No one really knows what UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre’s next move will be. The longtime titleholder said he needed some time off after UFC 167 and is apparently sticking to his guns. St. Pierre still plans to train during his hiatus.
Dana White said that he owed Johny Hendricks an immediate rematch because “Bigg Rigg” clearly won, but then he changed his tune and said that GSP won. Strange to be sure, but GSP’s critics are numerous right now.
Perhaps one of the people closest to the situation is GSP’s friend and training partner Rory MacDonald, who saw his status as St. Pierre’s heir apparent go up in smoke when he dropped a decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167.
MacDonald thinks that St. Pierre will return but not for a while. He spoke up on “The MMA Hour” to explain that people simply don’t know what St. Pierre is going through, and he makes some good points:
“I don't think he's gone for good. But maybe he needs some time. People have no idea the kind of pressure it is to fight, and I have no idea what kind of pressure it to hold the belt for (six years). Before that he was headlining cards since he was younger than I am right now. That's a lot of pressure. That's a lot of interviews. That's a lot of work, and the guy, he's a machine. For someone to be able to do that, to carry a belt for that long, and to be a headliner for that long, it wears on you. He needs a break."
MacDonald raises some issues that most MMA fans and media might not think about. It is indeed grueling enough to be a professional MMA fighter, let alone a legendary champion whose every move is dissected under intense scrutiny.
Of course there are perks to the job too, but the amount of pressure is mountainous nonetheless. Despite several rumors coming and going about his leaving the sport, St. Pierre is steadfast in his stance that he simply needs some time off.
And perhaps he should have his time off. White was quick to state you simply can’t walk away from MMA as the champion, noting that GSP took a year-and-a-half off to heal from his ACL surgery. That was hardly a break he was looking to take, however.
Hendricks should definitely have his rematch. But defeating “Bigg Rigg” without controversy may be the only thing GSP has left to prove in the Octagon. If the rematch does come to fruition, St. Pierre should make sure his head is truly in the game.
Anything less could cause Hendricks to get the finish he’s been talking about so vehemently. For that reason, it’s best for GSP to make sure he wants to fight one more time. When he does retire he’ll go down as one of the best to ever fight in the UFC. Should St. Pierre be left alone, or did he sign up to have his life broadcast once he wrapped the title belt around his waist?
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