Georges St-Pierre was one of the UFC’s top stars during the promotion’s rise to prominence over the last decade-and-a-half, and his path to mainstream success differed greatly than that of the stars who emerged in his absence following his self-imposed break from MMA competition in November 2013.
Fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey replaced and then surpassed the drawing power of “GSP”, dominating their rivals verbally in the lead-up to their fights and then doing the same when it came time to step into the cage. St-Pierre, on the other hand, typically left the trash talking to charismatic opponents like Nick Diaz, Josh Koscheck, and Matt Serra.
What mattered most to St-Pierre was continuing to win, which he’s done 25 times in 27 professional fights. His first Octagon appearance in four years sees him taking on another willing talker in middleweight champion Michael Bisping. The two meet in the main event of UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and St-Pierre has gladly taken a back seat to Bisping when it comes to building up their feud.
“I don’t trash talk. I am like I am,” St-Pierre said at a scrum in Montreal, Quebec, on Wednesday (h/t to MMAjunkie). “Because the new thing is to be like Conor McGregor, because he makes money, it’s good for him because he’s natural and he’s very good at what he does. And everybody think that’s how they’re going to make money.
“For me, I stay natural, I stay authentic to who I am, and I’m not good at trash talking, I’m just not good at it. If I try to do it, I’d make a fool of myself and I’m going to lose. First, English is not my first language, I think French in my head, and it’s like a rap battle, I’m just not good at it. I pick my fights very carefully, I fight where I’m strong.”
St-Pierre has maintained his steady disposition even as UFC 217 approaches and rumors of slow ticket sales swirl around the event, which will also feature bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk defending their titles. The question has been raised about how relevant the 36-year-old St-Pierre is in the modern landscape of MMA.
Asked if the UFC could be doing a better job of reintroducing him to a constantly shifting fanbase, St-Pierre sounded like he couldn’t care less about that aspect of his comeback.
“I do not focus on that. I don’t even care,” St-Pierre said. “I’d rather make zero dollars and win my fight then make $10 million and lose my fight, and this is my word and I swear it’s true. Always been like that, even when I was poor. I want to win, I don’t care about this, they’re going to know me after.”