Speaking with media in Toronto last week, Tristar head trainer Firas Zahabi sounded less optimistic about the return of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
"I don't know. It's 50/50 and I don't think [St-Pierre] knows either," Zahabi tells Sportsnet. "I think if he ends it this way, it was good. He ended up with Fight of the Night. An incredible seesaw battle. He showed heart, he showed guts, he showed he's a fighter."
In arguably the toughest test of his UFC career, St-Pierre narrowly won a five-round decision many fans and pundits had awarded the challenger, Johny Hendricks. Following the controversial scoring, UFC president Dana White believed St-Pierre won only one of the five championship rounds.
"I was most surprised [White] saw a landslide," says Zahabi in a second interview. "I didn't see a landslide. Nobody saw a landslide. You look at the polls on the internet, 10% more people gave the fight to Georges than to Johny. There's a lot of opinions out there. Dana White, I respect him a lot, is one opinion. It definitely wasn't a blowout, as he said."
"It's one man's opinion. It's an important opinion, but for me, I'm very comfortable to say Georges won that fight."
Reenforcing talk of his fighter being burned out by the grind, Zahabi says he's only interested in a rematch with Hendricks if St-Pierre is.
"He has 22 fights in the UFC, alone. That's a lot of training camps. That's a lot of years of sacrifice. He can't go out. He can't do this [or that]. He can't have a wife and kids. He can't have a steady girlfriend. He can't have anything normal in his life. He's living a very unbalanced life. How long does he want to do that for? He's 32. When is he going to start living his life? At 40? It's a hard decision for him to make and he's got a lot of things going on in his life. He has to decide what he wants to do. Nobody can decide for him."
To Zahabi, it's not a matter of St-Pierre's ability, but whether or not he still has the drive to compete at the highest level.
"I tell him, it's about motivation. Do you have the motivation to do this again? If yes, and you want to put your life on the back burner and do another camp, lets do it. If you don't have the motivation to do it, don't do it. You're just going to go out there and get hurt. You're going to cut corners and be miserable and you're going to go out there and you're going to get hurt."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Bad Reputation. Chuck Mindenhall explains why UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn't do herself or the UFC any favors with her on-camera work Saturday night.
Next for Diaz. Fresh off putting away Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz jokes that he might sit on the sidelines waiting to luck into a title shot.
Pena on Ronda. As soon as Rousey was off set, Julianna Pena wasn't shy about her feelings toward the champ. "It's her arrogance. It's the way she holds herself, like her s--t don't stink."
Moving East. Former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has joined Evolve MMA in Singapore, Asia's premier camp.
A history. Akira Corassani calls Maximo Blanco a repeat offender after TUF 18's disqualification from an illegal knee. "Listen, I don't want to be disrespectful or anything, but he has done this before, this is not the first time, he does this all the time." Blanco went on to apologize for the strike later that night. "I remember landing two or three punches, and took him down. Then, I think I thought about throwing a left kick to the leg for a moment, but stopped, then, just a moment later, when I thought Akira was up, I unleashed a knee instead. I was only thinking about finishing the fight early,"
TUF 18 Finale Post-Fight Press Conference.
Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate together at the TUF 18 Finale.
And the big one.
Post-fight with Nate Diaz.
Frankie Edgar vs. Phillipe Nover at Grapple at the Garden.
Andrei Arlovski vs Andreas Kraniotakes Fight Nights - Battle on Nyamiha.
Eric Kelly vs. Jianbo Lu at URCC24.
Rousey training partner Marina Shafir becomes Tuff-N-Uff women's featherweight champion.
Kevin Belingon vs. Thanh Vu at ONE FC 8.
As always, make sure to check out our 'Pros react' piece for their take on the TUF 18 Finale.
Congrats to @NateDiaz209 for one of the most spectacular performances of his career last night. Dude was on FIRE!— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) December 1, 2013
I'm so happy right now. I appreciate all the support. Big thanks to my team #teamalphamale... http://t.co/5Mdbc4o9lB— Chris Holdsworth (@holdsworth135) December 1, 2013
Thank you to @peggymorganmma for an awesome fight last night. Friends before, friends after. @ufc @TUFonFS1 #TUF18Finale #UFC #TeamRealMean— Jessamyn Duke (@jessamynduke) December 1, 2013
Thank you everybody for your wishes and support!!!— Tom Niinimäki (@Stonefacemma) December 1, 2013
Congrats to everyone from #tuf18 who fought tonight,a rising tide lifts all boats& u all earned a place in this historic moment of our sport— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) December 1, 2013
So worth putting up with all those middle fingers http://t.co/RKnnOwP4wd— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) December 2, 2013
I'll call this a win.
