Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who also held gold at 185 pounds, joined the promotion’s hall of fame last summer and is widely considered one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters of all time.
Not bad for a guy who despised competing.
“I never liked to fight, and I’m not lying when I say it,” St-Pierre told UFC.com. “I never enjoyed my time in the Octagon, never a second. I did it because I loved to win, I loved the benefits of it, and I loved the freedom. Back then, I was young, there was the money, the girls, the fame, the access to things nobody had. It was the freedom, that’s why I did it. I never did it because I loved to compete and fight. I hated it to the highest level. It’s so stressful that it was unbearable for me. However, I loved the rewards. The greater the risk, the bigger the reward, and that’s why I did it, and I was very good at it and I took advantage of it. Now, I miss the rewards, I miss the feeling of winning. But I don’t miss the feeling of fighting, not even a second.”
St-Pierre (26-2) walked away from the Octagon on the strength of 13 straight wins. Unfortunately for UFC fans, the French-Canadian fighter surrendered five years of his prime after a falling out with promotion president Dana White.
“In my early fights, before the fight I would go to eat with my friend David Loiseau, and I was crying,” St-Pierre continued. “‘This is my last one, I promise, I’m not made for this. I hate this stressful life.’ And he was saying the same thing. Then after the fight, we’d look at each other when we won and were like, ‘Yeahhhh, when is the next one? We love it.’ How crazy is this? It’s a very weird thing and I can’t really explain it. I love it, but I hate it at the same time. It’s a crazy lifestyle. The outcome could be so negative for your well-being, but the rewards of it are so great. It’s a crazy gamble. It’s like going all-in every time. I love training, I love the lifestyle, I love everything about it, but the night of the fight, it’s very stressful and I don’t miss that.”
St-Pierre, who turns 40 in May, has been linked to a potential Khabib Nurmagomedov super fight over the last several years; however, the promotion was unable to come to terms for either fighter and the bout was called off, prompting “Rush” to retire.
For longtime UFC fans, that was certainly something worth crying about.