Firas Zahabi: GSP May Retire After UFC 167


Longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will face arguably the toughest challenge of his storied career when he steps into the cage to fight No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks in the main event of UFC 167 this November 17 from Las Vegas.

People thinks that ‘Bigg Rigg’ is finally the man who can match GSP’s vaunted wrestling, and that his knockout power may be too much for GSP to handle. But if St. Pierre turns in another classic performance and grinds Hendricks out in dominant fashion, where should he go from there? His head trainer Firas Zahabi appeared on Canadian talk show TVA Sports to suggest that GSP will have nothing left to prove, and may hang the gloves up for good:

“If he still has the motivation for another training camp, it will continue. Otherwise, he will take his retirement. Motivation is the most important thing. When you do not have it, you have nothing. Georges is motivated for this camp. He trains well. We need to train and train all day long, it is not easy, it’s really something. It takes a special mind to do the ultimate fighting.”

St. Pierre has run roughshod over the UFC 170-pound arena for years now his only hiccup being his shocking knockout loss to Matt Serra, which he avenged with a series of body-throttling knees. He sits with eight straight title defenses, a record, and has taken out some of the finest welterweights the UFC has ever seen.

Although St. Pierre has come under intense fire in recent years for his lack of finishes, it is impossible to argue with his dominance. He’s been the ultimate gameplanner, neutralizing any and all of his opponents’ perceived strengths. There’s not much left for him to prove at welterweight, and with good friend and training partner Rory MacDonald steadily rising in the division, GSP may look to avoid that bout by retiring on top.

Talk of a GSP vs. Anderson Silva superfight, once the hottest topic in all of MMA, has almost cooled completely after Silva’s loss to Chris Weidman and St. Pierre’s overall disinterest. If he beats Hendricks, there really isn’t anything left for him to prove or anyone left to beat that poses a significant threat. Demian Maia was thought to be a contender, but he lost to Jake Shields earlier this week, and no one wants to see GSP rematch the latter.

It’s been a phenomenal career for St. Pierre. Win or lose at UFC 167, he’s still the greatest welterweight champion the Octagon has ever seen and one of the best mixed martial artists of all time. I’d like to see GSP lace up the gloves a couple more times after UFC 167, but if his motivation isn’t there, there’s no need to step into the cage one more time. What do you think? Should GSP retire following his epic bout with Hendricks?

  • Just wow. I could go on to say, that he sees his "legacy" possibly coming to an end and wants to step out, or he's simply tired of hearing how he doesnt finish opponents.
    Personally I'd prefer to see GSP elevate his BJJ and start subbing guys with his dominant ground control, therefore extending his legacy, evolving and taking it too the next level.
    But it is his choice and Im sure he could retire from the massive money he's made through endorsements and winning.
    Good luck to you GSP no matter what you decide.

    • well said

    • I watched Firas's interview in French. What he said precisely is that GSP may retire if he lacks the motivation after the Hendrix' fight; right now, he's still has much motivation for the fighting business, trying as it may be. He wasn't as categoric in his statement as the title of this article deceptively implies…Tabloid style!!!

    • Entity,

      Don't believe it… This is a classic tactical move for the GSP camp.

      I believe they are building up Hendricks to be overconfident… a false show of fear encourages the fool to rush in to a sucker punch.

      Think about it, does letting this story out prior to the fight build up Jonny Hendricks confidence that GSP may be on the back foot – yes.

      This is a classic power play… the lion pretends it's a house cat in order to eat the dog. I suggest you read the 48 Laws of Power (this will basically show you where GSP's camp got this play from, for example.

      Hendricks is the bull, GSP the matador… the bulls power could rip the matador in two, however this rarely occurs… the matador knows that the bull has a consistent way of moving, he learns it's movement, and always steps off at the right angle….

      By the time the bull is killed, it's huge heart and will has been over inflated. The bull could win if it walked at the matador, and chose its moment. This is not what GSP wants, he wants the bull to rush in, and that is why what the GSP camp is putting out there is genius… Hendricks is being set up to let loose, as a result he will over commit and be heavily countered.

      • You could very well be right Odesa. I guess time will tell.
        Your bull fighting analogy was pretty fun to read lol.

  • Wow, Two years ago if Paquiao said he would retire, that would be understandable, but GSP retiring now…don't know what to say, everybody says he's boring, but every fighter in the his division wants to fight him. he needs a grudge match, a real grudge match

  • Ivy

    "If he beats Hendricks, there really isn’t anything left for him to prove or anyone left to beat that poses a significant threat. Demian Maia was thought to be a contender, but he lost to Jake Shields earlier this week, and no one wants to see GSP rematch the latter." – Exactly. I think GSP is very wise to consider retirement.

    • I've been reading all these comments about it being dumb and yada yah, it's a ploy, it's this it's that. finally 1 that makes sense. If he really does a GSP type fight and handles Hendricks who's next… I have no one I'd really care to see him if he does that. He's taking minimal damage has made TONS of money, he'll always have some roll in the UFC whether it's commentating during UFC Canada cards or just guess appearances. He's going to be part of Tri Star gym and he just got his movie role (we'll see how he does before we say movie career) I don't think it would be crazy to hear him retire.
      Note to whoever said we just need him to have a real grudge match, how? Nick Diaz was his true "grudge match" for whatever reason GSP started gassing for the 1rst time ever otherwise he was DESTROYING him.

