UFC 217 sees the return of Georges St-Pierre to the octagon in a middleweight title fight against reigning champion Michael Bisping
St-Pierre has been out of action for almost four years.
The Canadian welterweight legend bossed his division, defending the strap against the likes of Matt Hughes, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit and Jake Shields. Having been pushed to the absolute edge in his ninth title defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 163 in 2013, “GSP” called it quits.
While his return to the cage is generally met with enthusiasm, St-Pierre claims that should he lose against Bisping, that will be all she wrote (via The New York Post):
“When I left [the UFC] it was not because of damage, it was more anxiety, nervousness, I couldn’t sleep well. I kept thinking, it was claustrophobic, just too much pressure. When you’re champion, you feel you’re the center of the world. Even though you’re not, it’s an illusion, because of the pressure, and it’s a pressure that is different than other sport because it’s a surviving pressure, your life is threatened in the real, real deepest way. You can die.
“When I was fighting at welterweight, every time I finish a fight it was a guy, and another guy. The division was the most stuck. It was crazy, I had killers one after the other boom, boom, boom, and I couldn’t breathe. It’s a different set of rules now, I was fighting against a whole system back in the day. I was very outspoken about the drug problem that we had, people made fun of me, ‘ahhh, he’s a paranoid guy, he says that as a way to go and retire.’ But look what happened now … a lot of the UFC champions have [sic] fall to the performance enhancing drugs, getting caught.
“If I ever lose, I’m retired, it’s finished for me. I’m one fight away from retirement. I don’t plan on losing but if I do, it’s finished.”