It was hard as hell to make weight on 9days notice but it was well worth it. Thank u @danawhite @ufc @ko_reps . Life changer!— Ryan Benoit (@BabyfaceBenoit) December 1, 2013
Get well soon.
Broke my nose in 5 places which was not as bad as the concussion from the knee. The dizziness got... http://t.co/4DJVzYAtND— Akira Corassani (@AkiraCorassani) December 1, 2013
Very thankful that @ufc @danawhite sends us to the best doctors out there! Feeling way better pic.twitter.com/GP43lUWiVq— Akira Corassani (@AkiraCorassani) December 1, 2013
@AndyUFCFan @TheNotoriousMMA dublin 170— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) December 1, 2013
@TheNotoriousMMA @AndyUFCFan it will happen and you will have nightmares for the rest of your life #nightmarereturns— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) December 1, 2013
There's more but this sums it up.
@norman_parke @TaraLaRosa @ufc you've never fought anyone like me man I will grind you and finish you— isaac vallie-flagg (@IKEVF) December 1, 2013
More on Askren's move.
To clarify I will be starting my camps at @Roufusport then finishing them at @EvolveMMA This should be an awesome new chapter to my life— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) December 1, 2013
Remembering Paul Walker.
I was a big fan of Paul Walker. I would like to send my most heartfelt prayers to his family. Um grande ator... pic.twitter.com/WTiNxbu74A— Anderson Silva (@SpiderAnderson) December 1, 2013
Sean McCorkle (@BigSexyMcCorkle) December 1, 2013
Enemy of my enemy?
Hey @mieshatate great job! Hope you kick @rondarousey ass! If you ever want to train together let me know! #ossss #heyyy— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) December 1, 2013
@mieshatate she only has two moves. Her armbar and her middle finger. @rondarousey showing she's trash #wmma #respect #not #trash— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) December 1, 2013
Muitas felicidades, muita paz e muito amor aos meus amigos minotouromma e Aline que se casaram ontem.... http://t.co/4BNHEyJPmz— Junior Dos Santos (@junior_cigano) December 1, 2013
Worth 1,000 words.
Congrats to Brett Rogers on his 30 second KO victory in Ecuador! #ATTnation Photo by the #guardfather @DinThomas pic.twitter.com/ZHIiJ0xz2l— American Top Team (@AmericanTopTeam) December 1, 2013
Announced this holiday weekend (Nov. 28 - Dec. 1 2013)
Cyrille Diabate vs. Ilir Latifi at UFC Fight Night London
Jesse Ronson vs. Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 36
Jake Ellenberger out, Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night 34
Luiz Dutra meets Kiichi Kunimoto at UFC Fight Night 34
cancelled Hacran Dias vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 34
cancelled Alex Caceres vs Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 33
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via leriksson.
WMMA December Preview - Week 1 - Invicta FC 7 IT'S ON!!! + Holly Holm!
Dec. 6 - Fresquez Productions: Havoc
#19 Holly Holm vs. Angela Hayes
Holly Holm is quickly becoming "must see TV." Holm aka The Preacher's Daughter has victimized all 5 of her opponents via beautiful, technical strikes. She faces perhaps the most submission savvy opponent of her career, but we should see the continued streak of flawless violence. The thought of Holly Holm and Miriam Nakamoto getting it on has me salivating into my briefs.
Dec. 7 - Invicta FC 7 (airs on Invictafc.com and TV PPV check your local listings)
Instead of a long write up for each fight, I'm just gonna say a few words for each fight. But, don' t get me wrong, this card is absolutely worth your money and time ESPECIALLY if you're one of the people that buys most UFC cards... this is the best of the best of Women's MMA, I compare Invicta events to the FOXSPORTS1 debut card, where UFC stacked it from top to bottom. This is the least amount of fights Invicta's had for an event, but I think 13 fights on a card was unrealistic. I'm perfectly fine if this is just an anomaly, though. Plus, it's a great chance to check out some of the TOP strawweights that you'll be seeing in the UFC next yeat.
Check out the rest of the post here.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.