Georges St-Pierre on the loss, and gradual regaining of hunger
At the time, Georges St-Pierre insisted that he was motivated and able. At the time, he simply continued to dominate opponents as he almost always has.
He was at the height of his popularity, breaking pay per view and arena attendance records. Yet, now Georges St-Pierre admits that he began to lose his edge and hunger to compete in MMA, years ago.
"It started with Jake Shields," he tells media members assembled around him during UFC 186 in his home of Montreal.
"I did not have a great training camp and I was not satisfied with my performance."
GSP said that in his next fight, against Carlos Condit and after a long recovery from a torn right ACL, he was "more hungry," and that the title unification bout was "probably my favorite fighter." However, when he fought next, against bitter rival Nick Diaz, the now retired welterweight says that he has once more "lost hunger."
That is particularly surprising since, at the time, St-Pierre insisted that he was so incensed over Diaz’s personal trash talk that he would go to a "dark place," and that he was more motivated to beat the Stockton fighter up than he had ever been to do the same to anyone else. After a long fight career, desire isn’t the type of thing that can be forced, once it is gone, we suppose.
Against Johny Hendricks, the fight that would turn out to be his last, "Rush" says he did it because he had to, "not because I felt like I wanted to." So, he walked away.
Immediately afterwards, he was rhetorically thrown under the bus by his promoter, and ever since all us in the media and fans alike have asked of St-Pierre is when he’ll come back to competition. St-Pierre insists a comeback is not inevitable, however.
"Mixed martial arts is a sport where, when you compete, you need to be hungry," he explains.
"You need to feel like you want to fight. If you don’t want it, you should not compete. When you go in there, you need to have the need. You need to feel like, ‘I want to hurt this guy.’..and I lost that. too long. too many criticisms, too much pressure. The spotlight, all the time. The attention. I couldn’t rest, and I’m an obsessive-compulsive, guy. Everything I did in my life was leaning towards that goal of becoming the best of the best. Now, the fact that I’ve taken a break from it, it allowed me to breathe a little bit more, and find pleasure in it."
All that said, St-Pierre says that his left torn ACL is now completely healed, and that he is back training in the gym. "I’m back training, full-time, now. My knee is 100 percent. Just recently, my knee came back 100 percent. I got the go from the doctor," he reveals.
This time, the fighter is back in the gym on his terms and on a schedule of his own making. Because of that, he’s having more fun.
That fun has resulted in an increased desire to compete again, according to the 33 year-old. "Last time, when I had ACL surgery on my right leg, I was a little bit in a rush," he remembers.
"I was fighting Carlos Condit. But this time, I took all my time. I was not in a rush. I didn’t have any fights scheduled. So, it was more relaxed. So, I was ablt to breathe. So, yeah, I’m back training in the gym on a regular basis. I train for fun, not for performance, which makes it a lot more fun. And, I think it makes me perform better, because I’m more hungry."
St-Pierre says he met with the UFC last Friday, and it sounds as though the focus of the meeting was in discussing the promotion’s new approach to drugs and the recent hire of controversial investigator Jeff Novitzky. St-Pierre seems to have liked what he heard, though he admits he needs to talk to other experts to better assess the UFC’s position on the issue he suddenly became vocal about after walking away from competition.
St-Pierre is characteristically closed-off when it comes to what might and might not affect his decision to ultimately return to fighting or not. However, he does say that whether or not his teammate Rory MacDonald becomes the new welterweight champion at UFC 189 in July, will not have much of an impact on his decision, even though he says that if he returns, he’d want to do it so he could once more be on top.
"Not really," he says, in response to a question of whether MacDonald’s success could have an impact on his decision.
"I would never fight Rory. Rory, for me, is like a brother. He is a training partner. We train together, and I really wish him to win the title…he is the future of the welterweight division."