At 10:30 this morning (on the east coast) mixed martial arts legend, George St-Pierre announced his retirement from the sport. The announcement came at a press conference held by the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion. This becomes the second time that the legendary fighter announced his retirement.
The first instance followed the 9th defense of his welterweight title, where he defeated Johnny Hendricks via split decision. The decision was highly disputed. At the post-fight press conference of the defense (which took place at UFC 167), St-Pierre stated a desire to take time away from the sport.
George St-Pierre Statement
At his press conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada the former champion of two different divisions spoke about the people surrounding him and his love for martial arts.
“It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion. It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you’re in the best physical and mental shape of your life but I’ve always planned to leave the sport when I’m at the top and in good health,” said St-Pierre (26-2, fighting out of Montreal, Canada).
“I want to thank my family, my fans, my coaches, trainers, and training partners, my sponsors and my agents for their indefectible support during all these years. I will forever be grateful for the work of Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, as well as Dana White and all UFC employees for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills before the world, from UFC 46 to UFC 217. I also want to thank each of my opponents. All of them are incredible athletes who brought out the best in me. I retire from competition with great pride at having had a positive impact on my sport. I intend to keep training and practicing martial arts for as long as I live and I look forward to watching the new generation of champions carry our sport into the future.”
White Chimes In
Dana White commented on the retirement on one of the UFCs biggest stars. While not at the press conference, White spoke highly of the former champion.
“Georges has cemented his legacy as one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters ever,” UFC President Dana White said. “He beat all the top guys during his welterweight title reign and even went up a weight class to win the middleweight championship. He spent years as one of the biggest names in MMA and remains one of the best ambassadors for the sport. He put Canada on the MMA map.”
George St-Pierre held the welterweight title on two separate, yet thinly separated stints. He first claimed gold at UFC 65. There he defeated Matt Hughes by second-round TKO. His victory evened out his record against Hughes who defeated St-Pierre at UFC 50 to claim the vacant welterweight title. Before the champion could defend his title, an unlikely underdog dethroned St-Pierre by 1st round stoppage, Matt Serra. St-Pierre quickly bounced back, defeating Serra at UFC 83.
After capturing the welterweight title for a second time, St-Pierre went on a long run of title defenses. The Canadian fighter managed to put together 9 defenses before vacating his title following UFC 167.