Things are murky these days for Georges St-Pierre. The former UFC welterweight champion is currently battling an eye injury that is expected to sideline him until late 2017. That delay resulted in his previously announced title fight against UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping being thrust into uncertainty by the UFC, despite St-Pierre’s insistence that the organization knew about his issues before it staged a kickoff press conference for Bisping vs. St-Pierre in March.
Now, other than recovery from surgery, St-Pierre admitted that he isn’t sure about his next move. He still wants to fight Bisping in November, but with the UFC’s creation of a July 8 interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker for UFC 213, that scenario could be thrown by the wayside by the time St-Pierre is cleared to fight. That would be an unfortunate turn of events for St-Pierre, but “Rush” ensured Monday on The MMA Hour that not landing the Bisping fight likely won’t signal the end of his comeback bid.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know,” St-Pierre said on The MMA Hour. “I need to talk to UFC and see what’s going to happen, you know? I don’t know. I always said if I come back, it needed to be a fight that excites me, a fight that can elevate me, so we’ll see. Things change in MMA fast, but on other hand, I’m 36. I just turned 36, so I need to make a move soon. When my eye gets fine, I need to make a move and I need to make a move soon. But one thing I can tell you for sure, that I’m one fight from retiring for good. This, I can tell you for sure. If I come back and I lose, this is it for me.
“I see a lot of fighters,” St-Pierre continued. “I don’t want to hang there to become a punching bag for the younger people. I do not believe I’m going to lose. I think I’m at my best, my trainers think I’m at my best. I put a lot on the line, and I know that if I come back, it’s because I believe I’m a much better version than what I was and I want to go back to another shot and rewrite history. But if down the road I lose, I pass the torch, it’s over. It’s finished.”
The revelation that St-Pierre plans to retire after his next loss was an unexpected one to hear from the Canadian icon, who has largely avoided using the r-word since his departure from MMA in 2013. It also puts a lot of pressure on St-Pierre to succeed in his first fight back to the UFC, as St-Pierre has spoken extensively about how he wants his comeback to serve as the final chapter of a legacy that he hopes will be the greatest of anyone who has ever competed in the sport.
“It’s a lot of pressure, and that’s why I will be fighting at my best,” St-Pierre said. “I will be fighting like there is no tomorrow. That’s when I’m at my best. When I’m fighting like there is no tomorrow, that’s when I’m at my best.
“Look at my record,” St-Pierre added. “My record speaks for itself. I don’t lose very often, so I could be there for awhile as well. I don’t know.”
St-Pierre said part of the reason he hopes the Bisping fight remains intact is because of the work he has done thus far to prepare for the fight, which has included gaining significant weight to bulk up for the middleweight division — a first for the lifelong welterweight.
“I’m in the best shape of my life right now,” St-Pierre said. “I’m about 195 (pounds), 197. I’m actually bigger. I was 185 before, and now I’m between 195 and 197, so I’m much bigger now. I gained 10 pounds. It’s the first time in my life I got into a diet. I never dieted in my life before. I got into a special diet, I spent money, I invested in training and everything just to gain weight for that particular fight. So for me, mindset, I was already [preparing] to fight Michael Bisping, and people who know me, when I get my mind on something, I’m very hard to distract.
“Everything was focused on Bisping. That’s why I wanted that fight so bad.”
St-Pierre has heard plenty of criticism about his desire to return for a fight against Bisping. Chief among those critics has been UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who imparted a message to St-Pierre on The MMA Hour to “quit playing all of us” and settle on a decision about his comeback. Woodley has also called St-Pierre out numerous times in the past as a potential challenger for the UFC welterweight strap.
St-Pierre responded to Woodley’s barbs on Monday by stating that while he was open to a fight against the reigning 170-pound champion in the future, he was still presently focused on Bisping.
“Listen, I’m not afraid of nobody. There’s things that I can gain from people and things that I can lose,” St-Pierre said. “People that are fighting to be successful in this business, it’s not about who’s got the biggest balls. This is not what it’s about. You need to always think about what this person can make you gain and what you can lose. So you need to analyze what can you gain from that and what can you lose.
“I have much more to gain by fighting Michael Bisping than fighting Tyron Woodley. I don’t say that I don’t want to fight him. I say that, right now, my next move, I have much more to gain fighting Bisping. Tyron Woodley is a champion. Now, I don’t know who he’s going to fight next. He said he has another fight coming up, like a surprise fight. Maybe his stock will go high, and maybe after I fight Bisping, maybe I will be like, ‘you know, now it’s time I go back to welterweight and I fight Tyron Woodley,’ you know? And I go back and I fight Tyron Woodley when he’s champion, if he’s still champion. If he’s still champion and he beats another guy, his stock will go high. That’s how it works. You never know what’s going to happen in this business.”
In the meantime, St-Pierre reiterated his November target date and recalled back to a visit he made to Madison Square Garden in early May for a New York Rangers game. St-Pierre said several Madison Square Garden officials excitedly proposed that night the idea of him headlining a UFC event there in November.
“Right away I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael Bisping and I fighting in MSG,” St-Pierre said. “For me, that would be the best scenario. I don’t know how it sounds to you and how it sounds to the fans, but I think it would be a nice scenario.”