Ever since legendary former UFC welterweight titleholder Georges St. Pierre vacated his belt after a highly controversial decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, the MMA world has been waiting with baited breath for “GSP” to return to the Octagon.

That includes UFC President Dana White, who perhaps wants his top pay-per-view (PPV) draw to come back more than anyone. But speaking on an episode “The Jay and Dan Podcast” (via MMAJunkie.com) today (Thurs., March 26, 2015), it sounds like White has begun to change his tune in terms of expectations regarding St. Pierre.

Overall, White doesn’t believe that “Rush” will fight again after so much time away from the all-consuming sport:

“I’m on the fence; I’m leaning toward he’s not coming back these days. He’s rich. He’s rich and doesn’t really have to do anything anymore if he doesn’t want to. He’s filming some movies. He’s doing some fun stuff.”

St. Pierre certainly doesn’t need the significant amount of money he would earn were he to return, and he’s carved out a niche away from fighting in acting roles such as his portrayal of a comic book villain in last year’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

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The former nine-time defending champ still holds a litany of UFC records that may or may not be broken, and it was clear that age and the mounting effects of countless wars had begun to take their toll on his body. He also suffered two torn ACLs in recent years, one before his proposed UFC 137 bout with Nick Diaz (and then Carlos Condit), and then one in training the March after he vacated the belt.

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We’d never seen him get as beat up in the UFC as he did in his bout with Hendricks, as his only losses to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were relatively quick stoppages that didn’t extend for the full five rounds. He said his heart and his mind simply weren’t in the game anymore, and White believes that St. Pierre has been mentally checked out for some time.

The executive still wouldn’t close the book on a return from “Rush,” however:

“Fighting is one of those sports that you’ve got to be hungry and you’ve got to want it,” White said. “He hasn’t been hungry for a long time for a lot of things. He’s got a lot of money, he’s young, he’s got a lot other options and he’s going out on top. (But) I’m not announcing Georges St-Pierre’s retirement here.”

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is indeed a game where if a competitor lacks the hunger necessary, then bad things could happen rather quickly in a world-class forum like the UFC.

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St. Pierre cited overarching problems with the sport’s rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) as a major reason for his retirement, and he publicly voiced his support for the UFC’s new and increased efforts to combat the scourge when they were brought forward.

The UFC could and should be headed for a more level playing field in the coming months.

But will that be enough to bring “GSP” back to the cage?

Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE