Georges “Rush” St-Pierre is one of the greatest fighters of all time; some may even argue that he is the greatest of all time.
The last time we saw him was at UFC 167 on November 16, 2013 when he edged out an extremely controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks to defend his title for the ninth consecutive time. However, after the fight, GSP announced that it may be time for him to hang up his gloves for a little bit, as he was dealing with personal problems he had to tend to.
UFC President Dana White assured us at the post-fight press conference that the problems were not as big as St-Pierre thought and he would not retire. However, on December 13, 2013, the Canadian indeed vacated his title and decided to take a leave of absence from the sport. St-Pierre is arguably the company’s biggest draw and the promotion was hit hard by the champ’s decision.
Although “Rush” hung up his gloves for a bit, he never actually said he was retiring, leaving the door open for a possible comeback. Many fans have been hoping to see him get back in the cage and his coach Firas Zahabi was confident that we had not seen the last of GSP.
However, this was put in jeopardy when St-Pierre tore his ACL while training on his hiatus. The former champion previously tore his ACL on his opposite knee back in 2011 and made a comeback, but at this point we don’t know if St-Pierre would even want to go through all the therapy to get his knee back to fighting shape again.
Today, it seems like “Rush” is doing just that and is eyeing a return to training sometime in October. This doesn’t necessarily mean he will fight again, but it definitely leaves us with some hope. Another source of hope comes from the news that the UFC is in the process of making a deal with a large drug testing agency that would have more fighters tested and use stricter testing.
The problem with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in MMA and the type of testing used is the original reason GSP left the sport. He said he would not comeback unless something changed and now, something may be changing. St-Pierre’s coach talked with ESPN.com and gave his opinion on the situation:
“It’s looking way better than the first time. We just finished training and were talking about how his quadriceps got back to size so much faster this time around. No two ACL injuries are the same. We’re learning that. In October, he’s going to try really light martial arts training. Maybe hit pads. A little movement. Nothing crazy.
Right now, every time I talk to him, we never talk about his comeback. I’m being 100 percent honest with you. I tell him people ask me about it every day. I think we both just know that there is no answer until he gets back in the gym, in his routine and sees if he wants to continue. My personal opinion is he still has plenty of competitive juice in him. I don’t think he’ll be anywhere near fight shape until he’s late-34 — mid-34.
I think he’s got a few fights in him but I don’t want to speak for the guy. He might retire and no one could blame him.”
So it sounds like the door is open for a St-Pierre return, but the burnt-out former champion hasn’t walked through it just yet.
Having GSP back in the octagon would be great for the sport and great for the fans. He is one of the classiest athletes around and a true champion. Will St. Pierre return? Only time will tell.