Georges St-Pierre officially retired from the sport of mixed martial arts on Thursday but he was willing to stick around for at least one more fight against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
St-Pierre announced his decision to retire in front of a home audience in Montreal while also confirming that he had spoken to the UFC about potentially facing Nurmagomedov in a fight that would have kept him active.
Unfortunately, the former two-division UFC chamnpion says the promotion wasn’t interested in making the proposed fight a reality and that was the only matchup he was willing to pursue before retirement.
“My agent was talking to UFC, we tried to organize the fight with Khabib. I know Khabib wanted it and I want it but the UFC had other plans,” St-Pierre stated.
St-Pierre acknowledged a message from Nurmagomedov on Wednesday when the undefeated Russian asked him to push back his retirement so they could face off in November when he’s ready to return to action.
As honored as he was at the invitation, St-Pierre says the time was now or never for his career and the UFC made it clear the fight with Nurmagomedov wasn’t going to happen.
“For a fighter where I am in my career right now, the most exciting thing [which] is also the scariest thing to do is to fight an opponent who seems invincible. Khabib is that guy right now,” St-Pierre said. “That’s why I wanted to fight him. It was a fight that could elevate my legacy. I knew he wanted to fight me.
“This message excited me but unfortunately it takes two fighters and also the organization to make the fight happen and the UFC has other plans for Khabib. I wish him the best of luck. I remain a big fan and I look forward to his next fight. I’m sure he’s going to do great.”
“I know Khabib wanted it and I want it but the UFC had other plans” ~ Georges St-Pierre
While St-Pierre absolutely would have stuck around for the opportunity to face Nurmagomedov inside the Octagon, he also understood the UFC’s positioning when it came to the difficulty in putting that fight together.
If St-Pierre dropped down to lightweight, defeated Nurmagomedov and then decided at that moment to retire, he would have created chaos in an already chaotic lightweight division.
St-Pierre knows that the UFC is a business and what’s best for him isn’t always what’s best for them so ultimately the fight with Nurmagomedov never came together.
“The way the business works in the UFC, if they promote someone they want to them there to have a guarantee that the guy’s there. It’s like an investment. I don’t have the same motivation as I used to be, I’m not the same person I used to be back in the day,” St-Pierre stated.
“I used to want to go there and beat everybody. I don’t care who and when, I wanted to destroy everybody to go on top. I don’t have the same anger, the same hunger anymore. Even though physically, I feel I’m on the top of my game, the hunger is not the same. I would go fight one fight at a time but it’s a little bit selfish on my part because the business of mixed martial arts is about what’s next not what was and what is happening now. It’s about always what’s next, what’s next, that’s what makes money. It just didn’t happen. It takes three people to make a fight, it takes the two fighters and the organization and it just did not happen.”
St-Pierre had nothing but good things to say about Nurmagomedov and promised to keep an eye on him in the future as well.
“I wish Khabib the best of luck. I think he’s the best fighter right now and I look forward to see his next fight,” St-Pierre said. “I think he’s a great guy, I love to watch him fight. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”