  • Big rig doesn't have much of a chance. He was beaten by condit IMO and condit was easily handled by GSP. It will prob look no different than any other dominant performance. Bi rig is all hype. He knocked some careless guys out but showed a game planner can beat him. I thought it was a sure condit win but the judges don't understand bjj very well.

    • Bas Rutten scored the Condit / Hendricks bout as a win for Condit. So, on that point, Bas scoring agrees with you.

      • I really like Bas. I bet he'd be a fun guy to hang out with.

        • BAS FOR MMA JUDGE!….sorry I got carried away.

  • Well, if he loses I guarantee he won't retire.

    However, if Rush does beat Hendricks I wouldn't be surprised if he hung it up; at least as champion of the division.

    With Maia's loss on Wednesday, the only fights that would make sense for Rush at 170 would be a Condit re-match, a bout with Matt Brown, should Brown beat Condit and possibly a fight with Robbie Lawler, should Lawler beat MacDonald.

    I've been saying this for years, that the reason GSP doesn't sweat Rory MacDonald is because he knows he's going to get out of MacDonald's way. That's probably one or two fights at the most, in terms of timing.

    My guess will be that if Rush beats Hendricks and maybe one fight beyond that, that Rush will either retire from the division, but may stick around to milk his legacy for super-fight payouts.

    I wouldn't be shocked to see White campaigning for a GSP / Pettis super-fight at a catch weight. It would be a huge payday for both the fighters and the promotion.

    Regardless, surely this won't make Dana White happy to see his #1 cash cow leave the barn. My guess will be, that farmer White will try and milk it for all that it's worth, prior to him really hanging it up.

    Finally, Rush has said for year that he wanted to retire early enough to get married and start a family, and that he wanted to retire with his health in tact. As Rush has recently turned 32, the timing of Firas's statement is in keeping with the champ's long term plans.

    If he does leave, then God bless him. He's been an incredible champ and a wonderful ambassador for the sport; perhaps the best.

    I'm sure DW will find a job for him at head office.

    • I used to bash GSP a little, but just don't have it in me anymore. He has gone up against some scary guys, and ones who are mentally tough as nails.

  • So he basically hasn't finished a guy once while defending the belt. Seeing him retire would be good for entertainment but then it feels like whoever has the belt next didn't really earn it.

    • You don't like GSP's fighting style, just don't watch him…A huge fan following disagrees with your assessment anyways…This is MMA. Nothing stipulates that you have to finish fights to remain the champ…

      • Yeah thats a true statement but this a true statement aswell gsp has fought scared since serra and ever since maybe it made him win more fights then he really would of maybe it made him a more smart fighter but one things for sure gsp couldve gained way more respect from fighters if he decided to knock ppl out

        • Fear brings adrenalin, and adrenalin brings results. It effects everyone differently. Too much adrenalin causes guys to gas, yet GSP has a full gas tank every fight. Perplexing isn't it lol

  • It's a shame Ellenberger didnt't perform against Rory cos he would have posed a new challenge. If Matt Brown beats Condit (unlikely) that would be a new challenge and if Condit wins in dominant fashion that would justify a rematch too.

    Surely he would be interested in handing Askren his first Loss?!?!?

    • I think Mat Brown's style would have Mat on his back quickly and not able to get back up. I see Mat as a brawler, yet very entertaining.

  • Maybe a loss (ala Silva/ Weidman) or an almost loss (ala Silva/ Sonnen) to Hendricks is what needs to come to ingnite a new fire and lay the first cobble for an epic grudge match or even trilogy… by the time that plays out the lanscape will have shifted at Welterweight and there will be new hungry fighters to pose a threat enough to motivate him!

  • GSP i think does need a break, he's been pretty consistent over the years.

    But at the same time, i see if he did retire after a year or two. He'd come back and want to do it again. Its one thing when you live it 365- 24/7 its another thing to give it up completely.

    Robbie, brown and all the guys left are solid but they cant beat GSP. Personally, it'll be interesting if the chess master of MMA retires. Condit would be my personal pick for the next champ. He has the skills and he's one of my favorite guys to watch fight.

  • translation. if gsp gets ko'd by hendricks, we dont want the idea of a gsp/Silva fight being brought up since the fact that they would have been both ko'd and they would be at a stalemate and it would still be a legit fight. Also that is if anderson doesnt get the title back.

  • if GSP wins he will be the best WW champ of all time. I bet no one will ever beat that record. He is also the best p4p fighter in the world IMO considering that he reigns supreme in the toughest division with basically no reach or size advantages.
    would have been nice to see him against Maia but he fell of his streak. Not that I see Maia getting that fight to the ground anyway….
    I see no point in rematches so hanging up the gloves with a W would be the right time and the best choice…

  • I would think that GSP still has a few matches left in him, but if he's not motivated, better to walk away.

  • GSP has been champion forever. It all comes down to whether he is healthy and whether he thinks he can continue to dominate opponents. I don't see GSP continuing on like Chuck Liddell.

  • i have to say i find it very irritating to say the least that matt hughes is completely forgotten about when mentioning gsp's past victory’s, hughes was the number 1 long before gsp and matt sera came up the ranks and partly the reason why ufc became so popular in the first place (along with couture, ortiz and liddell) his wrestling was no doubt the best in the world (tapping out royce gracie in ufc 60 cementing that) and his strength and power being unnatural at that weight, he literally tossed guys around the cage, is hendricks stronger than hughes? is his wrestling better than hughes? i would fins it hard to say yes to either of these questions and gsp has come a very long way since then.