was going to happen," St-Pierre said. "I have a bunch of stuff in my life, I need to turn in my gloves for a little bit. I'm at a point in my life, and all my fans, I appreciate [you]. Thank you to everyone, to the UFC, Johny Hendricks.
"I have to go away for a little bit, at least. There are some personal things. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The victory was highly controversial, as many believed Hendricks had deserved the win. Judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks had it 48-47 for St-Pierre, while Glenn Trowbridge scored it 48-47 for Hendricks. Yahoo Sports scored it 48-47 for Hendricks, giving the challenger Rounds 1, 2 and 4.
The victory was St-Pierre's 12th in a row and gave him a UFC-record 19 wins. But it didn't come easy and his face was cut, battered and bruised and showed the effects of the grueling match. "Without a doubt, this was my toughest fight," St-Pierre said. "I couldn't see with one of my eyes. He really messed me up. I need a vacation right now."
The power-punching Hendricks, who was unmarked, hurt St-Pierre badly in the second round and had him backing up much of the fight. St-Pierre flew out of the corner at the start of the match and took Hendricks down, but his normally outstanding wrestling wasn't as much of a factor on this night.
Hendricks stuffed most of St-Pierre's takedown attempts and landed several of his own. It's unusual to see St-Pierre fight off his back, but he was cut in the second when he slipped and Hendricks pounced. A big elbow opened a cut below St-Pierre's eyes.
It all led Hendricks to believe he'd won.
"I want that belt," Hendricks said. "What I just earned, it was taken away form me, and I swear to God it won't happen again."