Fight fans have likely seen the last of former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre as the Canadian superstar officially retired from MMA earlier this week.
While GSP left the door open for a potential return down the road, that possibility is incredibly slim considering UFC has already shut the door on a potential clash between “Rush” and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That is the matchup that St-Pierre had been angling for before announcing his retirement from the sport, but UFC wanted no part of pitting the undefeated Khabib against one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“We were trying to make the (Khabib) fight happen. That was the legacy fight,” St-Pierre told ESPN. “(My team) tried to talk about if I can fight Khabib at 155 for the title. They tried no title, catchweight. They tried to every avenue possible but they categorically refused the idea of me fighting Khabib.
“They had other plans for Khabib,” he said. “He’s a young prodigy. He’s undefeated. Basically he’s the perfect fighter, the invincible guy. The guy to beat.”
“A few weeks ago, my agent said, ‘we tried so many times, and they were not interested.’”
Despite Khabib coming out and calling for a fight with GSP, the promotion seems interested in other options for “The Eagle.” Whether that’s a rematch with Conor McGregor, a long-awaited showdown with streaking lightweight contender Tony Ferguson, or a superfight with current featherweight king Max Holloway, Khabib will be pushed in another direction when he returns from suspension later this year.
St-Pierre would obviously love the opportunity to hand the Russian champion his first professional loss, which is significant enough to boost even an already prestigious career like GSP’s, but the veteran understands why UFC wanted nothing to do with it.
“I’m not a specialist in business, but it’s unwilling risk they won’t take,” said St-Pierre. “I’m older, it could’ve been my last fight. I take it one fight at a time, and I’m not interested in taking a fight with a guarantee that if I win, I have to do something else. I’m not at that place in my career, in my life right now.
“He’s younger. He’s an investment. I’m the past, he’s the present. He’s the main guy that can help the UFC rise and reach different part of the world, in terms of popularity. They’re very aware of it. Fighting is a sport that everyone can lose at any given day. Maybe it was a risk they were not willing to take, business-wise.”
Considering St-Pierre came back after a four-year layoff to take Michael Bisping’s UFC middleweight title back in 2017, there’s still a possibility he resurfaces for a superfight with Khabib sometime in the future. The only problem is that GSP turns 38 this May, so the pairing would have to happen fairly soon.