Since the moment all-time great former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre decided to vacate his title and take an extended break from fighting following his controversial split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at 2013’s UFC 167, the entire MMA world has been awaiting his return with baited breath.
But those fans have received little more than seemingly never-ending teasing and question marks, as “GSP” made repeated appearances to state little more than he didn’t know if and when he’d ever return, and that trend continued in a big way despite some bits of suggestion he could be coming back during an interview on today’s edition of The MMA Hour. St. Pierre revealed he had no big scoop regarding a return, partly because his training camp had been slowed by a recent shoulder injury:
“There’s a lot of things to consider, Ariel. First, I had a little injury for the last few weeks that was bugging me, my shoulder,like a rotator cuff, I had a little injury that I couldn’t do my, I was supposed to do a training camp to test myself and I see if I wanted to go, to get through it and keep competing after that. I was not able to do it because I got a little injury bothering me. It took a long time because I was training on it, I didn’t rest enough, but now this thing is out of the way.”
With the injury supposedly healed, St. Pierre said he would move on to try his hand in training, and if everything went well, he’d instruct his management to ramp up talks with the UFC. However, the decorated legend said there were roadblocks in place before any deal got done, and cited the aforementioned issues with the Reebok sponsorship deal:
“I’m doing a training to see if I feel good, and if I feel good, I’m gonna give the thumbs up to my manager, and they’ve been talking with UFC, but now they’ve really gonna talk more, I would say, more seriously to see what’s gonna happen. Because there’s other issues too, because when I when on contract, there’s a lot of issues, but one of the main issue when I was on contract back in the day, the Reebok deal was not in place.
“So now, because of the Reebok deal they’re going to change a lot of things in my contract. We need to renegotiate maybe a new contract because I’m not allowed to wear my sponsors anymore and I lose money. But the fan always gonna go down with UFC, and you know it’s an old contract so we’ll see what’s gonna happen.”
Ultimately, St. Pierre knows his time to realistically return to the sport is running out, so he accepts he has to choose if he will return soon. With his body and training routine feeling good, St. Pierre told Helwani the real challenge would be returning to a grueling training camp with the focus needed to beat the best when he has little left to prove or gain:
“Well, I’m 34 years old, I’m going to be 35 soon, I’m in the best shape of my life. Now, just now, I just finished training; I’m training very hard, and I feel great. I’m feeling good, I think I’m doing well, and I haven’t been active for a long time, I mean, in the Octagon. You can be in the gym, but in the Octagon, it’s a different thing.
“I need to make sure that if I do this, I need to do a tryout first, push myself, and see if my body and I want to do this again, to go through that training camp, because it’s hard, you know, when you’re wealthy, healthy, you got everything you want, you have to put yourself back into pain, and it’s a very hard thing to do. I just don’t know; I think I can do it, but I need to be testing it.”
Finally, St. Pierre admitted he didn’t want to get into the middle of training only to find out his once-obsessive love for the fight game was now gone, because he rightfully believes it could lead to him getting embarrassed in the Octagon. Because of that, the all-time great MMA icon said he’d only come back if he was at his best:
“I don’t want to do it and then in the middle of my real training camp be like, ‘Ah, I don’t feel comfortable doing this,’ and then I come back and I mess everything up and I come back and I make a fool of myself. I want to make sure if I come back, I’m at my best.”