Former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre has not fought in over three years now. The last time ‘Rush’ stepped into the Octagon to fight, he was competing against Johny Hendricks in hopes of defending his welterweight title for the 9th time. St-Pierre and Hendricks went to war over the course of 5 rounds before St-Pierre was awarded the split decision win over Hendricks.
Immediately after the fight, St-Pierre took an indefinite leave of absence. With speculation arising as to why the 170 pound kingpin was walking away from the sport as such a dominant time in his career, St-Pierre pointed to the UFC’s drug testing policies, expressing a dissatisfaction with the lack of thorough drug testing.
In addition however, St-Pierre also was tired of the pressure of being champion, as he explained on UFC Unfiltered this week:
“I always wanted to come back – it was in the back of my head,” St-Pierre said. “I was not happy with the way the sport was at the time when I stopped. I believe it’s like a triangle: The physical, emotional and mental. If one of these three things doesn’t work well it effects your performance. For me, I had problems with mental and physical. I was tired, I was drained. Carrying a title, it’s a lot of weight on your shoulder. People don’t realize. There’s only a few people that can understand that.
“It’s hard to be champion,” he continued. “It’s even harder to stay champion. Believe me on that. I had a lot of pressure. … The time I took off was very good. Things have improved a lot in the sport, and I feel now I’m in my prime, so I don’t want to waste my prime. I love the sport, so I want to go back and make history.”
Despite over three years away from the Octagon, St-Pierre has remained adamant that he is a better fighter than when he left. With that being said, only time will tell if the former champ is able to be as successful at middleweight.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/8/2017.