Prior to UFC 217, which took place this past weekend (Nov. 4, 2017) from Madison Square Garden in New York City, former longtime welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre hadn’t competed since 2013 when he scored a highly controversial split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks.
After that bout, St. Pierre revealed that he would be taking some time off. Nearly four years later, “Rush” returned to take on Michael Bisping in a middleweight title bout. In the lead-up to the event, the Canadian said that if he lost he’d likely hang up his gloves for good.
Well, he ended up submitting Bisping to not only complete a triumphant return to the Octagon, but to also become the promotion’s 185-pound champion. Although it’s likely that he’ll now continue to fight, his future is a bit unclear. UFC President Dana White has said that a bout between St. Pierre and interim champion Robert Whittaker will be next, but St. Pierre’s boxing coach, Freddie Roach, has said that he’s unsure if “Rush” will defend the title.
Former fighter turned analyst Kenny Florian, on the other hand, ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if UFC 217 marked the last time St. Pierre stepped into the Octagon:
“I think for Georges, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last fight,” Florian said on a recent edition of the Anik & Florian podcast. “Does it get any better than this? What is he going to accomplish here that’s going to elevate his status that much more? Does he need to defeat the 205-pound champion, maybe fight Stipe Miocic? Those aren’t realistic things. Even going up to 186, everybody doubted him. ‘This is going to be too much. Michael Bisping has been more active, he’s a bigger guy.’ I don’t know if it gets better than this.”
Florian said that St. Pierre has nothing left to prove, while also pointing out that the Canadian is financially stable:
“I think there was something that Georges wanted to prove to himself. I really don’t think, as much as Georges wanted to get what he felt he deserved, but I don’t think it was necessarily about the money. This wasn’t a Georges St-Pierre saying ‘Man, my bank account is low. I really need to get some funds here.’ It wasn’t about that. Georges is fine on money. I think more than anything else, he had something he needed to prove to himself. Being away for four years, I felt like he finished his career on top and wanted to come back and show everybody that in these days where USADA is kind of overlooking the sport, I want to come back and show what I can really do. At 170 pounds, he has already done it all. He wanted to do something different at 185 pounds and challenge himself. He did that against a phenomenal champion in Michael Bisping and I think that this is probably his last fight.”
Florian may have a point here, but it also seemed as if St. Pierre was in good spirits not only prior to the fight, but after the fight as well. It appeared as if he was reinvigorated, rejuvenated, and enjoying fighting again.
Do you expect to see “Rush” compete again?