He alluded to it after his razor thin, split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November. Now, it’s official — UFC champ Georges St-Pierre is stepping away from the octagon indefinitely.
The 32-year-old UFC vet announced his decision Friday (Dec. 13), during a conference call with UFC president Dana White, citing personal issues and struggles with the pressure of being a UFC superstar.
“I’ve been fighting for a long time,” GSP said. “I’ve had 22 fights in the UFC; 15 of my fights were for a world title. I’ve been fighting for a very long time [at] a high level. It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism. I’ve decided I need to take time off. I know the UFC is a business and they can’t wait for my little person, for sure. They have to keep things rolling. So I vacate my title for the respect of the other competitors.”
Will he come back? He left the door open, but wasn’t definite about a return at all, saying: “One day, when I feel like it, I might come back. But right now I need a break.”
GSP declined to explain the nature of the personal issues he’s dealing with, but White said he agrees with the fighter’s decision to step away after he and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta spoke to him a day prior.
“I agree with [GSP] 100 percent,” said White. “This isn’t baseball or some sport where you go out and … this is fighting, man. You have to be 100 percent — mental, physical, emotional. If you’re not, you should sit out on the sidelines and wait till you get your stuff cleared up. I think it’s the right move.”
GSP steps away as the UFC Welterweight champ with a 25–2 career record. Though some believed he lost the November fight against Hendricks, including his opponent, he hasn’t officially lost a fight since April 2007, when he was TKO’d by Matt Sera and lost his title. He did return a year later to avenge the loss with a TKO of his own.
With St-Pierre relinquishing the UFC belt White announced during the call that Hendricks has been tapped to fight Robbie Lawler for the vacant title March 15 in Dallas.