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Georges St-Pierre ‘very happy’ for Kamaru Usman but returning for that fight ‘doesn’t get me motivated’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s been almost exactly two years since Georges St-Pierre announced his retirement from mixed martial arts but the former welterweight champion can rarely escape his name being mentioned by potential opponents who would love to welcome him back for another fight.

This past Saturday night at UFC 258, Kamaru Usman dispatched Gilbert Burns by third-round TKO to cement his place yet again as the best welterweight in the sport while defending his title for the third consecutive time. Usman managed to break one of St-Pierre’s records along the way as he notched his 13th consecutive win at welterweight in the UFC — a mark previously held by the Canadian legend with 12 wins in a row.

In the past, Usman has said his dream fight would be against St-Pierre because there would be no better way to solidify his own legacy than to beat the person most widely considered as the greatest welterweight of all time. St-Pierre’s name was brought up again after his win with Usman saying that’s still a fight he’d absolutely take.

“I want Georges because Georges left on top,” Usman said. “Georges can still do it. I see him training. Georges! I’m watching you! I see you training! Georges can still do it.

“So, if there’s potential for that big fight and Georges wants to come back, then of course, Georges can cut the line.”

Unfortunately for Usman or anybody else hoping to lure St-Pierre out of retirement, the now 39-year-old former champion has all but shut the door on potentially returning for any opponent the UFC could offer him.

“Of course, I will always train but if ask me if I want to come back? Just try to put yourself into my shoes and try to come back,” St-Pierre said when speaking to The Good Show on SN590 in Canada. “Of course, if I tried to come back for a fight with Kamaru Usman, I would have to literally leave the country. You cannot train right now in Canada, with the Covid. I would have to bring my coaches somewhere, find a basecamp. Fly in some training partners because it’s Kamaru Usman. You need to get ready, you need a real training camp.

“Just that, leave my home, leave my family, leave my place, I’m very reluctant to do it and I don’t need to do it. I’m healthy, I’m wealthy, it’s not appealing to lose three months of my life, stress and everything for trying to get a win over Kamaru Usman. It’s not. As time pass by, it’s getting less and less and less appealing. I don’t think there’s anybody now that will make me come back. I’m good.”

Restrictions in Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic have definitely caused havoc for many of the fighters who train out of gyms like Tri-Star in Montreal. PFL athletes Rory MacDonald and Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who both trained alongside St-Pierre, have moved their training camps due to the current situation in Canada.

Of course, St-Pierre threw fuel on the fire for a potential comeback just a couple of years ago when he said a fight against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was interesting to him.

In fact, St-Pierre’s team reached out to the UFC to possibly set up that fight but he said the offer was ‘refused’ so he settled into retirement. Now two years later, St-Pierre has even less reason to return no matter what Usman is doing in the division he once ruled.

“Time has passed,” St-Pierre said. “My life’s not the same as it was two years ago. The universe has changed, so to speak. That’s how it works. For now to go back for Kamaru, I’m very happy for what he does, what he has achieved, but to go back to give three months of my life, put myself in training camp to try and get a win against Kamaru Usman, it doesn’t get me motivated.

“I don’t know if there is anything that will get me motivated to go back to competition.”

While St-Pierre understands the desire to see him compete again, especially considering the long list of accomplishments he racked up during his career, he also knows that time waits for no one in professional sports.

As of now, St-Pierre is one of the rare instances where a fighter has retired on top — he left with the UFC middleweight title wrapped around his waist in his final appearance — and he’s happy with the legacy he left behind.

“It seems to me like people want to see me go on my shield,” St-Pierre said. “You see a lot of guys they wait too long before they retire and they go on their shield. I never want to do this. I want to compete at my best. I’m at the point I’m really asking the question, are my best years behind me? It could be. Now I’ve said myself I don’t want to compete if my best years are behind me.

“You reach a point where your knowledge always grows but your physicality diminishes and I’m 39 years old, going to be 40 soon. If I would done something, I would have accepted something, it would need to be something that it’s really special for me. Really get me to the core of myself to get me the motivation. I don’t have the same motivation right now. It’s not appealing to me.”

Between the restrictions in Canada due to the pandemic and the rigors that a training camp would put him through, St-Pierre says his fighting days are likely over and he’s completely at peace about it.

“To go back in there, I look at this, with the stress and everything right now in my life I’m like hell no,” St-Pierre said. “Right now it’s less, less, less and very less likely.”