I am and have been for a very long time, an unabashed Georges St. Pierre fan.
I, along with the throng of his devoted fans, have never missed a single one of his fights and together, we form the core of his pay-per-view audience. In short, we his fans, have been diehard supporters of “Rush” throughout the years and we would never have relinquished the watch.
He has thrilled and impressed over his tenure, and fans would be hard tasked to identify a better champion. He faced the best of the best, never dodged or ducked a fight or a fighter, and has set marks in the record book that will be difficult for any successor to match; in or out of his division.
Yet, as all good things come to an end, so too has it come to an end for Rush and his fans. As we all learned yesterday, the welterweight champion has decided to pack it in; at least for the foreseeable future.
Vacating the belt and stepping away from a title that he’s held uninterrupted for nearly six years, the champ has left his fans with a hole in their collective hearts, to be sure. However, there is a silver lining for Rush’s fans in his leaving.
For the first time in many years GSP’s fans can cheer for another fighter at 170. That might not seem like a big deal to some, but to the champ’s fans it is. There are many great fighters in the division that deserve support, but like the title that St. Pierre has had locked up for years, so too has Rush kept his fans away from the prying hands of challengers to his throne. However and as of yesterday afternoon, those fans are now up for grabs. As such, it’ll be a refreshing change for the champ’s fans to be able to place their affections elsewhere; to shop around if you will and find a new home for their hearts.
Fighters that are apt to benefit from an uptick in fan support are likely to be Carlos Condit, Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz. Johny Hendricks might pick up some of Rush’s fans, but probably not a great many. Rush’s crew are apt to remember his negative comments about the champ, and as many feel that he complained too much post his loss to Rush or offered up too many excuses for it, they’re not likely to go running off to him in droves to support him. To the point directly, Rush's fans will probably be pulling for Robbie Lawler to beat "Bigg Rigg" on March 15th, in Dallas.
Beyond the freedom to support a new fighter / fighters in the division, GSP’s fans will no longer have to suffer his detractors and haters. For years and over seven consecutive decision victories, Rush’s fans have defended the honor of their fighter in online forums and any gathering of MMA fans that could be found or brought together. They have been passionate and relentless in their support of him, and have never cried about the decision streak. Yes, it would be fair to say that they've mused as to how to correct it and even stated that they would like to see the champ finishing fights, but nonetheless, they never left his side; never wavered once. Truly, his fans have been loyal. However and on that note, it will be a release for them to be able to put the gauntlet down. As Georges has become tired of all the naysayers, his fans have become equally tired of their battles defending him. On this issue, Rush’s fans won’t mind the silence.
In reflecting upon it, where the champ’s fans may have once dreaded the day of his retirement, it now seems like an easy and natural thing to accept. He exits with his health, reputation, record and title intact, and he has become fabulously wealthy in doing so. He has become an icon of the sport and is a national hero to his Canadian fans. In short, his departure, like his shot, is perfectly timed.
As Rush has always let it be known that he wants to get married and start a family, now does seem to be the right time for him to make another of his life’s dreams come true. His fans most assuredly wish him all the best in whatever future endeavours he may elect to pursue and if he chooses to come back in two or three years, then he’ll be greeted as a beloved son, returned. However and that said, fans should not expect Rush to simply drop of the radar screen. He is apt to be a fixture at UFC shows and events, and none of us should be surprised if he begins participating in tournaments such as the Abu Dhabi Combat Club. The ADCC would be a great place for Rush to not only keep his feet in the MMA waters, but also to test and improve his grappling skills.
All in all, it was a heck of a ride and his fans thank him for it. Sadly though, it’s time for him to rest his career and time for his fans to move on and find a new champion.
Long Live The Champ!