Canadian MMA pioneer Kristof Midoux took Georges St-Pierre under his wing when the UFC welterweight champion was only 16, and has served as a mentor since. In a GSP-exhorte-a-se-retirer.php">long interview with La Presse, Midoux says he hopes GSP retires in the ring Saturday night following the fight with Johny Hendricks, and thinks that he might.
“Me, I told him 'after this one, it’s over! Shine on that night. Finish that dude in front of everyone. Shut your detractors up. If you finish that guy, if you knock him out, then you’ll be free, you’ll be happy to take the microphone and to say that you’re done. To say that you are giving your place to others,'" said Midoux.
“I told him 'finish well, Georges, and have the courage to take the microphone and to thank everyone.' Those who won’t understand are those who have nothing to understand. They’re selfish. It’s time for him to think about himself. It’s the greatest gift he can give to himself. He could take advantage of what life has to offer and start a family."
Is there a chance that St-Pierre will take his advice and give his farewell on Saturday in the middle of the Octagon?
Midoux says “yes.”
“Personally, I’d love for it to happen like that," said Midoux. "I’d really like for him not to make the same mistake that so many fighters have made. I wouldn’t want him to go on until he’s 35 years old. He has plans.
“I told him to be selfish. It’s not true that you can have a family and children and remain at the highest level of the sport. He took my advice. If Georges really wants to start a family, he’ll have to do it after his career. At 32 years old, the time is right for him to do that. People want to see him in the cage until he’s 40, but at 40, he’ll be a has-been with no wife and no kids."
On top of starting a family, Midoux explains that St-Pierre would like to open a martial arts school.
“He talked about it the other day," said Midoux. "I told him to focus on Hendricks and that we’d talk about it after the fight."
St-Pierre appears to have many plans - a family, a school. However, according to Midoux, he’d have another reason to announce his retirement on Saturday evening - to leave his place to his friend and training partner Rory MacDonald.
“Rory has the ability to become a champion," said Midoux. "Rory will never want to fight Georges because they’re friends. So I told Georges, 'out of respect, don’t keep that guy from climbing the ranks. You’ve had your career.'
“Shake his hand on Saturday evening and yield your place to him. You don’t need this to life. Pass the torch to the next generation. Help Rory become a champion to show that Canadians dominate this weight class. It would be intelligent. It would be generous and Georges is generous.”
Rick Story, only man to beat Johny Hendricks, helps St-Pierre prepare for UFC 167
“Firas Zahabi really wanted me to come train with Georges, and since I was the only person to beat Johny Hendricks, it makes sense that Firas was pretty persistent,” Story told MMAjunkie.
Even though Hendricks has improved dramatically since his December 2010 loss to Story, “The Horror” was still able to share some fundamental advice with the reigning welterweight champion.
The most noteworthy of that advice? Put Hendricks on the defensive and make one of the sport’s most devastating power punchers fight while moving backward.
“Take the fight to him,” Story said of his advice to St-Pierre. “Johny has everyone backing up, and then if someone tries to get him to go backwards, Johny will take them down.
“I took the fight to Johny, that’s the only difference, so that’s what I emphasized.”
With Story having his own fight scheduled against Brian Ebersole at UFC 167, the ability to train alongside St-Pierre and Tristar teammate Rory MacDonald, who also fights at the event, was a dream situation for the American.
Coming off a debatable split decision loss to Mike Pyle in his most recent outing, a victory Saturday is paramount for Story’s job security with the promotion.
That’s why he couldn’t have been any happier about sharing one of the most important training camps of his career alongside a top pound-for-pound fighter.
“[Preparing together] just makes everything easier,” Story said. “You don’t have to choreograph different intensity between the rounds. You don’t have to choreograph different time frames in the rounds. It really makes the training easy because we can pair up with each other and go at it.”
While getting ready for his own fight is Story’s top priority, he knows the main purpose of his time in Montreal was to benefit St-Pierre.
With 15 minutes of cage time against Hendricks and numerous training sessions with St-Pierre under his belt, the 29-year-old has a pretty strong grasp on what both men bring to the table.
So when asked how he thinks the fight will play out, Story obviously sided with his training partner, but also wasn’t willing to dismiss the possibility of crowning a new welterweight champion at UFC 167.
“Anybody’s got a chance when it comes to the fighting game, especially at the top level,” Story said. “It only takes one punch, and Johny’s been knocking everyone out. He’s doing something right to get to where he needs to be – he’s fighting against Georges for the title.
“As far as Georges’ weapons and his athleticism and all his tools that he has in his box that he can pull out and use at any time, I really can see Georges winning the fight.”