Georges St-Pierre, a man widely considered to be the greatest welterweight to ever compete in mixed martial arts, is ready to give it one more good run. St-Pierre announced Monday on The MMA Hour that he has decided to end his nearly three-year hiatus and return to the Octagon, provided that his management and the UFC are able to come to terms on a deal.
"Exactly. That's what I'm saying," St-Pierre, 35, said when asked point blank if he was announcing his return. "I'm ready. I'm an emotional guy. My agents, even before I came on the show today, they briefed me. They said, ‘don't say this, don't say that.' They briefed me, they said, ‘we're in negotiations, remember, blah, blah, blah.' Like, yeah, yeah, yeah, don't worry, I'm not a kid. But I'm an emotional guy, and when I get emotional sometimes, I say things that are necessarily in the best of my interests, and I'm trying to not go overboard with that.
"But the only thing is, I love my sport and I still feel I'm at my best right now. The clock is running. I'm not getting any younger. I'm in the peak of my career and if there is a shot, there is another goal, another run, I better do it and do it quick, because it is time to do it now."
St-Pierre reigned over the UFC welterweight division from 2007 until 2013 as one of the most popular fighters in the sport. He defended his UFC title nine consecutive times -- a record for the division -- culminating in a hard-fought split decision over Johny Hendricks in Nov. 2013. Afterward, St-Pierre surprised many within the sport by vacating the belt and exiting the UFC on top, although he always hinted that a return could be in the cards for the right fight.
Rumblings of that return have reemerged every few months ever since, however only recently has St-Pierre appeared ready to make a commitment. He said on Monday that he recently underwent a full training camp to gauge whether or not he still felt fit to compete at the highest levels, and luckily for fans, he was extremely encouraged by the results.
"What I did is I did a training camp to see where I'm at," St-Pierre said. "I've been training, but being in shape and being in fighting shape is something different. I did a training to push myself and go back to the highest level of competition. I didn't fight, but I put myself through a training camp and I sparred and everything, and I did it successfully. Now I know for a fact that I could go back and fight, if my management and the UFC get to an agreement."
St-Pierre noted that his management is currently in negotiations with the UFC to hash out the details of his deal. Much has changed in the UFC since St-Pierre left, most prominently the nuking of the sponsorship landscape with the advent of the Reebok partnership.
St-Pierre didn't want to get too far ahead of himself in case talks with the UFC fell apart, but he also sounded like a man convinced on his decision, and he indicated that a middleweight title fight against Michael Bisping could be an option that would interest him for his first fight back.
"I have a lot to lose in this, because I finished on top," St-Pierre said. "I finished as champion, and that's the way everybody would like to leave the sport -- on top, healthy, and wealthy -- and I did it. If I go back and, it needs to be for something big. I think for my first fight, it needs to be for something big, and that'll give me the swing and the momentum to do it again and again and again for another run.
"So it depends on what it going to happen, but I have a lot to lose, but the thing is also, the reason why I've been thinking of coming back, is I don't want to end up at 80 years old and telling myself, ‘I should've done this, I should've done that.' Because all of the things I regret in my life the most, it's not the things that I have done. It's the things that I have not done, the things that I regret the most. So I don't want to end up where I'm too old and say, ‘aw, I should've done it. I was in great shape. My timing was impeccable, and I didn't do it,' so I would die with regret."