Few people anticipated Georges St-Pierre would get to keep his UFC Welterweight championship after his five round, "Fight of the Night"-winning war with Johny Hendricks, yet "Rush" obtained his 12th straight victory and stood there bloody, battered and bruised, still the company's champion after defending the belt nine times since UFC 83 in 2008.
St. Pierre was in the most entertaining fight of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, going toe-to-toe with Hendricks in a fight that left onlookers of the sport in complete shock.
According to the judges' scorecards, St. Pierre's win is mostly because of the scoring of the first round. And even though he was outwrestled and at times clearly out struck, his hand was raised in controversial fashion as he spoke to Joe Rogan about his post-fight plans covered in blood and cuts (watch full video highlights here).
"Rush" proclaimed that he was taking some time off from fighting, hanging up the gloves for an undetermined amount of time citing personal reasons for his pre-determined absence.
In this case, many people felt the challenger was robbed.
Sitting at the press conference, with substantial damage to both of his eyes, St. Pierre feels he won three rounds out of five. And although St. Pierre broke numerous records, including the most title bout wins at 12, most fighting time ever inside the Octagon, and recorded the most wins ever by a fighter in the promotion.
Yet, this "hiatus" indicates that GSP is reluctant to award Hendricks with an immediate rematch since his adversary definitely deserves one and he knows it is a bad decision on his part. However. he confesses that he is "going crazy" and that he has issues stopping him from sleeping at night.
Nonetheless, the match-up that makes the most sense upon his return is a rematch with "Bigg Rigg" because nobody else is more deserving as him after the performance he delivered on Saturday evening.
The brass wants it, the fans want it and quite frankly, it is the right move to make.
The champion definitely gave his best and it is not his fault whatsoever that the judges may have made an error -- he fought his heart out and he cannot control the outcome once the final buzzer sounds. He should not be faulted for that twisted decision.
There is also a fight between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown on the horizon at UFC on FOX 9, and Robbie Lawler looked impressive in his split decision win over highly touted prospect Rory MacDonald -- so those are options also exist. However, Lawler fighting the winner of that bout seems more in-line with what should happen next.
Indeed, would be an injustice if the next Welterweight title bout does not include Hendricks.
This is a truly unique occurrence where a champion like St. Pierre would be more than happy to fight Hendricks again had he not been kept up at night from the issues in his life that are interfering with his fighting job. And while some question St. Pierre's loyalty for his decision to leave abruptly, you cannot force someone against his will to perform if they are hinting at health issues, whether they be mental or physical.
Without knowing much at this time, it seems like these issues are mental and "Rush" is making the right decision by not sacrificing his career, putting his health in danger and going into something without the devotion and dedication that he would have on any other given night.
After all, for his accomplishments we should let the man come and go as he pleases. The only problem is after last night's debacle, we are not only left with a sour taste in our mouths.
What is next for GSP remains a mystery because he seems destined to sit out indefinitely amidst rumors from his trainers and coaches that surfaced in preparation to this fight.
Is this leave of absence justifiable given the outcome of last night's fight? What if GSP is retiring for good? Is there a chance he could have a change of heart and a rematch with Hendricks at American Airlines Center in Dallas for UFC 171 or sometime after that?
If that was St. Pierre's last fight, his legacy speaks for itself. It would be ironic that his last fight be one that he may not have convincingly won. And that's just no way for the most decorated UFC champion ever to go out "on top."
For complete UFC 167: "St. Pierre vs. Hendricks" results and fight coverage check out our story stream here.