It’s safe to say Georges St-Pierre is on top of the MMA world, and he’s getting ready for another huge show tomorrow.
Arguably the biggest Pay-Per-View attraction in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, St-Pierre has been supremely dominant, rolling out eight straight successful title defenses after regaining the UFC welterweight title against Matt Serra in 2007. His total number of title defenses is only matched by former middleweight champion Anderson Silva. With a victory tomorrow, he will break multiple records: the most title defenses in UFC history, as well as the most wins in UFC history.
He’s already proven himself the best welterweight in the sport’s history, surpassing the man he defeated for the title back in 2006, Matt Hughes. With Anderson Silva’s recent loss to Chris Weidman, and Jon Jones’ struggle against Alexander Gustaffson, St-Pierre has a fair argument for the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, too.
Take his popularity, add his dominance, and include a historical run of success? You’ve got a formula for standing alone on top of the MMA world.
That’s where Georges St-Pierre stands at age 32… or so it seems.
So, why is there speculation that he will retire following his bout tomorrow, night against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in Las Vegas?
Earlier this week, St-Pierre’s fellow Quebecer Kristof Midoux, the man St-Pierre calls his mentor, took to the media to report that he has requested that St-Pierre retire tomorrow.
Midoux is quoted by La Presse:
“Me, I told him: after this one, it’s over! Shine on that night. Finish that dude in front of everyone. Shut your detractors up. If you finish that guy, if you knock him out, then you’ll be free, you’ll be happy to take the microphone and to say that you’re done. To say that you are giving your place to others.”
“I told him: finish well, Georges, and have the courage to take the microphone and to thank everyone. Those who won’t understand are those who have nothing to understand. They’re selfish. It’s time for him to think about himself. It’s the greatest gift he can give to himself. He could take advantage of what life has to offer and start a family.”
In his book The Way of the Fight (reviewed here), St-Pierre described Midoux, who also has a background in St-Pierre’s base of Kyokushin karate, as “the single most important figure to my becoming a mixed martial artist, and the reason why I understood so many years ago that I could become champion.”
Does Midoux, similarly, understand something the rest of us don’t today?
Midoux groomed St-Pierre as a martial artist when St-Pierre was only 16. He speaks glowingly of his charge’s discipline and ability to motivate himself in The Way of the Fight, where he’s quoted liberally.
Is that oneness of purpose at work here? Would it be impossible for St-Pierre to continue as an active fighter and have a family?
Midoux also describes St-Pierre as “generous,” noting that the rising career of St-Pierre’s good friend Rory MacDonald (who fights Robbie Lawler tomorrow night) is another possible reason to retire.
Rory has the ability to become a champion. Rory will never want to fight Georges because they’re friends. So I told Georges: out of respect, don’t keep that guy from climbing the ranks. You’ve had your career.
We’re getting ready for another big show. Is it time for St-Pierre to retire, from our perspective as fans? Probably not… but we’re not in there taking the punches that St-Pierre will take tomorrow.
If St-Pierre’s heart is no longer in the game, win or lose, we need to be ready to bid him adieu.